Need some input on how to improve
So I've finally started to make some progress on my jumping with the help of a fantastic instructor. I'm financially challenged, so I can only do one lesson a month. She gives me plenty of homework to do between lessons, but I feel like I have some overall strength holes that I want to work on. For example, today I attempted to trot around in half seat without reins. I quickly realized I am not strong enough to hold the position for more than a few strides at a time. Luckily my horse is a saint and was content to trot around while I worked on it. It was easier at canter, but I feel like I should be stronger all the way around. I'd love to just borrow a younger body that could build more muscle mass more quickly, but that ain't going to happen.
If you were to devise a checklist of what a rider should be able to do to be considered "good to go for jumping", what would it be? I really want to get up to BN this year, and want all the correct foundation in place.
Be able to W/T/C without stirrups.
Same without reins.
Jump without stirrups. (small stuff in my case)
Someone suggested being able to stand straight up at all 3 gaits, but I'm thinking that one's about balance which is already my strong point.
Thoughts? It's funny. Part of me thinks I have 4 whole months to work on it, and the other part of me panics that I only have 4 months to work on it.
Well you've already identified your weak points. :wink:
Being able to make it around the ring a couple of times in a half seat at ALL gaits should be on your list. Being able to make it around the ring a couple of times in your two point at all gaits should also be on that list.
The standing straight up in your stirrups can also be to help stretch out your lower leg, I do it every time I get on to stretch out the muscles and tendons at the back of my leg and find I then have an easier time keeping my heel down and leg secure.
a goal is always good =]
what i would do is take the first 10-15 minutes of your ride and do it all in 2pt. no cheating ! w/t/c, everything in 2pt. every time you ride. you will notice a huge difference in your strength.
I guess my problem is, obviously I've been cheating somewhere in my two point. Once I took my hands off my horse's neck for support, I could no longer hold the position. When I found the "sweet spot" where I could balance on my own, my calves really let out a scream. When you guys warm up in two point, do you balance on your horse or throw the reins away and balance on your own? I see plenty of riding stretching their heels, but they're always leaning on the neck with their upper bodies.
*Canter, with and without stirrups, half-seat and full seat. (Or whatever you call a "normal" canter seat).
*A solid two-point. (More or less correct regarding equitation, pretty stable, should be able to hold for a while).
*Able to get over ground-poles with no issues, both trot and canter.
You should probably build up your two-point before trying to jump without stirrups.
Standing straight up, in my opinion, is balance and strength.
i throw the reins away at her, very very long reins to make sure im not balancing on them ! one thing you can also do is every minute or couple minutes i like to orient myself by grabbing a little mane in one hand, just to make sure my upper body has stayed in the same position and my leg hasnt moved back on the saddle. just grab it for a few seconds then let go.
haha hope that makes sense !!
also, doing lots of up and down transitions while in your two pt will really strengthen your core and thighs !
My students aren't allowed to canter until they can do a posting trot without stirrups for a lap around the ring (and have an overall good position). They aren't allowed to jump until they canter AND steer well at the canter without stirrups. I'm kind of strict and conservative about it though. ;) They can't jump a line until they are somewhat steady with a single. Basically, they can't move forward until they're secure and steady at the level they are right now, and capable of doing lateral exercises that are suitable for their level. And I don't use shows as a real test of what level they are (too many variables) but if they are consistently placing last (or not at all) in classes that aren't too competitive I don't usually move them up. Then again, I've had some kids who win every class and I still won't move them up if I don't think they're ready... That's my general checklist but it's not black and white. I have a kid now who has a very "pretty" position and is somewhat secure, but she is not effective so I haven't moved her up. Where as I have another kid who has some positional flaws but is making progress and is quite good, so I have allowed her to jump a little higher.
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