Please critique my jumping position - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 11-05-2008, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
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Please critique my jumping position

These are some pictures from my lesson yesterday (and my last on Ricky, the pony in the pictures). I'd like some general tips and advice on my position. Sorry I had to blur my face out.. it's a parent rule. xD

I'm afraid over the bigger jumps I don't look very good. Any tips are welcome. Thanks in advance. =)

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post #2 of 12 Old 11-05-2008, 04:38 PM
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You look like you're jumping ahead of the horse. Wait for him to jump and let the momentum get you into the two-point. Easier said than done... I have issues with this, sometimes. And I don't know for sure, but it looks to me like your leg is falling back a bit. (:

Twende Haraka
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post #3 of 12 Old 11-05-2008, 05:16 PM
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I'd have to agree with twende, you look like your going ahead of your horse. Wait for that natural feeling to move with your horse.

Bailey's Mountain
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post #4 of 12 Old 11-05-2008, 06:40 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice. Jumping ahead is a really bad habit I have.

Every ride, good or bad, teaches you something new.
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post #5 of 12 Old 11-07-2008, 02:25 PM
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Jumping ahead of the horse is a bad habit that LOTS of people have... If you think of bringing your lower leg forward and your toes up as you close your hip angle for the fence it will help keep her where you should be... Pretend you are going to bring your hands and your toes together (obviously not to the extreme but when your leg tends to slip back usually just the vision will help you bring it back under you). Since you're used to jumping with your leg a little behind, it will feel like it is really out in front of you.


"The white horse moved like a dancer, which is not surprising: a horse is a beautiful animal, but it is perhaps most remarkable because it moves as if it always hears music."
-Mark Helprin-
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post #6 of 12 Old 11-07-2008, 02:28 PM
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Also in some of the pics (last 2 really) it looks like you may be standing up too much, which brings your upper body out away from the horse and encourages your leg to slip back. Instead of pushing up as you go into position, imagine just closing your hip angle (angle made at your hip bone between your thigh and your torso). It will bring your body lower and your leg will stay more under you.


"The white horse moved like a dancer, which is not surprising: a horse is a beautiful animal, but it is perhaps most remarkable because it moves as if it always hears music."
-Mark Helprin-
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post #7 of 12 Old 12-20-2008, 08:04 PM
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You look pretty good, I just think that you are jumping ahead- which is probably because your heel is not down QUITE far enough, which causes your lower leg to swing back. You also may be standing up a bit too much in your stirrups. Overall, good job, though! You look really natural and relaxed.
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post #8 of 12 Old 02-18-2009, 02:38 PM
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I will give a critique, because you asked. Don't misinterpret my wording - like in LoveLucy's thread.

I will be honest and I will do my best :) It is about improvement and learning right :)


The first thing I see, is allot of jumping ahead - as others already stated. But lets break it down as to why.

1) Anticipating the fence
2) Trying to get over the fence for your horse
3) Riding the fence, not your horse
4) No base of security in saddle
5) Untrusting of mount

Your whole body works together as a unisom team. Without one part working, the others cannot.

We all make mistakes -heck, even I do and I am 32 and have been riding all my life. I've made such bad mistakes, I ended up having a metal jump cup embedded in my arm.

BUT it is from these mistakes - that we learn from. If we didn't make them, we wouldn't know anything.

Lets start at the bottom and go to the top -


No strength here what-so-ever. You are either gripping for security, or you loose your lower leg all together.....due to gripping again because of no base of security.

Your leather length is good. But you need to correct your iron placement. Bring your irons farther up your foot - to the ball of your toes. The outside of your iron should be at your pinky toe, and the inside of your iron should be at the ball of your big toe.

Because of your knee pinching, and incorrect placement of your iron - you are not allowing your heels to do their job...most importantly, your heels have to beable to do their job.

You must allow the weight from your upper body, flow down through your seat, down through your legs and deep down into your heels. This mustnt be forced, but allowed to happen naturally.

Open your knees. Stop gripping. Once you've established your heels and knees - WOWZA...there's your seat, and WOWZA, there's your base of security.

Work on this - while at a halt. Lift your seat up slightly out of your tack, through your heels. Your heels deepen, take your bodies weight....and are being allowed to do their job.

Without your heels, you have no base of security. But your body has to work together, to accomplish this.

Also, work on pulling your legs from your saddle, outwards. Using your inner leg muscles - move your legs off the saddle. Hold for a few moments, then release.
This will help build your muscles up, and teach you to not rely on your knees.

