Dressage rider to Hunter/Jumper riding - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 12-17-2010, 10:14 AM Thread Starter
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Dressage rider to Hunter/Jumper riding

I started off my riding career with dressage (6-7 years) but for the last couple of years I have been trying jumping, as well as implementing my dressage background into my jumping (i.e. training my pony). Anyway, I have recently started taking lessons at an intense hunter/jumper stable and I have a bit of a hard time to switch from dressage style of riding to hunter/jumper equitation. Also, I have ridden ponies pretty much my entire life and am now riding horses (which I want to do). Does anyone have any tips how my riding can change for horses? Or if it just takes time to adapt to the new size/striding/jump. My coach is really good but I feel like I am not able to show him my true riding ability, because I have to change so much when I switch riding styles.

All I pay my psychiatrist is the cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day. --unknown author
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post #2 of 6 Old 12-17-2010, 08:06 PM
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I can't really help you with the hunter/jumper stuff, but I know how it feels to go from ponies to horses (I do it regularly, since my horse is 14 hh and I also routinely ride 16 hh+ horses) and it just takes a little bit of time to adjust. It's gotten to where I can easily switch back and forth from ponies to horses, but when I first went from riding my pony to a 17 hh warmblood it felt so weird. You'll get used to it!

"Always be yourself. Unless you can be a unicorn. Then, always be a unicorn."
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post #3 of 6 Old 12-19-2010, 01:50 PM
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I am doing some dressage now, and I have done hunter/jumper my whole riding career, it's just taking time to adjust, I would say that's what you just need to keep in mind there. I used to show horses and ponies at the same shows so going from mediums and larges to my big horse, getting used to the new stride is the biggest thing and getting your balance on a horse compared to a pony. The more you can ride the easier it will get! Good luck!
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post #4 of 6 Old 12-19-2010, 09:06 PM
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That's great you're trying out a new discipline! I imagine switching from dressage to jumping is difficult but definitely not impossible! First I would try and understand the WHY's of a jumper's position. For me, the theory behind it helps me to learn the correct way to do it. Hunter Jumper Equitation by George Morris is excellent because he spends so much time (almost the entire book) explaining where every part of your body goes and why. Remember that form fits function. If you do hunters, you want to be able to move with your horse over his natural center of gravity, which means you'll be much more forward with your upper body and ride much less with your seat with very little (or no) collection.

But the main difference is your leg.
1) Must be short enough to allow your body to lift out of the saddle.
2) Must have the right angles to be able to absorb shock.
3) Must be balanced/strong so you can be secure in the air.

Having a correct leg can cover a multitude of sins. :)

Mentally, think of it as letting the horse do its job. You have to direct and correct when needed but the goal is the tell the horse what to do and then let it alone. I know quite a few hunters and jumpers who absolutely hate nit picker riders!

This will just take time. So practice your new position as much as you can, try to understand the whys, and have fun while you're learning!
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post #5 of 6 Old 12-19-2010, 09:12 PM
Green Broke
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as far as switching from ponies to horses... I rode almost exclusively ponies for years! (yes, I am an adult!) the past few years my friends have finally talked me into doing more jumpers then hunters and I've found myself on horses again. Wow, does that feel different! i think it's time and experience more then anything else. the hardest thing is 1) figuring out where your balance is on something bigger, 2) using slightly different leg muscles since your leg is in a wider position, 3) getting used to what the correct speed/stride is on something so big. Don't worry, you'll get the hang of it! Have fun while you do!
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post #6 of 6 Old 12-20-2010, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Ontario
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Thanks for all the advice so far!!!! I rode (and may continue riding, outside of lessons) a throughbred gelding that's a bit green...and not worked enough. He bucked me off the first minute i got on him because he was extremley "fresh" but after lunging him, with my coach's help, I did some trot/canter work on him and he was pretty good, after we worked out some small issue (mainly him testing me to see if he could get away with cutting corners, leaning, etc.). He has a very large sride, and I can't jump him yet, since he needs to be worked consistently and I need to be more comfortable o/f first. However, I think we may actually get on well together, meaning I can perfect my flat hunter equation when I ride him outside of lessons, and than do my over fences work/training on a reliable (slow... :P) mare during lessons. Hopefully I will be able to adjust, I just need to also get rid of some "pony riding" habits I have developed.

All I pay my psychiatrist is the cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day. --unknown author
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