Kerilli et al need serious advice XC please..........

Pidgeon

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Ok am after some serious advice now from the likes of Kerilli, Sarah Jane, Nicky M etc whose advice I take on board.
As some of you may have been aware I've had problems with the XC pace esp at Eland this year not that we've done much but still! So swapped his drop noseband for a mexican grackle which I had tried years ago but was too harsh and killed his enthusiasm for jumping. So have been using the grackle for a couple of months now but due to the damn weather haven't done as much XC as I'd have liked. Done a couple of events at Eland and some XC schooling at Eland and Woodside.
Touch wood all seemed well and I could control him in it but most importantly it didn't kill his enthusiasm and he still took me to a fence.
Well today has proved the grackle is obv too much as we did the Novice HT at Eland again. He knows his way round very well as I'm too chicken to do the Int as its a mix of the intro and PN fences :rolleyes:
So nice and keen and into the start box we went, nicely over 1, jumped 2 at the far right to avoid the cut up take off and off to fence 3, he was taking me nicely but was trying to set the pace a little too quick so I checked him going in and told him not to take off from silly stride away so like he does when I ask he put a short one in, however I wasn't sure if he was going to take off as he thought I'd asked him too much so we kind of got over the fence but due to the drop I came off on landing. I knew as we scrambled over I wasn't going to be with him when we landed ho hum thank god for body protectors.
Dusted myself and got back on not before putting the bogey on the fence as the next rider came off before the fence, and the person after her came off at fence 4!
So it would appear that the grackle is as I thought just a tad too harsh for him as when I nicely ask him to woah he woah's too much :eek:
So do I go back to drop and put him in boot camp or can you recommend anything else?
Please be nice as had a **** week at work, shoulder still sore as hell and popping ibuprofen like smarters from the other week, Pidge caught his leg on the brush so has a nice gouge out of his leg - would have been worse with no boots on, and some **** came over the white line on the way home and smashed the lorries side mirror to bits.
Apologies to dilmil123 who I chatted to on the way back, I forgot to say hi properly, sorry x
 
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Sarah_Jane

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It may just be that as you have not done so much the grackle is a bit much at the moment but don't discard totally, maybe drop back to a flash and see how you feel.

I started Pip off this year in the bit she finished last season yet it was far too much for her early on but now she is back in it and on the edge of needing more.

So I guess what I am saying is keep hold of it use something milder and have do some schooling, if he starts to get strong again don't be afraid to pop it back on again. Wouldn't it be simple if they were the same all the time!
 

Pidgeon

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Thanks S-J it was just last we went round Eland in the drop the pace was just a tad too quick for that level all the way round. I'm not sure what he's doing, whether he's being rude, cocky or just enjoying himself too much but I swapped as didn't feel that pace was to be encouraged, certainly not at that level and with me on board :eek:
He wasn't worried at me coming off as when worried his bottom lip goes nineteen to the dozen but none today. Popped two fences in the warm up after and he was grand, hadn't noticed his leg then naughty mum.
I'll swap him back to the drop and see how he goes trouble is we've done that little this year he's rather keen and is a big strong lad when he wants to go. Thanks I'm glad its not just me that has to swap but its such a fine line finding what suits him. LOL if he were the same all the time it would make life a lot easier :D
 

Santa_Claus

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personally I think you need to continue with the grackle but you need to learn how much you need to ask. If you are used to asking a lot in the drop instinct will make you ask the same amount. You need to adjust your riding to the change in tack. In the same way you would ride differently if using a gag compared to a snaffle.
 

kerilli

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Sorry to hear you came off and have had a pants week/day/etc. :( :( :(
Umm, I would go back to the drop noseband, but, blunty, I honestly suspect it is more for you than for him! I don't think most horses react that strongly just to a mexican grackle compared to a drop.
It sounds to me as if you need to have the discussion about pace WELL before the fence, not on the last few strides when you realise he's a bit too fast and flat. At that point he needs to be concentrating and judging the fence, not arguing with you. If you checked him and he then popped a short one in, and you weren't sure if he was going to take off at all, I can see why you came off.
I'd be working on sorting out the rhythm/pace well ahead of the fence and then letting him come to it in the new slightly steadier rhythm.
 

