DR650

Steep Slopes

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MY scanner won't scan a book because the lid it too far open

From Corral to Championship, page 175

Slopes

Assume the forward seat just as in cross country. Keep a firm grip on the horses sides with legs from heel to crotch, not forgetting the body's forward inclination.

You can brace yourself by leaning one hand at the base of the his neck.

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you keep talking about "forward". i used to event, and we call it a two-point. so named because your weight is balanced on the TWO balls of your feel and down in your heels, and your rear end is polked out toward the back like a duck to counterbalance the upper body.

if all you would do is lean forward on a steep slope, (and brace on your horse's neck--no thanks) you'd be causing that horse to travel even faster just to keep you on board.

just put one of your grandchildren on your shoulders while walking downhill and ask him/her to "lean forward" and watch what happens. i know you have two legs rather than four, but the principle is weight/leverage which is the same whatever country you're in.

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Thank you for the reference to "From Corral to Championship". It looks like an interesting book and I plan to purchase it.

I have uploaded a sketch I made from a photo of a rider descending a slope (http://forums.horsecity.com/index.php?app=galleryℑ=15325). It may not be as steep a slope as you are trying to describe, but it is probably as steep as most riders would want to descend. I have added reference lines to help illustrate what I am trying to describe. While this rider is actually in front of the vertical, he would probably say he is remaining upright or even leaning backwards. Even if his torso was back further so his weight was centered over his feet, he would in no way be leaning backwards. Nor would his weight be behind the horse's feet.

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Thank you for the reference to "From Corral to Championship". It looks like an interesting book and I plan to purchase it.

I have uploaded a sketch I made from a photo of a rider descending a slope (http://forums.horsecity.com/index.php?app=galleryℑ=15325). It may not be as steep a slope as you are trying to describe, but it is probably as steep as most riders would want to descend. I have added reference lines to help illustrate what I am trying to describe. While this rider is actually in front of the vertical, he would probably say he is remaining upright or even leaning backwards. Even if his torso was back further so his weight was centered over his feet, he would in no way be leaning backwards. Nor would his weight be behind the horse's feet.

I certainly would call him leaning backwards. He certainly is not at 90 degrees to the horse's back , to the ground either. He is leaning back.

My definition of straight and leaning back is far different then yours.

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Edited by DR650

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I tore the page out of the book , a definite NO NO.

While I don't live near a mountain the glaciers plowing earth and rock down from the north ended right here, within a 1/2 mile of the barn leaving a large area of rock and huge dirt piles, too rough and big for a city to built in so it is park land with trails criss crossing all through it, could be 1000 acres, takes me 5 hours to run all the trails and some are extremely steep. I spend fall and spring in these hills climbing all through them. that is until the deer flies arrive and then it is running in the parks, the boulevards and the university, no bugs and great footing, June, july and August then back into the woods until winter.

I have exhausted my arguments and will let it go at this. Good luck guys with your hills no matter how you decide to take them.

Page 174 of the same book

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I certainly would call him leaning backwards. He certainly is not at 90 degrees to the horse's back , to the ground either. He is leaning back.

My definition of straight and leaning back is far different then yours.

nv9z7k.jpg

I thought the definition of vertical and leaning might be a big part of the problem in this discussion; that is why I wanted to provide this illustration. You are referencing vertical in relation to the horse or to the slope of the ground. I consider vertical in relation to the line of balance -- a line from the center of balance to the center of the earth. The horizontal line in the illustration would be level with a carpenter's level; therefore, I use it as my reference when describing vertical and leaning.

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I would like to see a little more discussion on this topic since I am always open to learning new methods. I like to have a lot of tools in my toolbox for various situations. I have ordered "From Corral to Championship" hoping for more descriptions and illustrations.

Nick, you mentioned that you ride in the two-point at 90 degrees to the horse. When going down hill, are you not actually 90 degrees to the level with your feet underneath you? Do you have an photo or drawing from the perspective of the sketch I provided which illustrates the position you are discussing? My thought is that your stirrup leathers are short enough for you to clear your saddle by several inches, your head and shoulders are in front of your feet, and your butt is behind your feet. If so, your center of balance would still be much like the vertical line in my illustration with weight pretty much centered over the horse's front feet.

