Just can't get the rhythm down?
So i have been ridding for 4 years only it's only been once a week so I don't get to ride that often. I'd say I'm a pretty good rider. I can walk trot canter and I do do jumps. (Only cross rails) I have never had a lot of work on jumps and even though I can do a decent jump I often find it hard to get the rhythm down,
unfortunately I got into the habit of looking down. The issue is the more i focus on keeping my eyes up the harder i find it to get everything else. If I focus on eyes up sometimes i forget to ask or if i focus on eyes up and think hard about asking i find my timing on getting up to be off. I have a hard time keeping track of all of that and just havn't been able to get a good rhythm down every single time. Especially when we go a few weeks without jumping.
When we were doing it every week it got slightly better but we haven't been able to do much this summer so im kind of sloppy. Don't get me wrong I can jump it just gets a little sloppy at times. Im going to be starting a lease so i will be actually able to ride and practice more than once a week, so what im looking for is tips on how to get that rhythm down better.
Grids will help. Set two or three crossrails up one or two strides apart. If you are riding a horse who is a champ at these then you can really get into the rythem of them and it gets really fun and really helps both position and confedence.
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I typed out this big, long reply... and then realized it wouldn't help you. What you need to do is RELAX. It sounds like you're over-thinking things!
Get into a nice, even trot or canter when you're approaching the jumps. Do you listen to music? Think of how there's a basic beat to every song. Tap your toes to some songs and get the feel of the rhythm. It's the same thing with riding--think about keeping each stride the same as the last one. Count in your head--one-two-one-two-one-two, etc. Same with going over jumps--yes, jumps from a trot approach can be awkward at times, but once you know what to expect, you'll feel a rhythm to jumping too. Like the previous poster mentioned, gymnastics are great exercises that will help you find your rhythm over the fences too.
Anyway, don't worry about anything except keeping that steady pace as you ride to the jump, and once you're at the base of the jump worry about getting over safely. You want a basic jump position that is well-balanced. To do this, keep your weight in your heels and let the horse's jump push you out of your saddle. Close your hip angle slightly, and try to use your horse's neck for balance as little as possible, though feel free to grab mane if you need it, especially as you're learning.
After you master the rhythm and balance, the rest are just details. Piece by piece, you can work on fixing the other issues and continue to improve!
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