Pidgeon

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Hadn't thought of that way. I don't think I asked too harshly but obv did as the end result showed. Thinking about it now I also hiked it up a hole when tacking up as knew he'd be rather keen today. God I'm a muppet :(
 

Starbucks

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Sorry to hear you've had a fall, especially after a bad week! :(

Going against the grain but IME more accidents seem to happen when over bitting than under bitting (or nose banding as the case may be!).

I think it's probably different for really good riders, but I honestly think for us pleasure rider folks you are better going slightly under and working a bit harder.

If that had been a bigger fence you could have had a rotational there, where as left to do his own thing (within reason), I really think Pidge would have the sense to get over it safely.

Feel free to ignore me because people obviously much more experienced around!
 

Starbucks

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Sorry to hear you came off and have had a pants week/day/etc. :( :( :(
Umm, I would go back to the drop noseband, but, blunty, I honestly suspect it is more for you than for him! I don't think most horses react that strongly just to a mexican grackle compared to a drop.
It sounds to me as if you need to have the discussion about pace WELL before the fence, not on the last few strides when you realise he's a bit too fast and flat. At that point he needs to be concentrating and judging the fence, not arguing with you. If you checked him and he then popped a short one in, and you weren't sure if he was going to take off at all, I can see why you came off.
I'd be working on sorting out the rhythm/pace well ahead of the fence and then letting him come to it in the new slightly steadier rhythm.
Totally agree. Someone once told me you should never mess in the last three strides - push on for a long one or sit but don't check.
 

Pidgeon

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Kerilli it just about sums up my week!
Sorry perhaps I didn't make it clear I checked him and he slowed slightly but wanted to do his normal take off early and fly over it, and with my dodgy shoulder I really didn't fancy it today. I know I shouldn't mess the last couple of strides but instinct took over, perhaps I'm just not cut out for this lark anymore :(
The noseband has made a big difference to him and he is much more polite in it and less argumentative if I tell him to slow or put another stride in.
Oh bum I really don't know what to do :(
 

Pidgeon

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Starbucks I know I trust him implicitly and he has that Irish 5th leg to get out of trouble with, but he's just been a bit gung ho this year and that's why I swapped nosebands as TBH I don't want to swap bits as he goes so nicely in it, thanks Kerilli, and mouths lovely even when doing XC.
 

Starbucks

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Kerilli it just about sums up my week!
Sorry perhaps I didn't make it clear I checked him and he slowed slightly but wanted to do his normal take off early and fly over it, and with my dodgy shoulder I really didn't fancy it today. I know I shouldn't mess the last couple of strides but instinct took over, perhaps I'm just not cut out for this lark anymore :(
The noseband has made a big difference to him and he is much more polite in it and less argumentative if I tell him to slow or put another stride in.
Oh bum I really don't know what to do :(
P don't stress out about it! Everyone has good days and bad days and you are both ok - no harm done!

I think you just need to have a bit more trust in him. You need to be able to get him back before a fence but then once you've presented, commit and let him do his thing. Going round Eland novice is a piece of p*** for Pidgeon.

What ever tackle you have going on just make sure you have him looking what he's doing and not galloping along on his front end when he's coming into a fence. He will do the rest. :)
 
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Honey08

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Theres a two day clinic at Somerford next weekend with a BE instructor for XC... Its at the weekend too.. I think there may still be places.. Could be useful?
 

Santa_Claus

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Are you saying you like him to take a flyer? That is actually quite a dangerous prospect unless sitting on something the likes of opposition buzz as generally a horse going off a longer stride will be jumping forward and flat and therefore be far more likely to clip a fence. Any day of the week I would want a deeper stride where the horse has to power up and over but XC that needs to be balanced with control as obviously a deep spot too fast is also a very dangerous proposition, but at the height you are currently at and the speeds you will be going normally the deeper spot will be far far safer especially over drop fences as a long flat jump will more likely cause a trip on landing. Obviously I've not seen you and Pidge so I'm not sure what your definition of a long stride is and in turn the speed you travel.

To me you sound like you need some confidence boosting and my suggestion would be some clinics with a good XC instructor where you can concentrate on stringing fences together.
 

TarrSteps

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I would also suggest a clinic. This is the sort of thing no one can really advise on without seeing as there can be so many interpretations of terms like 'strong' and 'flyer' and there could be many reasons for your actions and his reactions.

