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eventnwithwinston 03-19-2009 09:45 PM

Jumping Postition exercises
Hi all! I have a quick question whose answers will not only benefit me, but the other jumpers on this forum.

I tend to jump ahead of my horse and stand up in the stirrups. This is a REALLY bad habit of mine that I would love to fix. Soo...heres my question...

Are there any exercise or little things you do to help keep your butt close to the seat of the saddle instead of jumping ahead?

Thanks for your time.

Pinto Pony 03-19-2009 10:05 PM

Have someone lunge you so you are not hanging onto any reins and really find your centre of balance. If you are jumping and just standing in your stirrups chances are you are either relying on the reins or horses neck to help support you. Do this at a walk, trot, then canter and then put a pole in there and then a small cross rail etc working your way to a small vertical with no reins. Also making a chute where you can tie your reins and let them go as you approach using your legs and seat to drive your horse through and spread out your arms to the sides so you must rely on your centre of balance and core strength to stop falling forward.

eventnwithwinston 03-19-2009 10:10 PM

Thanks! I have done quite a bit of no reins work, and I have been complimented lots on soft hands... but its kind of hard to do no rein work on a young OTTB that still gets a little quick.
I do need to work on finding my center of balance though. Any other tips on keeping my bottom down. Its more that than me standing in my stirrups...

Equuestriaan 03-20-2009 07:58 AM

My friend who takes lessons at a different barn gave me a tip once that helped HUGELY. When you go over the jump, think about pushing your feet *forward.* It may feel awkward at first but I promise it will help you get your bum back and your upper body in the proper position. =) Good luck!

koomy56 03-20-2009 09:41 AM

Just think to bend at your hip more. You can't keep your butt in the saddle, or push it back, if you are not allowing your hip to bend accordingly. :)
Alot of people want to break at the waist, and that makes a brace of your body and habits like these sometimes form
Walk around practicing keeping your leg the same, your back still straight, but in a bit of a two point. Grab mane if it helps steady you, and see how far you can lean down like you were going to put your chest on your horse's neck. Only bend at the hips. Allow your butt to come back, and remain seated. Notice what it does. Do you feel like you fall forward when you lean down? If so, bring your feet a smidge forward, and feel the weight a little more in your heel. Do not brace off of the ball of your foot.
Can you lean down, come back up, without your lower leg losing position? If your leg falls back when you lean down, don't pinch with your knees, and think to just bend at the hip, seat pushed back.
You should be able to lean down, like you were going to give your horse a hug around the neck, and sit back up without your leg position changing, or your balance changing. To allow you farther down, your butt will scoot back.
Hope that helps ya. :)

IrishRider 03-20-2009 10:50 AM

If you are standing up in your stirrups they should probably be shortened a hole or two. That will give you a better base of support and allow you to sink into your heel more. You'll see a difference just by doing that, as well as following the other advice of the posters.

eventnwithwinston 03-20-2009 02:47 PM

Thanks so much for the tips everyone! I am def. going to take into consideration the leaning exercise you explained Koomy. And equestrian, I will try to concentrate more on my leg and its effects on my hiney now that you mention it.

By standing up in the stirrups, I dont mean that literally.... its just kind of what my position tends to look like when I jump ahead. Thanks for pointing that out, but I have already checked my stirrups and they are short enough for jumping. I really do think it has to with where I place my leg and bending at my hip.

I was reading an article, and it said something about placing a large, dry, body sponge in between your butt and saddle while you are in two-point. You have to focus on bending at your hip and keeping the sponge in between you bottom and the saddle seat.
Do you think this would also work?

Thanks for everyones help! :) The more responses the merrier lol.

Equuestriaan 03-20-2009 03:20 PM

The sponge idea sounds great!
If you can get any pictures of you jumping, we can help you more. =)

MIEventer 03-20-2009 08:57 PM

I sincerely hope you aren't going over CC fences like this. CC is a sport that demands respect, solidity and correct riding.

I firmly believe that if you cannot ride a stadium fence appropriately with solid form, you have no business out on the CC course. For your safety, your horses safety and for the respect of those fences.

On that note, I give you credit for coming forth and asking for help and advice with this issue that MANY have - you're not the only one with this issue, and it is due to holes in their training.

