Developing Eye

img_1658.jpgI posted last week about my DIY jump stick and a few weeks before that about using wine bottles as a unit of measure. This week I have been thinking about how you develop your eye. What I mean when I say that is knowing how tall a jump is without having to measure – or knowing about what a certain height should look like. Above you can see that Game Time MS is jumping the bejesus out of a 4′ jump.img_1666.jpg

Practice makes perfect comes to mind but I think there are also ways that you can easily determine how big something is – especially when you train yourself to recognize how tall most standards are – 4′, 5′, or 6′. Almost all of the standards at the barn I board at are 5′ tall with a few 4′ thrown in there. This means that the top hole is 5′ and it is relatively easy to figure out what height you are setting by understanding that each hole is 3″. Luckily this is transferable to almost all standards and now I am getting a bit better at gauging pictures as well – with exceptions because sometimes the description just doesn’t match.

  • 5′ – Top Hole
  • 4’9 – 2nd Hole
  • 4’6 – 3rd Hole
  • 4’3 – 4th Hole
  • 4′ – 5th Hole
  • 3’9 – 6th Hole
  • 3’6 – 7th Hole
  • 3’3 – 8th Hole
  • 3′ – 9th Hole

A 4′ standard makes a 2’6 jump look bigger than a 5′ standard and vice versa. I normally try not to focus too much on how high the jump is but since I school alone so often I have to make sure that I am setting to height so that I am not just schooling 2’6-2’9 at home and then floored when the jumps are set for competition at Novice height.

I think it is important to keep in mind that most standards are drilled for 3″ increments and not meter heights so referencing the above chart you might be an inch or so off occasionally. Novice is 2’11 or .9M and I have been trying to more consistently school 3′ at home this month.I need to break free of the grid though and see how we do back over a course at height again since our first show of the year is in 2 weeks and we haven’t been out since Feather Creek in October. In a magical fairytale land I would have the money to give a pro the ride on Annie and see if she could do the YJC 5yos but I certainly won’t be piloting her over 1.20m anytime soon so that probably isn’t going to be happening. A girl can dream though!

How have you guys developed your eye? Do you know how tall your standards are? Do you just let your trainer set the jumps and go for it?

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  1. All of the wing standards at my barn are 5′ but there are a few simple 4′ ones. I have set so many jumps over the years that I am pretty good at judging height, as long as it’s not metric–I am still working on internalizing that conversion table!

  2. Honestly I just let the trainer set the jumps and go for it! Sometimes I will ask after our ride is over so I don’t psych myself out. I’m pretty bad at judging fence heights, but I will sometimes count the holes – it works from the bottom up, too, if you know approximately how high the first hole is from the ground!

  3. I’m pretty good at eyeballing fence height – I ride alone a lot too, and make a habit of measuring my jumps frequently so I know exactly how high we’re schooling. That’s given me a good idea of what different heights look like, plus I know where on my body certain jump heights hit. (i.e., 3′ is about my hipbone, 2’9 is about the corner of my pocket, 2’6 is a little further down my thigh, etc.) I don’t really question my trainers when they set fences, but I can pretty much figure out how tall they are just by looking!

  4. Most wing standards have a pin at the 3’6″ mark, so I’ve always used that as a gauge. Stick standards don’t usually have them though. I really like my new jumps with the holes all marked, but they are in 3″ increments and not meters. But I’ve given up on learning the conversion anyway.