I've been riding and jumping a lot this summer, and I'd like to take the chance to improve my equitation and jumping. I've been self-critiquing a lot and trying to improve what I notice wrong, but after a certain point I think it would be more helpful to have other people's input. I'm probably doing my first rated show later this summer and I'd like to know what to work on before then.
There are several things I know I need to improve (like looking up before and after the fence) but for the most part I'll just leave the criticism to you guys! At the end of the video I put a few slow motion clips because I know there's something wrong with my jumping position but I'm just not sure what to do differently to make it better. Any exercises/suggestions to help improve the things I need to work on are loved too!
There are several different horses in the video, but as I'm sure you'll notice, I cannot keep my leg still over the jumps on the dark bay. All of the others I don't have much of a problem with it, but on AJ my leg swings back no matter how much I concentrate on keeping it still! Does anyone know why this may be or how I can prevent it?
Today I was trying to work on not falling back so soon over the jump, I think that's one of my problems? I have a video from today that I will put up later once it's done uploading.
Here's the video from today.
One thing I noticed is that on the chestnut you tend to tense up with your elbows about one or two strides from the jump. You don't do it to every jump, just when there's an unsure distance coming up. Rather than grabbing with both of your hands and not allowing your elbow to move with the chestnut try working on a simple half halt every time the mane raises off of his neck in the canter while going through the turn and towards the jump and then the distance will come up a little nicer and your elbows will be softer.
As for being on the bay and your leg slipping back...my guess is that he's just a bigger horse and has a rounder jump than the other horses in here so your leg just slips back a little further. To work on it practice going to your jump in your two-point and trying to stay in the exact same position over the jump as you were going towards it.
Hope that helps!!! Good luck in your horse show!!!
great riding ! you look really good over all !
whats happening in the slowed down portions, is that youre jumping ahead. if you jump ahead on take off you are also going to be coming back in the saddle too soon on landing. in a lot of the video you are very good and keeping your upper body still and waiting for the horse to jump up to you - yay ! so you know how to keep still, just sometimes you dont. know you just have to focus before the jump on not tensing your arms [like jumpergurl said] and not jumping ahead.
Thank you both! I didn't know about the elbow thing, but now that I think about it I can see where I do that a lot, especially on the palomino pony... Since I'm riding her this morning that's something to work on!
Riding to the jump in two point was sort of what I was doing in the second video (Alton it was on the chestnut, not the bay) and I felt like my two-point was a little smoother. So I'll keep working on that and not jumping ahead.
Thank you both again!
I think you also need to go a little lower?
I mean, with your back/2-point not the jump height**
Congrats on being so proactive towards your riding! I'm jealous of the fact that you get to ride all of these horses, and it will help your riding a ton! That said, let me throw in my two cents here. Overall your position is quite solid. (except for on the bay) Everything I'm trying to get at here is a bit nit-picky, but it's just things to focus on for the future.
On most of the horses I'd like to see a bit more of an elastic elbow connection, if you know what I"m trying to get at. That should allow you to have your upper body even quieter, sometimes you get a little "rocking" with the motion of the horse. If you follow with your elbows you can also give more effective half-halts, the subtlest of which would just be stopping the following motion of your hands. Especially on the chestnut horse your elbows tended to get a bit straight. This inhibits the give and take action by locking the joint in an immobile place. To work on this: Focus on letting your upper arm hang loose right next to your body. Your elbows should almost be below your shoulders. You can also ride with a crop in front of your elbows and behind your back, if that makes sense, to get the feel of where your arms need to be.
Perhaps this is just a pet peeve of mine, but when you're not jumping I'm not completely sure what you're doing. Are you riding in two point/half seat, or are you trying to sit in the saddle? I'm not a hunter, so I don't know how you ride around, but as an Eventer there's a clear difference between the two positions. I generally ride around the course in half seat, and then sit in the saddle 3-4 strides out to re-balance my horse. I might just not understand how H/J's ride, but to me it kind of just looks like you're bouncing up and down sometimes. Not all of the time, but a little it here and there.
Reading this section after I've written it, my lack of understanding of H/J might make this completely irrelevant, I'd love it if someone let me know.
Sometimes when you approach the fence you duck very slightly with your shoulders. It's not on every fence, and it's quite a subtle thing, but it is there occasionally. To help remedy this, I love using grids. Grids allow you to not only feel the rhythm of jumps, but focus on your position. I also like to use placing poles 9 ft out from a jump which rides like a bounce. Then you can mentally say to yourself that until you get to that placing pole you are not allowed to think about moving forward for the jump.
As far as your leg goes, it's not bad. The main thing that I would focus on is getting your weight down into your heels. Sometimes you almost get standing up on your toes, and I suspect this is the base of your problems on the bay horse. Really focus on wrapping your legs around the horse. I heard a great skiing analogy once, if you've ever downhill skied you might want to think about this. When you're skiing your ankles are strapped down to the ski. Do you know how those muscles on the back of your calf are always being pulled and can get really sore? That's how your legs should feel when you're riding. All of your weight should sink below the stirrup and not be pushed down on to the stirrup. You should also turn your toes out slightly to allow you to grip with the whole of your leg. I sometimes find it helps to think of clicking my heels together underneath my horse's belly. A lot of two point and no stirrups work will really help you strengthen your core and legs.
Overall your position is quite good, your head upper body in general look lovely. Your releases are adequate, and efficient. You seem to get the horses to good spots, and ride with a nice pace. Good luck this summer and keep up the good work!
Thank you so much for such a detailed response, letting me know what I need to work on and ways to do it! I know relaxing my elbow is something I need to work on, but somehow I always manage to forget it as soon as I'm actually on course. I think I will try the crop behind my back, thank you for the suggestion!
No, that makes sense, and you're right. In the second video I was riding the entire course in two point because I was trying to get a steadier position over the jumps. In the first video I'm really not sure what I was doing, I think I might have been trying to ride a little lighter in the saddle but I forgot a lot so just sort of bounced around pointlessly. I think I've improved some in that since this video was taken.
I really need to work on getting my weight into my heels, I rode a new horse today who was a bit like the bay but jumped even bigger, and it was just a disaster with me getting jumped loose over every jump. I'm supposed to ride him again sometime soon so hopefully some work before then will make this second time better!
I'll definitely try some grid work and two point/no stirrup exercises when I go ride tomorrow. Thank you again for all of your advice and suggestions, it's much appreciated!
Okay so you land on the horses neck and dont support yourself with your leg. You have to sit up and get out of the horses face when you land so they dont freak and so they canter away smoothly. also you have trouble turning the horse try leaning into your outside stirrup and opening your outside hand while pulling your inside rein.
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