Two Point Probs!
Some of you might remember me posting this last fall about having some jumping ahead/using the knee as a pivot issues. I've really improved, but I'm having a release problem. I don't release or give too small of a release but keep my position. However, if I try to release, I end up going back into a bad, too-forward position. How do I release and keep my seat? My horse is the type that gets crabby (understandably) if I don't release. He starts leaping over the jumps and ducks out - I had a nasty fall a few weeks ago because he ducked -- the lesson before was the first time I started to release a little better. He's doing great now, but I want to keep that up and be able to not knock him in the mouth.
Also, while we're here, I think part of my problem is that my lower legs and ankles tend to give out instead of holding me on. And my abs are just ridiculously lame. Exercise ideas to help strengthen these?
If anyone wants, I'll try to post a few videos of my latest rides tomorrow or Thursday when I get to faster Internet.
Hmm... I think if you practice "jumping position" at a walk, trot, and canter without jumping.. it'd help.
I've only taken one jumping lesson but that's how I kept from leaning forward too far.
Think about releasing with your elbows, put your elbows forward. This will train you to release with your whole arm instead of just trusting your hand forward, or trying to compensate for your lack of release with jumping ahead.
For now just do a crest release while grabbing mane. This way your hand will go forward enough, and you can think about your position without worrying about the horse's mouth. Practice over trot and canter poles in two point, and very small grids until you have the feel down before letting go of the mane and doing a regular crest release.
It is not just a matter of release over a fence but of learning to think of your upper arm as a strong piece of elastic that gives and takes all the time. You can practise this at a walk when the horse's head moves more than trot and canter.
As the horse moves so your elbows open and close. Once you have mastered this then you do the same over a fence, the horse takes the rein as it stretches, you keep a contact without pulling back allowing the horse to stretch but as it lands and the head comes back so the 'elastic' in your arm takes the rein back.
I positively hate the way people are taught to jump in the US! To get someone in the two point where they go into a fence, over and land in the same position is incorrect because the rider is not using their seat, there is no contact with a 'release' after a fence thus giving a horse a chance to duck out or refuse.
I often chuckle to myself when I see videos of US Hunter Jumper classes - those horses and riders would never last jumping any fence following hounds let alone if it was a drop fence!
One thing that helped me learn to release was to retrain my elbows to move independently of the rest of my upper body. It sounds silly, but most people lock their elbows and forget to use them as their own hinge. Pretty much all you do is canter around in half seat over the occasional ground pole. When you get a to ground pole, unlock your elbows and move just your hands forward to provide a release. Nothing else in your upper body changes. Just move your hands forward over the pole. Do it until it is automatic and ingrained in your muscle memory. If you want to add a second element, grab mane each time your provide your release since you will probably want to do that over real fences anyway.
Another thing you can do is picture riding on a merry-go-round with you holding the pole of the horse you're on. Shorten your reins and move your hands forward to that position and canter around in half seat like that. That will get you started toward the proper rein length for jumping. Most riders ride around with their reins too long between fences and then have to make a huge move over the fence to follow their horse. If your hands are already forward, all you have to do when jumping is soften your elbows and press your knuckles alongside your horse's neck over the fence. It's much more subtle and effective.
As for your jelly abs, pilates a few times a week will fix that.
Here's the video of my Handy Hunter class. Critique and let me know what's up with my two point please!
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