We all strive for the perfect distance.


We practise perfect equitation/body alignment.


We use grids...we use trotting poles...we practise our two point position for hours.


I hear coaches tell student to move on the horse/slow down the horse,...curve your broken line....hold for three allow for three....all in the name of the perfect spot.


I will hear a coach comment..."you had a long spot....you need to add move leg to move him up/whatever instruction to get the distance".


But you know....I rarely see the perfect distance at every fence every time I jump....and I somehow doubt others are 100% ...maybe 99%....but not 100% all the time either


Be it a windy day at a horse show with tents blowing away beside the ring.....horse eating trolls hiding in the jumps.....your horse is fresh/lazy...or the stupid pill one took a week ago has just kicked in and the rider is not seeing the "spots" consistantly......




And to me...my philosophy when it comes to teaching distances.


Do not just teach how to ride the perfect distance.....but teach how to ride the distance given perfectly....cause *&^% happens....and riders who are educated....fair better in these moments.


A rider needs to understand how to use/control

all the muscles in their body to hold their jump position/alignment while assisting the horse as needed...or leaving the horse to do thier job without the rider balancing/interfering with the effort needed to clear the fence.



A long spot will expose different issues than a deep spot or half stride would...and knowing the difference could be the difference between a clear round or out of the ribbons with a rail/quit.


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Comment by Geoffrey Pannell on February 8, 2010 at 4:00pm
Hi Kairen, I do agree with what your saying here and to add further to it , we are teaching the horse the craft by doing the grids, not so much attention should be taken with the distances . As mostly that will result in over riding, The distance will vary from show to show the important thing is to give the horse the confidence to see it's own take off spot. Hence the work with grids. More often than not when we try to take out a stride it can very easily end up as rushing not lengthening , and this is what will unsettle a horse. You do the training at home so all you have to do at the show is count the numbers on the jumps (horses do find it hard to count) . Cheers Geoffrey

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