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Passion4Horses 12-28-2011 05:26 PM

Losing balance after jumps
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I have been jumping for a little over a month and the jumps are about 18"-2ft. I previously had a problem with jumping for the horse but that is much better now. What I am struggling with now is losing my balance after the jump. I fall on her neck and sometimes even feel like I am going to fall off. I try to keep my heels down but they find a way to come up everytime.

Help/advice please! I really want to start cantering the jumps and improve but that is kinda hard when I am all over the place after we land!

LoveTheSaddlebreds 12-29-2011 10:37 AM

You don't have good balance jumping and are relying far too much on your upper body to keep you up over the jump. I had the same problem when I started jumping. Practice doing all three gaits in two point on a lunge line (someone lunging you, of course) and practice without reins. Put your arms to the side like an airplane and keep yourself up solely using your legs. If you feel yourself standing in the stirrups and relying far too much on them to keep you up, drop them and practice this exercise stirrupless. Then, you can have whoever is lunging set up a small crossrail and lunge you over. (with stirrups if you're uncomforable jumping stirrupless) Make sure your arms are out to the sides so you don't touch the horse's neck. This will help you find your balance, and stop using the horse's neck to jump.
Hope that helps!

MIEventer 12-29-2011 12:23 PM

You really need to work on stabilizing your lower leg. Very important. With a solidified lower leg, you will beable to stay balanced.

Firstly, you have to stop thinking about "heels down" and start thinking "Weight in heels". It isn't about shoving your heels down, that will get you no where - as you clearly stated, you lose your lower leg regardless. You have to re-distribute your body from head to toe first, before you see a change.

Starting with the first puzzle piece, you have to ensure that your feet are in your irons correctly. The base of the iron should be at the balls of your toes, then place the outter bar at the tip of your pinky toe, and the inner bar at the ball of your big toe. So the iron is at an angle. This way, you will allow your ankles to soften and flex and act like hinges.

The next puzzle piece is to ensure that your leathers are at the correct length. I cannot remember the exact knee angle you should have....I believe it is around a 40 to a 45 degree angle...correct me if I am wrong...this way, you can use your irons accordingly, so that when you are going over the fence, you aren't reaching for your toes and are allowing your heels and ankles to do their job.

Another puzzle piece is to allow your heels to do their job, which is anchor you. This is the key factor here, as I stated, it is about weight in heels. Allow your bodies weight to naturally flow from your head, down into your seat, and from there, down into your heels. You must allow that weight flow to occur, by opening your knees. Don't block that flow, allow it to occur. The moment you block, you destroy that flow and you prevent your heels from anchoring you into your tack.

Now that a picture is starting to form, the next puzzle piece to add, is proper calf placement on your horses side. You have to find your sweet spot. You don't want to use the inside of your calf, nor do you want to use the back of your calf, you want to find that in-between spot.

As George Morris says, you are wrapped around your horse, not just ontop. Proper foot placement in iron, correct leather length, open up your knees, allow heels to absorb bodies weight, proper calf placement on horses side, and wrap your lower leg around your horses girth.

Now, you have a correctly working lower leg - it's up to you to solidify it and strengthen it. TONS of Two Point Work, getting your seat slightly out of your tack, staying off of your horses back correctly - muscle memory. Staying balanced over your feet.

You can jump anything, if you have a solid lower leg.

gypsygirl 12-29-2011 04:29 PM

knee angle should be between 90 and 110 degrees while you are seated in the saddle.

leoandlivvy 12-29-2011 05:22 PM

i used to have trouble with this aswell, i hear ya! the thing that helped me the most was learning position. no matter how small the jump is, it's always good practise to go up in 2 point. when you land ALWAYS remember to lean back. this way the impact of hitting the ground will not jolt you out of the saddle, dig your heels right down and sit back straight like a soldier. this will also make it much easier for the horse to land lighter because the weight is distributed. if you want, really exagerate this position when coming down. even though it may look silly it does a hell of alot of good! my pony club instructor made me do this and after about 2-3 lessons i wasn't losing my balance at all! really concentrate on distributing weight as this will make your jump as comfortable as possible therefore not knocking you out.

hope this helps! happy riding. xx

MIEventer 12-30-2011 11:44 PM


Originally Posted by gypsygirl (Post 1285047)
knee angle should be between 90 and 110 degrees while you are seated in the saddle.

that's it!

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