Sunday, April 28, 2013

Jumping Conclusions and a Contest

We've made it through Rolex week! I am excited for a couple of reasons. #1 I got to watch the entire event from start to finish and #2 that means I am that much closer to going home! Can't really emphasize #2 enough.

It is disappointing for the U.S. to get beat on their own turf again but if you are going to get beat I guess Andrew Nicholson and WFP are the best of the best right now. Badminton is going to be extra exciting this year as these guys face off to win the Rolex grandslam of eventing. It's worth $350,000 to the winner, I believe. First time ever that two people are eligible for it at the same time thanks to England's crappy weather last year raining out Badminton. Of course Ze Terminator, Michael Jung will be there as well to most likely dash both of their hopes. I guess I will keep my subscription to FEI-TV a little longer and watch some Badminton this weekend!

I don't know if any of you follow Denny Emerson on Facebook. (You should!) You might recognize him from a little book he wrote called How Good Riders Get Good. He has a lot of great insights into the sport of eventing and horses in general. One of the things he has commented on quite frequently is that a lot of those winning are not necessarily the most technically correct riders.  This really struck me as I was looking at some pictures over on EN of Andrew Nicholson. You can see them here. He is in the first and second pictures. I realize this is just two pictures out of thirteen jumps and we all have our bad moments but it is interesting that in both of these pictures his lower leg is in a land far far away compared to the rest of his body. If I did that I would go kersplat for sure! I'm not trying to pick on him or anything but I do feel a little better about my own riding faults when I see pictures like this of some of the greats. Is that really bad? lol

And finally go check out an awesome contest over at Equestrian At Hart. Up for grabs are some volunteer t-shirts from Rolex. I wanna win!


  1. I noticed this as well when I was at Rolex and while watching it online. Buck Davidson was riding with RIDICULOUSLY long stirrups both cross-country and in stadium, and half of the time his toes were pointed down. Then, in half of the pictures I took, everyone's legs were all over the place.

    I'd still say you should strive for the ideal, but yeah, even the pros need some work :)

    1. Peter Atkinson (of Run Henny Run fame) was also riding with very long stirrups. In Buck's case I think it probably has something to do with his height. I can't remember where I read this but short people do tend to ride with longer stirrups (to make their leg a little longer maybe?) I know I've been guilty of this too.

      But obviously these guys get it done regardless of what flaws we may perceive.

  2. I need to finish reading that book. A lot of high level jumper riders do that riding style with their legs. I couldn't pull it off, but I think sometimes form over function isn't a good plan!

    1. Yes, it does seem pretty common to pinch with the knees and let the lower leg swing back these days. Heck, I've been guilty of it on plenty of occasions myself. Obviously Andrew Nicholson is a superb rider and stays balanced (otherwise they'd have a lot more pulled rails) but every time I see a picture of someone with their leg like that I think "boy, I sure hope their horse never pulls a dirty stop on them!" Even superman will have to succumb to physics at some point.

      It does make me wonder if it is simply a habit, though, or if it is an actual purposeful style of riding and what would the philosophy be behind it, I wonder? Of course it is always easy to be an armchair quarterback. ;)