Caroline Shaw and Quenotte des Lacs—April 20, 2012
From: Judge Rob Gage
That was a somewhat unusual course, in that it had almost no oxers! That’s not your fault, you can only do what you are asked….and you and your horse DID IT GREAT! I loved your even pace throughout that kind of long course. I noticed she didn’t do any flying changes….as she cross cantered all the way from 2-3 and again between 3-4. I’ll address that later. You “chipped” to that log option fence #6, but I wanted to compliment you about that. Sometimes, we all miss and we have a millisecond to decide “the lesser of two evils.” You absolutely made the right choice to “chip” rather than take the long option and she still jumped it in great form.
Were you an equitation rider when you were younger? I was really impressed with your smooth release and your refined body control over the jumps. Listen, I really don’t have any major criticisms, you were both really good.
OK…let’s get into how to teach a horse to do flying changes. A flying change is actually a “skip” like when you were younger, and skipped across the ground. A horse needs to temporarily lift all 4 feet off the ground. Here’s what I like to do. I set 2 poles about a foot apart set at a slight angle to the upcoming fence or wall. The two poles helps the horse to get all 4 feet up in the air and the upcoming wall/fence force the horse to turn immediately after the poles. To be honest, you (the rider) need to initiate the turn a moment BEFORE the poles! I set 2 poles together on each side of the ring, so I can make a figure 8 pattern, and practice the lead changes in each direction. You know they are “getting it” when they start the flying change before going over the poles.
Congratulations! I really like you and your horse. Hope to see more of you on judgemyride.net.
From: Judge Carol Dean-Porter
I am a big Selle Francais fan and this one is no exception. She marches into the ring like a pro and sets about doing her job in a confident and balanced manner. I have the feeling these jumps are pretty easy for her. I like the way she maintains her even pace uphill, downhill turning left and turning right. She is careful about the jumps and stays light in your hand. I like the simple Dee snaffle.
She seems cheerful and fun to ride! Yes, you cross cantered, but that is not a huge error for your discipline. I always remember that “Touch of Class” won the gold medal in the 1984 Olympics, cross cantering the entire course! If you can teach her to change her leads, more power to you and you will find that the distances come up easier and the turns are easier when not cross cantering. Rob gave you some hints as to training the lead change.
Your lower leg is quite good. This is your base of support and permits you to control your body in the air well. You start off at the trot somewhat upright and behind her motion. Relax and have fun!
Your distance to number 3 might have been a bit long, hard to tell with the other jumps in the way. The rest of the course you are very accurate and ride right to the base. You probably even chipped a bit on the log fence number 6, which is just fine. I prefer the deep distance to the long one ANY day! She really uses her hind end well over that fence.
Overall, great job and I think this horse is a wonderful match for you!