Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: East Central Illinois
I'm glad that your last lesson was a success!!
Forasmuch as we ride the horse so that he/she takes over on "cruise control" most of the time, we need to ride the entire course. The best example I gave my students was to ride like you drive a car. You stay in your lane (track), you keep your foot on the accelerator (squeeze with your calves when necessary and keep contact) and adjust your speed (upward and lower transitions.) When you drive you have to keep feeding gas to the engine through a turn or you will not finish it. You keep your leg on your horse and drive into the turns and they will remain fluid.
You ride TO a jump like you drive up a hill, keeping your accelerator pushed, then releasing right before you crest the hill, so you do NOT interfere with the horse once he/she commits to the jump.
This is why you ALWAYS hear that you should Dressage your horse before you jump. It's all about transitions.
If you could practice, it should be laying out poles instead of jumps, and riding the course as many different ways as possible, including riding the partial course when you do not "jump" some of them. You should, at practice, work on your correct and perfectly straight approach, and ride the "pole course" at the walk, and the trot, and at the canter.
A good Hunter can jump a cross rail and small verticals from the walk, and certainly from the trot. YOU need to be aware of this, in case your instructor has had you jumping exclusively at the canter.
I've been repeating this all year, BUT, firm up your seat by walking cool every time without stirrups. It is, IMHO, the very best time to work on developing a deep seat bc you are already tired and will NOT push yourself out of the saddle as you might at the beginning of a lesson. It will also teach you to loosen up your core and follow the motion of the horse, which is exaggerated at the walk. I also believe that this is the best way to prepare anybody to ride the canter the first time. As we know, MANY good Hunters and Jumpers have BIIIIIGGGGG trots and BIIIIIIIGGGG canters, like a ship at sea. (Of course, you will ask permission, if this is in a lesson on a school horse.)
When you are in 2-point correctly, you are really in a half seat, where you balance where you grip, and assist by sinking weight in your stirrups. Top notch Jumpers (riders) can drop their stirrups and jump a simple Hunter course and they will be in 2 point over the jumps.
Good luck and enjoy your lessons! I know that I did. =b