Perhaps we should also think about the type of saddle being used. For example, would a large "Western" saddle interfer with the horse's hip movement?

Also, wouldn't gripping the horse with one's legs interfere with the movement of the horse's shoulders? A rider who balances his weight over the stirrups would not have to grip the horse with his legs. He would simply leave them gently against the horse's side to stablize lateral movements of his body as the horse alternates movements of his left and right hip and shoulder.

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when you're riding point to point or the cross country phase of eventing your stirrups are indeed short (er). not as short as a jockeys, but short enough so that you wind up in a similar "fulcrum" type position (turning you into kind of a metronome like they use for piano players) allowing you to go with the horse's natural stride and body control (helps you not to interfere!!). your butt is out of the saddle but your shoulders are not in front of your feet, especially not going downhill or jumping in and out of a ditch, otherwise there's a good chance you'd take a header should the horse refuse or stumble.

as i mentioned in my earlier post you almost look like a duck in profile, with your rear end stuck out counterbalancing your upper body position and keeping your weight on the (wandering) center of gravity. your back is straight, shoulders up and you need to have your breast bone pulled up nice and tight to stay stable for the duration over fences at a good clip.

nobody i ever knew who did this kind of stuff gripped with leg to crotch. the easiest way to stay on board was to find and stay with the horse's rhythm, which also coincided with superior performance. interfering in any way except to guide and correct where necessary gets you nowhere (or hurt) fast with this kind of riding.

and no, i can't imagine doing this kind of riding in anything other than a cross country saddle.

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I have been riding for 56 years extensively and spend each and every day on a horse putting more miles on him then you do. A very slow week is 35 miles when it is well below zero and a normal week can be 75 miles but average closer to 60.

If you have ever really slid down extreme slops you would know to lean FORWARD no back.

I get my miles in. Not as many as I used to, but have been behind 400 cow/calf pairs when it is 20 below and the wind is banging on 40-50 mph trying to get them to a safe place and lots of other below zero riding for whatever reason. Quantity is not as important as quality in lots of things including riding Glad you get all that time in. As for if I have ever slid down extreme slopes, the pictures will give you an idea of a big share of the country I ride in. Fairly steep slopes are encountered when your keeping an eye on and gathering cows in this type of country. And I have had to slide down them occasionally. Also ride the plains and can get into some pretty good slopes there. Won't get into leaning forward or back, I just try to stay centered, for whatever that is worth and whatever it might mean. Seem to have gotten away with it all these years.

As for all your dog training experience, Whoopee. I guess you done good. I ran a dog training school for 12-14 years. primarily pet obedience, but also competition OB, agility, tracking, and hunting.

Have lots of titles too from the 18 golden retrievers I have had. Whoopee to me too. Still don't think I would want you riding with me. Probably would not be able to hear myself think with you telling me everything I was doing wrong.

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As for all your dog training experience, Whoopee. I guess you done good. I ran a dog training school for 12-14 years. primarily pet obedience, but also competition OB, agility, tracking, and hunting.

Have lots of titles too from the 18 golden retrievers I have had. Whoopee to me too. Still don't think I would want you riding with me. Probably would not be able to hear myself think with you telling me everything I was doing wrong.

5 minutes ago my wife threw these out. She is house cleaning and every time she comes across trophies they get the boot. Other then a picture they are distant memories They are all year end high points trophies.

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Goldens are too laid back for me and you never see them in guard dog competitions nor tracking. It was shepherds for me since they can track like wolves, take the cold and do well as guard dogs.

Edited by DR650

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Eat your heart out "Robin Hood. Made the shot this afternoon in my training session. 40 yards, slight wind.

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Don't know where you did your tracking but it sure isn't anywhere in the northwest US or western Canada if you have not seen goldens track. Some of the best there are. Prefer laid back dogs. Do my own guard duty whenever necessary. Do have one question however; Are you important to anybody besides yourself?

