Strides (And why they totally suck) - The Showjumper's Diary
 By Polo the Weirdo   •   2nd Nov 2013   •   4,085 views   •   0 comments
The Showjumpers Diary

The Oxford dictionary describes a stride as “a long, decisive step”. But to us showjumpers, it’s often a lot more ‘long’ than it is decisive.

Studies have shown that the average horse’s canter stride covers 3,65 meters. We know that jumps seven steps apart will have one canter stride between them, and that jumps eleven steps apart will be separated by two. We know that if the distance between two jumps walks short then we should collect the canter, and we know to extend the canter if the stride walks long. We know all of this and more, and when we walk a course we can measure every distance and know exactly how it is supposed to ride. We know exactly what we’re doing, so it should be easy, right?

Well, it’s not. Why?

Because strides totally suck, that’s why. The minute you get on your horse, that short six that you walked suddenly becomes four. And while you’re jumping rope with your reins and trying to find your stirrups after the huge stand off, suddenly the next stride isn't there at all. By this point you've got your crop upside down and your reins somewhere up near your ears, and there’s nothing for it but to close your eyes and pray.

Related: Flatwork for Showjumping

Some of the advice that we showjumpers must frustratedly tolerate includes things like, “If you have good rhythm, the stride will be there”, or, “Don’t take the first stride you see, because a better one will always come along.”
Of course, this advice is all perfectly true, but it sure doesn't seem that way when you’re riding into a big fence with your ‘good rhythm’, watching it get bigger and bigger as it gets closer, and thinking to yourself, “Come along, little stride. Any time now would be good. Any time now...”

Of course, the stride isn't going to show up. It never intended to. While you were approaching the big oxer, hoping to heck that it would meet you there, it was off chilling with its buddies at the combination – most likely planning how next to ‘get’ you.

If you’re lucky, your horse might dismiss the stride’s absence and decide to drop it (The nasty piece of work deserves it anyway), and then you’ll be forced to present again. The stride, hopefully a little humbled by being dropped in the dirt, will promise to be there if you wait for it. So, trusting little rider that you are, you come around the corner, and wait. It hasn't arrived yet, so you collect the canter, and wait some more. And you keep waiting, and waiting, sure that it’s going to show up, until suddenly you’re underneath the jump, still waiting.

Strides are deceitful and conniving little things. They pop up from miles away and the second you start chasing them, they just up and run. You wait for them politely, and they stand you up like a bad date. Some will dance butt naked in front of the jump until you’re completely committed to them, only to realize that they were totally wrong to begin with (as butt naked dancers quite often are). They’re more full of evil and treachery than most politicians, and frequently twice as dishonest.

And if that isn’t enough to make you realize why strides totally suck, then consider this for a moment:

If strides are supposed to be ‘seen’, then why aren't they plainly visible and lit up with neon signs, rather than chilling out somewhere under Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak?

Because they totally suck, that’s why.

The Invisible Stride’s Latest Victim with the Bruised Bottom
Horse News More In This Category:  Horse Training      Horse News More From This Author:  Polo the Weirdo
 More News by Polo the Weirdo
Equestrian In Lockdown
5th Apr 2020   |   Horse Training   |   Polo the Weirdo
On the first day of lockdown, most of us sat in our homes. Silent, shellshocked, looking through old pictures of our horses and trying to come to terms with the fact that we had to be without them for 3 whole weeks. Worrying about ...
Dear Baby Horse - Regarding The Gate
29th Mar 2020   |   Horse Training   |   Polo the Weirdo
I am a long-time sufferer of your shenanigans, and I am writing to express my concern about recent discussion and the pending decision to implement an exit the arena at any given opportunity policy. I understand that the decision ...
Baby Horse Diaries - Baby Horses Are Like Underwear
10th Nov 2019   |   Horse Training   |   Polo the Weirdo
Yesterday, while dressing to go down to the stables and exercise the half-ton creatures that spend their lives trying to kill me, I got my foot stuck in a hole in my underwear that was definitely not supposed to be there. This mad ...
Baby Horse Diaries - Dont Hurt Me No More
19th Oct 2019   |   Horse Training   |   Polo the Weirdo
Since I have had my Baby Horses, Sunny and De Niro, I have had one fall off each, which is really not bad going through all the toddler tantrums! Honestly, I was feeling quite proud of myself. Until today. ...
Baby Horse Diaries - If Baby Horses Could Name Things
28th Sep 2019   |   Horse Training   |   Polo the Weirdo
If you’ve ever owned, trained, or otherwise interacted with a baby horse, you will know that sometimes they just seem to see the world differently to us. Whether it’s the shallow rain puddle that’s clearly hiding sharks, or the in ...
Baby Horse Diaries - Sass Levels Reach All Time High
7th Jul 2019   |   Horse Training   |   Polo the Weirdo
This is not fake news. Our sources have confirmed that Baby Niro displayed excessively high levels of sass recently when being ridden in the arena after a week off work. Witnesses report high levels of head tossing and neck flicki ...
Baby Horse Diaries - Starter Kit
16th Jun 2019   |   Horse Training   |   Polo the Weirdo
So you just bought yourself a baby horse? I bet you’re wondering what you’ll need to help you in this new chapter of your life! Well never fear, Baby Horse Diaries is here to answer all of your questions. To create your own Baby H ...
Baby Horse Diaries - Playtime (AKA the Hunger Games)
9th Jun 2019   |   Horse Training   |   Polo the Weirdo
Baby horses, like most babies, are curious, energetic and playful beings that constantly seek out new means of entertainment. In fact, one of the most fun things about having a baby horse is all the wonderful new games that you ge ...
  View All News by Polo the Weirdo
©2002 - 2020   PonyBox LLC Create Account Terms & Conditions Privacy Contact Us
338 Members Online 263,150 Registered Members 2,687 News Articles 11,429,147 Unique News Article Views 271,782,276 Website Views