Need help with the release
Helping yourself learn to move your hands up the neck as the horse takes off is just a matter of practice, especially if you're secure in your lower leg. Try this: work around first at a walk and then the trot, fold into your jumping position and push your hands up the neck at the same time, hold it for one or two strides and then go back to you normal seat. Doing this over and over every couple of strides will help develop some muscle memory and will start to make things happen a little bit automatically. But it won't work if you just do it a couple of times. You'll need to work it into your warm up whenever you ride until you get good at it.
Another thing- the lower leg needs to be in the right place and strong with a heel well down. Practice riding in two point at walk and trot without touching the horse's neck. Challenge yourself by turning to look behind yourself, left and then right. If your horse is steady enough, knot the reins and let go of them with your arms out to the side. Once you become independent of the horse's neck your release will be easier. And I agree with who ever said neck straps and mane help. The thing that will ruin your horse fastest is banging into his back and pulling on his mouth. One more hint: know that this skill takes a while to develop, don't over think it in your mind so much that you paralyze yourself. Take time, practice, and it will come together. Good luck!
Last edited by Barbara Ellin Fox; 10-20-2011 at 12:08 AM.