Michael Jung and fis­cherRo­cana FST

Practical Horseman - - Cross Country With Jim Wofford -

1

For the last few years, Michael Jung (The Ter­mi­na­tor) and fis­cherRo­cana FST (Roxie) have come over from Ger­many and given us free rid­ing les­sons. By the time they jumped up onto the Nor­mandy Bank at Fence 21ABCD this year, they had al­ready won this event three times—in a row—and were the fa­vorites to win it a fourth. You can see what an ef­fort it takes from both horse and rider to jump a big bank with a big ditch in front of it. Michael has driven his heels down and slightly back in or­der to stay with Roxie. His reins are a bit too long for my taste, but he con­sis­tently rides her on a long rein and so far it has worked out pretty well for him.

2

The bounce from the edge of the bank to the log is long, which means horse and rider need to be ag­gres­sive. It takes a spe­cial kind of horse to be ag­gres­sive at a jump when she is not able to see the land­ing on the other side. Michael knows this and he is land­ing in a driv­ing po­si­tion. One of the many les­sons Michael is giv­ing here is that when he moves slightly be­hind Roxie, he does not pull back on the reins to keep his bal­ance.

3

Roxie com­pletely trusts her rider. She would jump off the south edge of the Grand Canyon if Michael asked, so a sim­ple bounce into a big drop is cat­nip for her. At the same time, you can see from his eyes that Michael is al­ready plan­ning his turn to the next el­e­ment. His ex­tra­or­di­nary bal­ance over his horse starts with the rock-solid se­cu­rity of his lower leg. When go­ing cross coun­try, Michael rides shorter than most Amer­i­can rid­ers. Note that he has just over a 90-de­gree an­gle be­hind his knee in the air. The cor­rect length for show-jumping stir­rups is a 90-de­gree an­gle be­hind the rider’s knee when seated.

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