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Don't know where you did your tracking but it sure isn't anywhere in the northwest US or western Canada if you have not seen goldens track. Some of the best there are. Prefer laid back dogs. Do my own guard duty whenever necessary. Do have one question however; Are you important to anybody besides yourself?

apparently NOT. poor fella.

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I read this topic with great interest because we traverse, up and down, some pretty steep slopes. It makes me nervous; Ron says to just trust my horse. He doesn't look any different in the saddle going up and down hills than he does on the flats. He's loose, relaxed and sitting solid in the saddle. Me? I'm leaning back, leaning forward and worried I'm going to either slide off the back or over the head! I'm getting better though.

And because pictures are fun, here are some examples.

In this photo, see that light spot behind Ron's head, kind of the upper middle of the photo? There's a gate there we had to close. We came to it from the hillside on the right, straight down the hill, more or less, because we were checking fence up to that gate. After the gate, the rest of the fence was someone else's responsibility, so we were able to angle a little bit to get around the rock face to get to the spot where I took the photo.

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This is looking south, the direction we needed to go in:

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And this is what the ground looks like; in some places, it's rockier:

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This isn't the steepest ground we covered but it's steep enough.

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Grouchy & Andi, Good to see both back posting again, & thanks for those neat pictures of the rugged country you ride regularly, where you know what you are talking about.

DR650, I've followed many of your posts since you've been on HC, on just about every one, you have come across as you are the only one with all the right answers. The secret of being a good horseman, is to having a open mind, & listen to other peoples thoughts & ideas, so you can grow as a person. Your head strong approach is only digging a deeper hole for yourself. Very hard to give you much respect, when you give nobody else respect. PD

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DR650, I've followed many of your posts since you've been on HC, on just about every one, you have come across as you are the only one with all the right answers. The secret of being a good horseman, is to having a open mind, & listen to other peoples thoughts & ideas, so you can grow as a person. Your head strong approach is only digging a deeper hole for yourself. Very hard to give you much respect, when you give nobody else respect. PD

Thanks Peppers Dad. I am trying to teach you guys something. I have proof that leaning forward is an accepted way by the training video's of the cavalry and taken out of a book. You guys give nothing in return except pictures of mountains. That is no proof and in clear diagrams of a guy leaning back you guys claim it is perpendicular to what? The center of the earth??

You want to test it out for yourself which I did long before I read about it or watch video's ??

Pick a steep slippery slide and do it in rain, in snow and dry and try leaning forward, try leaning backwards and do it day after day and you will figure it out. Anything you want to learn try it different ways and figure out what works.

I did research for 45 years and that is how it is done.. Try all sorts of things until you figure out what works.

Have you ever just sat and watched a fellow rider negotiation a steep down grad, I mean really watch the horse , how it is handling the slide, how it's feet are stretched out, the way his body hangs behind the rear forward stretched hind legs.

I don't mean just a quick glance but really trying to figure out how it works?? I seriously doubt it. Some instructor in the middle of an arena said how to do it and you guys blindly follow along. Think for yourself, look at what I presented and look what I got back., pictures of mountains, so what??

Find me proof that leaning back is the accepted way of going down a steep hill?? And the diagram is of a guy leaning back.

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I watch my boyfriend negotiate the terrain all the time. I learn more watching him ride than I've learned in books and videos and online over the last 50 years. I suspect in his 60+ years of making a living from the back of a horse, he knows more about how to sit a horse and negotiate *any* situation than any given 5 people combined, yourself included. I trust what I see and experience more than a nameless, faceless person on line. My BF doesn't lean forward going down hill nor lean back going up hill. Actually, I am always amazed to see him sitting in the saddle like he's on the flats when he's going down the extremely steep, and often slick slopes we have to traverse. I can't do it without feeling like I'm going to be pitched off yet but I'm working on it.

