Sorry It took me so long to come back and reply!
The only thing that works for me, and it's still sporadic, is to trot or canter over ground poles and tell yourself "release" when you get to the pole. Make it painfully obvious to offset the fact that you forget to release at all when actually jumping. It also helps with any predisposition to jumping ahead because you quickly find that you can keep your upper body still and extend just your arms forward to provide the release.
Thanks, I'll try that next time. Ground polls are a lot less scary so that might work well if I can get a good release over ground polls.
At this stage I imagine you're still practicing a long crest release. There's more to it then just throwing your hands forward so you don't hit your horse in the mouth. Make sure that your hands are actually pressed on your horse's crest and not floating in the air. And then think of it as following your horse's neck to the ground.
Also make sure that everything else is correct as well. Your leg position (esp stirrup length) and upper body angle particularly. That makes a difference more then anything else IMO.
Can you explain what a crest release is? My instructor says that my seat leg and 2 point are good, or she doesn't say they are bad anyway, I'll see if I can get someone to record me on tuesday and try to be brave enough to post them here. I'm jumping in a dressage saddle so that really doesn't help lol Maybe next lesson I'll use my friends a/p saddle.
You won't like this, but I think we should all be able to ride with direction and impulsion on a loose rein before jumping anything. The release is so that you:
1) don't balance on the mouth going over a jump
2) enable the horse to balance using his head and neck while jumping.
I think that riding all gaits without stirrups will give you security and the flow you need while jumping, so that you FEEL the motion, instead of relying on 2 point. I think it took me a long time to figure this one out. Ideally, we ride with the reins going over the jump as on the flat. Even George Morris, who practically invented the crest release, has regretted the invention.
I strongly recommend you read his book, "Hunter Seat Equitation." It's kindof a treatise on the subject.
I honestly had no intention of jumping, I'm only jumping because my instructor wants me to. She says jumping will help me build my core muscles so I'm better able to half seat while cantering. I'm not really very interest in jumping(although that could change since my TB loves to jump) My main focus is dressage, or will be once I find a dressage trainer!
He has regrets about the crest release because it is overused by ADVANCED riders. Instead of going on to the auto release they keep using the crest release. He constantly stresses the importance of a good crest release for beginners. First a long, then a short. In the last GM clinic that I did he taught the short crest release in the 3"6 class (full of people showing succesfully on the rated circuit at 3"6 and above). He didn't even address the auto release until his 4" jumper class which had several grand prix level riders in it. From what it sounds this poster needs to solidify a good crest release before moving on.
What is an auto release vs. a crest release? Do you have any pics to show the difference? I don't know anything about jumping and my instructor just has me going over jumps. She hasn't explained long or short crest releases or auto releases.
Mane and neckstraps are lifesavers in situations like this. When I jump competitively I *generally* use an auto release (except for those horrible photos of me going 'uh oh!' and doing a bad example of a crest release) however at home, especially through grids and related lines my instructor has me hold a neckstrap or the strap of my breastplate. This keeps me out of my horses way through the exercises and stops me jumping ahead and over-riding the jumps. Don't discount grabbing the mane either, trust me, even higher level riders do it when something goes awry
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the lesson horse I ride doesn't have a breast plate or anything, but wouldn't that strap be really close to the saddle and be difficult to release while holding? I have a running martingale on my TB but I don't jump her because she is way to much horse for me to jump. My last lesson I didn't even bother to not try and grab mane and just relied on doing so, it did help but If I start jumping my horse, I don't trust her enough to grab mane. In the end of july I was cantering her in an unfamiliar ring(the neighbors out door) and she got excited and didn't want to stop, I started loosing my balance and tried to grab mane to stabilize myself but I think she threw her head down and turned right when I did that causing me to fly off her left side.