You'll see Olympic Level Dressage Competators doing this often. Puts them in check.

Now that you have worked on opening your knees, and allowing your heels to do their job - work on keeping your lower leg at the girth.

You are not just ontop of your horse, you must be wrapped around your horse. This accomplishes a few things - - - -

- Solidifying form in saddle
- supporting horse to, over, after a fence

You must always keep those legs at the girth. On approach, take off, flight, landing, depart.

Never take those legs off of the girth.


Once you have established a strong lower body - weight in heels, legs locked at can now establish a much more funcional seat.

Your seat must never leave the saddle so far off, such as yours in the pictures. You have lost all security in your tack - and if your pony'd fly like a bird.

Not me.

Work on keeping your seat LOW to your tack, but also work on pushing it back towards the cantle.

LOW and BACK. This will come after your legs and heels. When you keep your legs at the girth, this will aid your seat position.


Hard to tell with a bulky sweater on, but it appears you are going into the fetal position. What is that? That is where you roach your back in defense of going over the fence. It is what you see allot of Eventers do - even I do it.

You want a nice, soft and supple lower back so that you can go with the motion of your horses movement.

Shoulders, you need to bring those back - that will help your lower back position as well.

Push that toosh back, push those ta-ta's out.


OK - so lets move to anticipating the fence.....

You are riding the fence, not your horse. You are looking at that fence on approach, trying to get to it, staring at it - hence...anticipating.

Stop. YOU know that fence is there. YOUR pony obviously knows that fence is what's the big deal?

Focus on what is most important.....your partner who is under you. Focus on establishing a rhythm Focus on establishing a strait line. Focus on getting your horse to that base, in a controlled, safe manner.

Allow the fence to come to you, not you to it.

Don't stare at it. Don't think about it, just allow it to happen. YOUR job is to get your horse to the base, your HORSES job is to get you over it.

You cannot jump that fence for him, that's his job. YOUR job is to get him there rounded, rhythmical, fluid, steady and strait.

Allow your horse to lift you out of your tack. YOU just stay put. DON'T MOVE. Allow him to lift you, allow him to close the angle, and TRUST him to do his job.

By you throwing yourself ahead of his motion - you've also tossed all your bodies weight onto his forehand. YOU have now just made his job, that must harder.

You need a horse that'll stop dead in his tracks - you'd soon learn to sit back and wait.

On approach, you need to sit on all 3 points of your seat. Your upper body needs to be balanced over his center of gravity. Your lower leg needs to remain at his girth to support, encourage and lift him - and he needs to do the rest.

Also, by you jumping ahead - you are saying "I don't trust, let me do it for you"


I would recommend lots of 2 point work. Lots of lunge line work without reins. Solidifying your lower body....legs, heels, seat. I would recommend going back to x rails.

So what - you have to do x rails. I do x rails! Doesn't make you any lesser of a rider - that just makes you that much more educated as a rider.

While you are working on solidifying your form, you'll be cleaing house in the equitation classes.

YOU as the rider, needs to AID your horse over those fences. By you throwing yourself ahead, you are definately not helping at all.

You want to keep him on his back end, you want to remain out of his way, you want to stay over his center of gravity.

You can fix this if you truely want to.

It isn't the height of the fence that is the quallity of the fence that counts.

I don't care if someone jumps. I care about how well someone jumps.

Hope I was able to help :)
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post #9 of 12 Old 04-18-2009, 12:19 AM
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you look to be a strong rider. for the jumping ahead issue, i would suggest sitting to the fences and sinking down in your heels. i like your hip angle and upper position, just bend your knee, release and let the horse do the work. good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!
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post #10 of 12 Old 04-18-2009, 04:53 AM
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Have to agree with MIEventer.. only one thing. If you want to build up inner leg muscles, this:

Also, work on pulling your legs from your saddle, outwards. Using your inner leg muscles - move your legs off the saddle. Hold for a few moments, then release.
This will help build your muscles up, and teach you to not rely on your knees.

Will not work. That builds the outside of your legs... the inner thighs can only contract and pull the legs together. What it DOES do is stretch the inner thighs out... which is why olympic riders do it. If the inner thigh is too tense (or if you're riding on the backs of your thighs instead of the insides), then you're not going to sit very nice. A very good exercise, but not for the listed reason above.

MIEventer's advice listed for you, however, will build the inner thighs. TRUST ME! lol and it huuurrrts.

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