Also, you can consult with whomever you go to about fitness, exercises to establish your sense of pace, rhythm etc. Given the risks involved in even quite low level xc it seems a worthy investment in increasing your enjoyment.
 

oldvic

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I would leave him in the grackle but do it up on the looser hole - that can make more of a difference than a change of noseband. The fact that you did it up a hole suggests a lack of confidence so maybe a clinic or a xc lesson would be a good idea to get you going.
 

Pidgeon

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I do trust him I just would like him to peg the pace a little and not be so keen to go on a flyer which he is happiest doing. To give you an idea of what I class as a flyer is this one from BE90 at Eland last year.

When going at a nice pace for him and maintaining the rhythmn all the way round we go round in about 4.30 when the optimum time was 5.05 as he has a very long stride and covers the ground well.
He's happiest going from a longer stride rather than deep to a fence XC. I suppose I'm just more down due to a really crappy week and then today esp some idiot taking the lorry mirror off.
I did it up a hole as knew he was likely to be keen as he loves going round Eland, just wanted some brakes.
Will see what clinics are on but he reacts differently in a clinic to a comp as is much more switched on and keen in a comp.
Perhaps knitting would be easier? LOL
 
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No need to apologise! Just wanted to make sure you were ok after your tumble and I had to report back for duty anyway . Hope you aren't too sore in the morning x
 

Pidgeon

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Thanks, was obv having a rather blonde day and just feel like I let my boy down as he was only doing what I had asked, I just asked to much obv :( Should be fine as had my BP on with shoulder guards. Apologies if my ramblings at the time didn't make sense I was so annoyed with myself as I let him down badly again.
 

Baggybreeches

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I agree with those who say you seem to prefer to let him go long. This isn't really the end of the world at smaller fences, but you must be 110% committed to going if you are taking the forward stride, you can't suddenly move the goal posts it's not fair on him.
I had a little mare who would struggle if we took too much speed out of her xc pace so I compensated by getting her to run into the bottom of the fences.
I think a clinic would be a good idea and play about with a speed that you are both comfortable with, it may be that you lack a bit of 'match practise' this year so everything seems that bit quicker?
 

kerilli

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Ummm, that isn't a flyer! That is a pretty much perfect take-off spot, if you were going at a xc-ish pace (any more than a SJ canter, really.) There isn't room to push in deeper.
I don't get this. Not just you, generally. The understanding of where is a 'good' spot, or 'a bit deep' or 'off it'. People say "he took a stride out" when actually this is REALLY rare, horses with the scope and courage to truly take off a full stride + away from the fence (so, taking off AT LEAST 6 yards from the fence, allowing 1 or 2 for takeoff - depending on height of fence - and 4+ yards for a stride) don't come along very often! Murphy Himself did it, Opp Buzz does it IF Nicola lets him (rarely!), a horse like Armada would do it IF AN (or now OT) let him, but it's not advisable as it flattens the parabola of the jump etc etc.
I think a clinic is a very good idea. You need him between hand and leg, you can still have the feel that he's 'taking you to the fence' if that is what you like but you need more say on the balance and roundness of the stride imho, to be safer and therefore more confident!
 
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Santa_Claus

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If honest that isn't a flier as his take off point is a good normal stride. I would though agree he looks forward into the fence.

Again to be honest I think you like the strides where he is forward and flowing as you find it easier to balance as a rider. If you lose the rhythm meaning he chips a shorter one and he jumps more up than forward and possibly skews his front to keep his front clear which unbalances you (as it would an awful lot of riders) and that would be why you feel more insecure when he takes these strides.

You definitely shouldn't give up though and I know what you mean about clinics which is why its important to go to one where you can string fences together rather than doing one stopping doing another stopping etc. Private lesson may suit you much more as then you are continuously the focus rather than having lots of breaks.