Edited by Andi

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The secret of being a good horseman, is to having a open mind, & listen to other peoples thoughts & ideas, so you can grow as a person.

You guys say to have an open mind and in the next minute tell me how some boyfriend has been doing it for the last 60 years??

Where's the open mind???

Not one of you guys have come up with anything against my arguement of leaning forward other then someone you know leans back. Some boyfriend living on a mountain.

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"That is no proof and in clear diagrams of a guy leaning back you guys claim it is perpendicular to what? The center of the earth??"

Gravity -- the pull on our bodies that requires balance to remain upright -- is determined by the center of the earth, not the slope of a hill. If you tried to stand perpendicular with the line of a slope, you would fall over because the center of gravity of your body would not be over your base of support -- your feet. Therefore, I describe vertical as pependicular to a line that is level. This perpendicular line points to the center of gravitational pull. Elimentary physics. The only way someone could sit on a horse with his head hips and shoulders vertical to the line of a steep slope would be to cling to a horse with his legs and/or lean on the saddle or the horse's neck. The way a rider can sit more vertical to a slope or lean forward otherwise is to move his feet and the stirrups forward so that his feet are underneath him pointing to the center of the earth.

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. The only way someone could sit on a horse with his head hips and shoulders vertical to the line of a steep slope would be to cling to a horse with his legs and/or lean on the saddle or the horse's neck.

That's the way the cavalry manual call for and I no longer have access to that manual, the training video I posted and the picture and word discription in my book.

Besides personal experience and I was not happy with this leaning back which lead to a few wipe outs so I experimented, dug and realized that leaning back in relation to the horse is wrong.

If it was good enough for the cavalry it is good enough for me.

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We don't live on a mountain, rather in the high desert. I would venture to guess that "some boyfriend" who makes a living from the back of a horse and has his entire life would have a more rudimentary understanding, and thereby teach me more, than whatever you are selling. Especially with the manner in which you sell yourself.

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We don't live on a mountain, rather in the high desert. I would venture to guess that "some boyfriend" who makes a living from the back of a horse and has his entire life would have a more rudimentary understanding, and thereby teach me more, than whatever you are selling. Especially with the manner in which you sell yourself.

What happened to learning new things?? Back when you boyfriend was born they were doing it different. They were leaning forwards as the cavalry training video showed. Your boyfriend just never learned the correct way thus leaning back.

Good luck and hope you enjoy your mountain.

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Thanks Peppers Dad. I am trying to teach you guys something. I have proof that leaning forward is an accepted way by the training video's of the cavalry and taken out of a book. You guys give nothing in return except pictures of mountains. That is no proof and in clear diagrams of a guy leaning back you guys claim it is perpendicular to what? The center of the earth??

You want to test it out for yourself which I did long before I read about it or watch video's ??

Pick a steep slippery slide and do it in rain, in snow and dry and try leaning forward, try leaning backwards and do it day after day and you will figure it out. Anything you want to learn try it different ways and figure out what works.

I did research for 45 years and that is how it is done.. Try all sorts of things until you figure out what works.

Have you ever just sat and watched a fellow rider negotiation a steep down grad, I mean really watch the horse , how it is handling the slide, how it's feet are stretched out, the way his body hangs behind the rear forward stretched hind legs.

I don't mean just a quick glance but really trying to figure out how it works?? I seriously doubt it. Some instructor in the middle of an arena said how to do it and you guys blindly follow along. Think for yourself, look at what I presented and look what I got back., pictures of mountains, so what??

Find me proof that leaning back is the accepted way of going down a steep hill?? And the diagram is of a guy leaning back.

Did research for 45 years, starting I guess when you were 19 years old. And riding anywhere from 30 to 70 miles week after week. Suppose I should pay attention to what you say. However, went out and had a conversation with my old Foxtrotter mare and my one eyed cutting horse while they were chomping down some hay and tried to explain to them what you were all about. Both of them told me to forget all about the leaning forward or leaning back stuff and just stick to keeping centered (whatever that might be) and keep that feel for them between my legs (whatever that might be) and stay out of their way and let them do their work, whether it's going up and down hills, working cattle or just playing around in an arena (which very seldom happens) Seems to have kept me mostly out of trouble and them too. So guess I will stay with "centered" and "feel".. Much easier for me and my poor old battered body to deal with than all that other stuff which I haven't bothered to research. Besides, had a group conversation with all my alternate personalities and they were of the same mind. Might be the first time that's ever occurred. All of them concurring, that is.

