Originally Posted by PaintsPwn
No, I've done plenty of flat works under dressage instructors and trainers. The concepts I don't understand are basically release and how to actually execute a jump. Do I sit in the saddle and wait for the horse to go up, or do I just put my weight in the stirrups and lift my seat when I feel his front legs lifting. Like I said, I'm self taught over fences, and no one around here does jumping so it's trying.
Ahh...What you're looking for is a half seat. Not quite sitting, but no real daylight under your bum either. To practice a half seat, simply pick up your canter and imagine that someone is tugging on your heels. If the imagery makes sense to the way you learn, the result will be your hip angle opening slightly, and your seat will become lighter in the saddle. You'll basically be ever so slightly standing up. This position, also referred to as three point, lets you stay close to the saddle but free to your horse's back up to execute a jump. To practice this, canter over some ground poles and do the exercise until your position stays solid over the poles no matter how your horse goes over them. To keep your position solid, concentrate on absorbing your horse's motion with your knees and lower leg. When jumping, everything from the hips down become shock absorbers. Once you have it down over poles, do it over a straight line of cross rails set up for your horse's canter stride. Same idea, your job is to let your horse do the jumping part and just absorb his motion with your body. You upper body position does not change for the most part, but you do have to stay soft and supple in order to absorb the motion.
While some would tell you never to jump without an instructor, if there's nobody to teach you in your area, you gotta do what you gotta do. The trick is to keep things simple and not move up until you feel rock solid in what you're already doing. There's a $20 book called 101 Jumpine Exercises that sounds like it will help you out a lot. Have fun and stay safe!