Well looks like it's my turn...two pictures from riding yesterday
Here are two pictures from riding Cody yesterday...Cody has been through the ringer the past couple years....4 yrs ago we were doing 3'6 jumpers, when I was leasing him but I was the only one who took care of him, and then I became very busy in high school so a young girl started riding him and wouldn't properly cool him down and stretch him before or after jumping. So she took him to a show and he came up limping. The vet came out said he hurt a ligament in his back leg and that he should never jump over 2' again. Obviously I was LIVID and very upset, my perfect horse that I taught to jump and brought him up to became a well behaved after years of bucking was now injured and I had nothing to do with it! That girl was no longer allowed to ride him, I have recently had the vet out and he OKed him to start slowly jumping again, as his leg as made a "miraculous" recovery due to my TLC. This is the highest he has jumped in over 2 yrs. Before this I have been riding on the flat and poles and occasionally small cross rails. Cody is a JUMPER not a HUNTER...so yes I know he doesnt always jump "pretty" and I also know I am jumping forward a little bit but I would appreciate anymore commentary about the pic or his story in general, thanks guys!
I wouldn't think fold down, but really put your weight into your heels instead of using them as push off points. IMO your hands could be a little more vertical, and a little firmer against Cody's neck. Also look up and not down. You are looking down especially in the picture going over poles. As my instructor/trainer puts it "Look where your going, let them worry about where to put their feet." As for what happened to Cody, I am really sorry. He looks like a real sweetheart, and I can tell that he does love to jump.
You're jumping ahead, which I do to.
You're probably anticipating his jump and going into jumping position when feet first leave the ground. What I have to do is make myself wait (it helps if you have someone knowledgeable count the strides down to where you should take off. If it's just a habit and not a lack of security in the saddle, just making yourself wait should help.
Let the horse close your hip angle and tell you when to go into jumping position.
Other things I noticed is that (someone correct me if I'm wrong) is that you are slightly ducking to the left in both photos and in the picture with poles you are looking down.
I don't know how to correct ducking but for the looking down, it helps to have something to focus on. Find something in the distance (like a tree) to focus your eyes on. Looking down is a problem because it shifts your balance to far forward.
I would also like to see your stirrup a fraction closer to your toe. It helps you really flex your ankle.
For your next critique, better photos would help. The first one is taken at a slight angle rather than directly on the side and is also very shadow-y and the second one is very far away and also at a bad angle. You can barely make out your heel in the first one.
I used to duck to my right side. The thing that helped me the most was just to be aware of it and have my instructor tell me when I would start to duck down so I could get out of that habit. Posted via Mobile Device
The first thing I noticed was that you are lucky your horse didn't stop or you would be riding the "invisible horse" over that jump. If you get your heels down your whole position will improve drastically. Concentrate on getting your leg around him, and wait for him to push you out of the saddle from your two point. Also, find a focal point and focus you eyes on that, you can't change what is going on underneath you. You should press your hands into your horse's crest (like you are doing a push up) to help with ducking, and imagine that you have a yard stick taped to your back to keep you back level.
I disagree with equinesalways, you should not fold down, that will incourage ducking, however if you think of the horse rising up to meet you, your hip angle will close.
Hope this helps, and if you get a good quality picture, you can send it in to Geoge Morris at Practical Horseman for the best critique ever, or just read his collumn.