Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Alberta, Canada
• Horses: 0
If you're using a running martingale to create more contact, it's adjusted way too tight. The rings should reach the top of the wither or into the jowl of a horse with its head relaxed. The RM should only ever become engaged when the horse tosses his head up and back, it's to help prevent one's nose from getting smashed.
Do you have a video? What is you flat routine like? What do you school on the flat? Do you know how to half halt? Are you working with a coach?
My best guess is that you're freezing up and not riding to the base of the fence. Very easy for a horse to start to rush and take advantage. Your job is to learn how to become an effective rider to the base of the fence, stay balanced through the jump and regain control on the landing side.
Here are some exercises to try:
- circles are your best friend. You shouldn't be showing if you can't school at home in a controlled manner, so don't worry about that right now. Circles. Horse locks on a jump? Circle. Half halt in the circle and work some counter and true bend into it. Do some shoulder fore or haunches in/out. Circle until you have a nice pace, then proceed to the jump, circle after it.
- Do 1-4 jumps (this works very well with cavaletti) on a 20-m circle, equidistant from one another. Adjust your striding between them - challenge yourself to get 7 strides in, and 4, and remember to work your track to get the striding. Circle in and out of those jumps. This is an excellent exercise no matter what level you're at or what kind of horse you have - it's strangely difficult.
- set up a few canter poles in front of the jump and a landing pole. This will require him to think about each stride in and out.
- work on your halt. Halt a few strides out, and make it clear from much further out that it's your intention. Stand still and praise. Take the fence without taking him off of it.
- jump, halt ( only a few strides out), turn on forehand or haunches, jump the same fence going the other way, halt, turn on forehand or haunches, jump, halt, rinse repeat.
- don't make your courses predictable. Got a simple outside line and diagonal course set out? Use the jumps to create some more complex turns so that you are making the horse think.
- use your corners/turns to rebalance. Do a half halt into a shoulder in, make the horse work around the turn.
For the rider:
- jelly elbows. You need to be able to follow and stay in motion. If you freeze up, your elbows aren't moving and the rest of you isn't moving. Keep you elbows flexible.
- keep your abs engaged, draw yourself up through your belly button. First step when going from a walk on a loose rein to being on contact is tightening your core. Keep tension in your core.
- keep weight through the back of the calf, ensure you have a strong base of support without pinching your knee.
Video would be immensely helpful to see what's going on.
The lovely images above provided by CVLC Photography cvlphotography.com