It takes a rider who can awknowledge their errors, see their errors and want to correct them. For that, be proud of yourself.

There are a multitude of sins that creates a rider who jumps ahead and stands up in their irons.

- Incorrect Leather Length
- Incorrect foot placement in iron
- Anticipating the fence
- Not riding their horse, but riding the fence
- Lack of security in tack, knee pinching, incorrect gripping
- Weakness in lower leg
- Not riding horses rhythm correctly to the base of the fence.
- No core strength.

First, I would ensure that your leathers are at the correct length and that your irons are placed correctly on your foot. There should be a 110 degree angle in your knees and the irons should be at the ball of your toes - where the outside bar is on your pinky toe and the inner is on the ball of your big toe.

Then, I'd put you on the lunge line. If you have someone who has a very good eye and is knowledgeable who knows what to see and look for, who can work with you - then fabulous.

Reinless work - this develops your seat and your balance. You learn to re-establish your weight in your lower leg, heels and seat. You find your center, and you find your body parts that should be working for you, instead of those you tend to rely on when you shouldn't be. If you do this correctly - you can aid in curing your bad habits.

I would have you going over trot poles - having you focus on your horses rhythm and where your lower leg should be at all times - at the girth. I would have you focus on not pinching with your knees and focus on wrapping your lower leg around your horses girth. Heels deep, legs locked and wrapped. Remember, you are not ontop of your horse - you are around your horse.

I would have you start at the trot, and have you work at bending at the hips, and sinking through your knees and heels when you go over each pole. I would have you looking up, relying on feeling your horses movement and rhythm.

Learn to ride your horse - not the fence.

Then I would have you merge into the canter when you master staying solid in your tack and remaining with your horse while at the trot.

At the canter, same thing. Nothing different, just different movement and rhythm. Work on leg placement, heels, sinking in knees and bending at the hips.....BUT.......this has to be done with your horses motion.

I would have you focus on what is beyond the trot pole, and your horse...who is the most important factor here. You must learn to ride with your horses motion and remain balanced over his center of gravity.

Solid lower leg at girth. Correct placement of iron. No pinching or gripping. Allowing knees and hips to do their job. Remaining with horses motion and allowing horse to lift you out of your tack.

If you can do that over trot poles, I would then merge you to cavaletti's.

You must learn to ride your horse, not the fence. You have to learn to ride your horse correctly to the base with impulsion, control, rhythm and collection. You must learn to trust your horse to get his job done, without you interfearing.

You have to beable to remain solid through your heels, inner calf, lower leg and seat. Learn to wrap yourself around your horses girth, seat in tack with upper body just slightly infront of the verticle. You have to learn to remain with your horse allowing him to lift you out of your tack and closing the angle - all this, on the lunge line.

Stop focusing on the fence. Stop anticipating the fence. Stop looking at the fence - focus on who is the most important factor to this equation...your horse. Learn to trust your horse, learn to ride his movemnt and rhythm.

Also, work on lots of 2 point work - solidifying and strengthening that lower leg. I do lots of hacking, and majority of the time during this, I do 2 point work with my legs stuck at the girth and wrapped around. My seat pushed back towards the cantle and working on my core strength by tightening and relaxing my abs.

Fill the holes in your training.

Nothing wrong with these exercises - I do these exercises on a regular basis.

I would love to see pictures of you going over fences to get a better idea as to what is going on - or even video footage.

eventnwithwinston 03-20-2009 09:11 PM

That was very very very helpful!
I can ensure, that my stirrups are the correct length, and I can also tell you that I have a great trainer who is very reputable.
I don't do this all the time, I think it is generally on fences I think too much about...and like you said, I anticipate them.
I have done some no reins exercises and jumping over small fences with no reins, but not on my new horse. He is a young OTTB and still gets quick. Sometimes he is obnoxious and decides to canter the trot poles before the X, a habit that is thankfully going away haha :P.
I would post pictures... but this isnt the critique forum, just a helpful jumping one. I might post some pictures later in the critique section.

Tomorrow when I go riding, I am going to take everything everyone said into consideration. Thankgoodness I am only jumping small on Winston anyway, so I can focus more on my seat, legs, and staying with the horse. I will be doing some video taping at the I will try and post some of that for critique too.

Thanks again for all of your help!! :)

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