Jump Academy #4

Jump Academy is a series of blogs where I contstantly forget remember to take a photo of a cross country question at an event that I am attending. Then come home and write about the quesiton that the course designer posed to the riders and horses and explain some of the ins and outs of why it is difficult.

Vicarage Vee at Badminton

This blog is about a question that was on the CCI* course at Twin Rivers HT in Paso Robles California this April and the course designer is James Atkinson. Having just watched Badminton last week, you can see that it is a variation of the dreaded Vickarage Vee concept. Thank goodness, a much simpler and smaller version.

The breakdown:

This is jump 17A &B on the CCI* course, and it is on a long sweep that is approaching the finish line. You still have a lot to do at this stage of the course, but your horses should be in total XC mode. They should be scouting the red and white flags and helping you to get between them. When you first walk the course, you should lump this question into the category of a coffin-type jump, where you have a jump on the crest of a hill and a descending approach to a ditch. This particular ditch happens to have a diagonal log with brush over top of it. So even though the face of the jump is narrow, there is a sweet spot that you will want to jump it…. in the middle! You will want to pay extra special attention to the quality of the canter as you approach this jump, and any other “coffin” jump. Think bouncy and active balance of the canter. You will be wanting to create a canter at least 3 strides away from the A element that gives your horse some athletic options. By that I mean, you want to create energy and power on a short stride.IMG_9564 IMG_9565

You might say: the Vicarage Vee is so much easier because it has only one element, not two.  And that would be your first mistake! The first element here, 17A helps you prepare for the difficult ditch jump.  The distance between the two jumps is a solid 3 stride ride, as you measure it by feet. However, because there is a ditch under B, you need to be prepared for your horse to shorten and take a peek. This is not a “sit and look pretty” 3 stride line, rather, it is a “get ‘er done and stay in the backseat” line.  How you jump the first element will give you a lot of information, as a rider, on what you need to do to get over B. For instance, if your horse is sticky at A, then you right away know that you should start riding like Kyle Carter, and get your elbows and legs moving in order to cover the distance comfortably.  If you take a launcher over A, then you need to immediately stabilize your position on landing and ride as straight as you can to B to control the excessive energy that you are coping with.

Kyle does it best.
Kyle does it best.

While I was taking the photographs for this blog, a rider was approaching the jump, so I thought I would also add a video for further education. And Im glad I did!! First off, it happened to be a lovely Young Rider on a horse that I found for her! And, it just so happens that she made a mistake there that we ALL can learn from.  Just because something walks in 3 strides does not mean that you are going to get 3 strides.  You can see that she jumps ahead of her horse at the B element, and for that reason, mare (Bless her fuzzy soul) added a fourth stride and pops out like it is just another day at the office. This horse has not only has incredible scope, talent and confidence… but the rider has also put so much money in the bank that when something goes wrong and she makes a withdraw on the jumping bank account – it all works out ok.  The horse clearly does not mind that there is a ditch under there, but rather she just pulls out some of her pony talent and covers up for a slight piloting error.  If the rider had a habit of doing this, then the result would be much different.  But instead, the rider has a habit of riding well, and it shows in the teamwork.

One other comment I would like to make is about her approach to the A element. I would say that it is darn near perfect. The rider has successfully changed from the galloping position to a bouncy canter on her approach. She has done it without arm wrestling and the mare never takes her eyes off the job in front of her. I love a rider who is able to communicate so well with the horse that they can keep their ears up and stay focused while still being obedient to the aids. And isnt the riders position fantastic over A element?  Talk about tall shoulders.

Anyway, enough of that. I hope you learned something and I will attempt to continue the blog series throughout the summer.

Series Navigation<< Jump Academy #3Jump Academy #5 >>

Other posts in this series...

  • Jump Academy #5 (May 10, 2017)
    Its a new season, and a new opportunity for me to blog about cool things that I see on the cross country course. Letty, Moxee, Viki, Lanie and me all
  • Jump Academy #4 (May 12, 2016)
    Jump Academy is a series of blogs where I contstantly forget remember to take a photo of a cross country question at an event that I am attending. The
  • Jump Academy #3 (July 10, 2015)
    I have another very cool jump to show you. This combination was on the Preliminary course at Inavale HT in Philomath Oregon. And like the previous Jum
  • Jump Academy #2 (July 3, 2015)
    Another installment of Jump Academy is here! For the last 3 shows, I have been finishing up on Sunday, packing the trailer and generally trying to sco
  • Jump Academy #1 (April 14, 2015)
    This is an introduction to a new series in my blog - Jump Academy! I will periodicallly blog about jumps that I see and ride on courses throughout the

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