You need confidence in your riding and to work (at a guess) on your balance in the saddle which will further increase your confidence. I will be the first to admit yesterday I had what felt to be a shocking XC round, I was checking far too much so at several fences meant my clever pony had to chip in a short one. When she did the best thing for me to do was sit quietly and let her sort herself out so end result we were still clear and safe. The more I stayed quiet the better the round was but it took me until fence 11 to realise I was riding like a plank and to instead let my horse do the hard work ;)
 

glamourpuss

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You've had some brilliant advice here, to add my 2p worth... If you really do think it's the grackle then have you thought about an elastic grackle. My lad hates feeling strapped in to a noseband but isn't polite enough for a cavesson. This has been the perfect compromise for us & he's as happy as larry in it.
I've got a cheap Shires one which does the job but a quick google & they seem to have discontinued it :(
There is this one by Equipe http://www.equishopping.co.uk/item-cheval-shop4271.htm
 

glamourpuss

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Also.....do you think he just knows the course at Eland too well now? Hence why he feels so 'gung ho'. I think Eland is a fabulous centre, don't get me wrong but that is the same novice course that I jumped 3 years ago & if you've schooled over the fences as well.....no wonder he can feel too cocky!
 

diggerbez

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just wanted to say that i did something similar last year-upgraded to a universal bit as had no brakes event before- over checkedand fiddled going into something which took pony by suprise- scrambled over and parted company on landing! so it happens to us all! second the clinic idea- will allow you chance to really test out your new tack combo- suspect its just a bit of rustiness from you fiddling on the approach- i do the same thing after a long break- sure you'll soon be back to the swing of things!
 

alwaysbroke

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Hope you are feeling OK today P, sorry I didn't get to speak to you later, but we walked to the course then it was time to get ready.

No advice from me it already seems well covered:)
 

kerilli

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Glamourpuss makes a very good point, if he's been round that course more than a few times (esp if you school there too) then that will make him blasé, and probably you too! I know it's convenient if Eland is close by, but it's definitely worth going to other places and pushing both your boundaries. I really do think you need someone v experienced to watch your vids, and discuss what suits him best and what you cope best with.
Tbh I think you could both do with bigger fences, it would make you both raise your game - but not until he is truly between hand and leg and you can cope with him jumping from that slightly better spot so that he bascules properly. He will be more rideable, I bet... brave horses can be nutters to tiny fences because they don't respect them at all. A horse who is respecting his fences is a LOT more civilised to ride!
 
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It's difficult to comment withouth seeing you in action but I would say, (and this is not new) to think of it a little like driving a car. When you approach a tight bend on a road you brake and change down a gear well before the corner so the car is balanced, not on its nose and then you can travel smoothly through the corner and accelerate away afterwards. When driving on a track you shouldn't put your foot down until you can keep it down. Back on the horse, it's far too late to be doing anything 3 or 4 strides out. If the rhythm is right for the fence in question and you're both balanced you need to allow it to come to you. Looking at the photo I would say the take off is absolutely spot on and he looks a lovely sort :)

Can you or have you hunted him? If you've got good hunting country where you are it is the best place to help with feel for pace and jumping whatever appears out of your stride! Good luck with it all, definitely a good idea to find a clinic to go to and have a play with nosebands etc. :)
 

Pidgeon

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Lots of good advice thanks everyone, much appreciated.
Am going to book a lesson a week today as next weekend is fully booked as in the running for Championship at local RC in the WH classes so off there on Sunday. Will see if instructor can come to Somerford and have a lesson there.
I think part of the problem is that he knows the course well, I have similar problems at Woodside and Somerfod Farm Ride too :rolleyes: Trouble is there isn't many good well made courses round here and we could go to the likes of Moreton Morrell for example but although only just over an hour in the lorry it was £52 in diesel!
The other eternal problem is that he doesn't really respect anything 3' and under anymore and is quite happy to cruise round both SJ and XC at these heights. Me on the other hand have done some bigger SJ and XC but not a lot and am not sure I'm brave enough to tackle them, but its only when the height goes up that he bascules properly and then its like wow what a feeling.
Wish life was more straightforward and I could get braver..............
 

kickandshout

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ive got no advice for you re nose bands courses etc ! you know pidge better than anyone.
Now i know whats happened all i can say is glad your both OK. I think you need right it off as a bad ending to a bad week and kick on !!!!( or not as the case maybe for you lol).

as for jumping bigger (someones suggestion not mine) Ive got to agree but i know exactly where your coming from from a bravery point of view !!!! just trust him and give it a go.

Ive now got to grow a pair and move up its one things but now with xc too.
look at it this way he's upped his game and you've got to catch him up! (that's how it feels for me anyway)
there was lots of problems at the hedge while i was there so i'm considering as its a black flag option to play safe next time -- i know i can hear you say it GROW SOME !!!lol
as for the wing mirror Ggrrrrr!!! *insert swear words of your choice*
 
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