Today's Dumb Question: "Moving Up to a Distance"

I was watching a lesson last night and the trainer asked his student a couple of times whether she felt her horse “move up to” the jump. I assume this means that the horse saw his own distance and moved up to it(??) I’ve overheard any number of people make the same comment at shows.

Can anyone tell me exactly what this expression/terminology means??

I would interpret the trainers comment to mean -

Did she feel her horse start to speed up towards the jump? This does not mean the horse is making the right decision. Many horses get a “bead” on the jump and speed up to the too deep distance.

Any change of pace before the rider makes a decision is likely to result in a not so good distance. I think the trainer in this example wanted the rider to keep the horse’s pace the same and NOT let him speed up or lengthen unless is was the rider’s idea.

“By “moving up” to a distance, as I interpret it, is letting your horse open it’s stride to achieve the correct spot.”

Correcting this may just plainly go back to flatwork, but no horse should drag you through a distance ever. If they do, it means that there is more training involved. I’m not talking about the jumpers that want you to hold up their front end, and get the “powerhouse” working properly, and still require some footspeed to navigate the bigger jumps.

I rarely lunge, but if I have one at a show who is a little fresh, and dragging me, I’ll send them out to twirl for 5-10, to get the kinks out. AT home I never lunge, but do a great deal of gymnastics.

One of my favorites is running out of a corner to something I don’t see!!

Well, more likely I will be charging past the distances at Columbia, but I will make every attempt to follow Kachoo’s advice!

That is if we make it to Columbia. The people I was going with may not be able to go after all — how frustrating…

Oh, and thank you DMK - that is what I thought.

Kachoo, you are so right! Sometimes I get so tempted to go with the flier…especially when the flier is really not even an option! I been told exactly what you said…for every “flier” there is the waiting option. The hard part is fighting that urge!

I love your ‘NOT dumb’ questions - I always learn something from them and they generate some of the best training/hunter/riding related discussions on the board!

Sarah * AKA “Regal’s Person”

DMK - I’ll fight you for that patent!!!

I like a horse to move up to a distance. They tend to naturally engage their hind end and create their own impulsion, allowing them to jump better. However, moving up to a distance does not mean ignoring the rider and rushing. It simply means going forward in a balanced way with the rider remaining quiet rather than mincing up to the jump. I think it helps to jump the first jump in a line this way since it guarantees you will get the right number of strides and naturally brings you a bit closer to the base of the exit element, which is quite often an oxer. Since he is closer to the base, he will (hopefully) jump up over the element (as opposed to flat if you have to open his stride to get the right number in the line) and you will land and have a nice balanced corner, setting you up well for the next corner and line.

Imagine, if you will a little walk on your own feet.

Suppose that you are going to step(jump) over a board on the ground. You start walking toward the board. As you get closer to it, you can stay the same, which means your last step over the board will not be like the others–long or short, or you can plan ahead and adjust to close the long step at the end or compress to lengthen the short step.

Now, the “move up” at the end is best achieved if, whether long or short, you compress the springs–that is, build the impulsion. So imagine yourself walking–not ambling (no attention), shuffling (no impulsion), or wildly waddling (lots of energy but no direction of the energy)–boldy up to the board. Suppose then that you close the long distance with your bold walk. Then the board doesn’t affect your walk at all. Alternatively, shorten your steps a bit deliberately and again the board makes no difference.

Maybe you have done this approaching a set of stairs, or approaching a ditch in the field on your way to retrieve Billy. This is what riding to a distance should feel like.

The key to making it look good in the ring is that the horse should be taking direction from you–compress or expand with tension in the springs (hocks).

and it was my downfall as a junior–I’d get locked into a spot, and the horse would drift, or trip, or all of a sudden sick back—you get the point, so I’d invariably miss. Since, then, I’ve learned to shake that spot off if something happens, and re-adjust the ol’ eye (most of the time).

As for the drift thing, one needs to ride with their leg as well as the rein steering method, and use ones legs much like a “chute” to help keep the horse straight through ones hands. Weight shifting is also a factor, but I don’t have time to get into that—gotta go muck!!!

This is a good one to bring up and remember.

Havaklu, I agree. As a kid, it took me forever to learn that, just because my horse ‘moved up’ it did NOT mean he saw the jump!

Although, when I was showing Mandarin in the jumpers, I needed to hold his face and drive him up to the base of large jumps. He needed the confidence that I wasn’t going to jump up his neck and thus make him crash.

You are however talking about that elusive packer that every AA in this country wants…

PS–I have one of those…

My old horse was the king of making a bid. He had a huge step and could easily turn what I saw to be 3 more steps to the jump into 2.5 steps and a slam on the breaks. He was taking a workable distance and turning it into something that wasn’t going to work. And I would get sucked into the bid, think that now I REALLY had to move up to make it work, and lean and shove with my upper body. It’s a bad habit I am still fighting.

On the other hand, when I hear of a horse moving up to the fence, that implies (to me) that the horse moves up (increases his step) to make a workable distance. As Janet mentioned, if you are going to end up at the jump on the half stride, you can move up (or the horse can decide that for you) and leave that half step out, or you can shorten the step and add an extra step. In a jumper course, what you decide to do depends on what you have after that jump. If you have a line that rides short, you better add…if you have a line that rides long, it is probably better to move up and leave that last half step out.

Don’t you just hate that drift into your weak side when you’ve found that “perfect” distance!?!?!?

Queen of the half stride distance, drives my trainer crazy, if I don’t keep the canter out of the corner, and I let my horse “stall” for a second, I’ll usually hold what I think is the same pace I went into the corner with (NOT) and creat the perfect half stride. What my trainer likes about my current horse, is he maintains his canter out of the corner, and I’m now seeing the other option, of going forward to the jump, what a diffence it makes. I will say if you have a horse with a huge stride, going forward to the jumps is hard to do, because you always seem to get down the line to early, and I always think, I have to slow down on the corners to get out of the lines

I guess that’s a good thing, huh? It has taken me a few months to figure it out. When I try to “hold” him - which to me means that I’m taking back ever so slightly, but still taking back - I chip in or go long or something incredibly ugly like that. But - when I take a tighter hold of my reins (which for me helps me to not hold his face - am I making any sense here?), put my hands forward and just keep our pace, I feel him “take me” to the jump. I guess that means he moves up, huh?

All I know is that whenever I leave him alone, we get there perfectly and it feels awesome!

DMK, can I just pay a flat fee for eternal use of that patent?

Oh Duffy, I resemble that remark!!!

I was watching a lesson last night and the trainer asked his student a couple of times whether she felt her horse “move up to” the jump. I assume this means that the horse saw his own distance and moved up to it(??) I’ve overheard any number of people make the same comment at shows.

Can anyone tell me exactly what this expression/terminology means??