And by the way, posted the mountain pictures just so would have proof I have ridden more than 6 degree slopes from time to time. 'Course, I could have just taken those pictures from some place on the web, and in this digital age, pictures are not necessary proof of anything anyhow.

Going to head back to my recliner now, put the shawl over my feet and think deeply once again about all you have said. See if I can change all my minds.

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This thread is very entertaining. DR, I've come to the conclusion that you just like to argue and you'll always be right about everything. That's the definition of a troll in my books.

Grizzly, you're hilarious! Andi, I'm with you.

Since everyone else has chimed in, here's how I ride down a steep slope, which I avoid if there's any other way to get there. I put my (loose) reins in my left hand which I then clamp over the saddle horn. I put my right hand firmly over my eyes. I cluck to the horse. I don't know if I lean forward or back but I do shake a lot. When the horse stops, I peek through my fingers to see if we reached the bottom.

Fortunately, I live in a very flat part of my state.

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Did research for 45 years, starting I guess when you were 19 years old. And riding anywhere from 30 to 70 miles week after week.

I graduated and got a job almost the same week in a university lab doing research. I retired after putting in 45 years and 4 months. I did research , ran all the undergrad engineering classes and a couple of grad courses, worked cases for the court and private companies but through it all I rode, rode , rode, every day I found the time to ride. Down the line I got to pick my own hours so every afternoon I went for a ride. Got a problem with that???

Grouchy Grizzle you are Grouchy.

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What happened to learning new things?? Back when you boyfriend was born they were doing it different. They were leaning forwards as the cavalry training video showed. Your boyfriend just never learned the correct way thus leaning back.

Good luck and hope you enjoy your mountain.

Maybe you need to read for comprehension more?

*I* am the one who leans. My boyfriend looks the same whether he's on a flat, uphill or downhill. He's sitting relaxed, comfortable and in tune with the horse. *I* am the one out of tune and learning how to ride relaxed like he does.

You don't ride a horse for a living, as in putting in 50-60 hours or more a week, for 60 years, without knowing how to ride correctly and stay out of the way of the horse.

Well, maybe *you* do but in the case of my boyfriend, he's a buckaroo and I go by how he rides. And I'm learning.

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Fortunately, I live in a very flat part of my state.

No matter how flat a state is you can always find gullies, steep slopes, they exist everywhere. Even ditches dug on the side of a road to channel water. In the front of the farm they dug a ditch for draining water and it is 3 feet straight down , then a 1 foot deep channel 2 feet wide. It offers a drop of 4 feet total if the horse were to drop straight down or a nice jump off the ledge and over the 2 foot ditch. There I sit back so he lands more square and saves his front legs.

We jump down and up this all the time in the summer to keep in practice.

Funny but I can't get the eventers of the barn to jump it?????

A troll doesn't know what he is doing. I do.

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As a side note, *this* is how steep that slope is in that first photo where I indicated the light spot was at the gate we closed. The cows are up against the fence at the gate. We were tagging calves; my job was to hold rodear. Which meant me and Stony had to get ourselves up that hillside *fast* and stay there to discourage the cows from heading up the fence that direction. I was riding a 16 hand horse and I have short legs. On the near side, the bottom of my stirrup was maybe 16" off the ground. I don't know what degree the slope is, I just know it's STEEP!

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And yes, I rode UP that hill *and* back DOWN that hill, more than once.

Another shot of that hill; you can see my boyfriend *waaay* down there on his horse:

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You can see it's not all dirt hillside; it's almost entirely rocks and not little ones either. Ah, such is ranch life!

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