So I have been riding for about 7 years. I can jump 3'6 and have been working on that height for almost a year. The other day my coach ask me to work with a new lesson horse in my lesson instead of my own horse. I agreed and she said it wouldn't take long to start jumping my normal height but I would have to start small so I did. And my position was horrible. For some reason my body wants to have a good position on the take off and then throw my shoulders forward, tuck my pelvis under and straighten my arms when were landing. Why do I do this? I can have perfect position over bigger jumps but when I tried a small easy cross rail my position just failed. How do I fix it? Also I didn't have the saddle I was used to and the stirrups were a bit to long that's why my legs are too forward I know that because we worked on flat and I couldn't keep my heels completely down unless they looked like that. Is my stirrup leathers the problem? Because they shift my leg position? Anyways, any advice would be good!!
Go back to riding in 2-point. Start with trotting. 5 steps up in 2-point, 5 sitting, repeat until perfect. Add in trot-poles. Go up in 2-point only over the poles, then hold 2-point across the whole series. Then add in cross-rails. you don't get to trow yourself over the horse or really change position int he cross-rails. Just get in that 2-point and let the horse come to you.
I think it's as simple as, you're expecting air time and instead getting a horse who's front legs are already back on the ground before the hind legs have even left. As someone who has recently started jumping real jumps where you get actual hang time, I realize it is actually much easier to do than the lower stuff. It takes that extra second or two to get over a bigger fences which translates into having all day to wait for the horse to jump, and then set yourself up for a proper landing. I have zero advise for you other than to do nothing. Over the tiny stuff, just close your legs and release.
I agree with MyBoyPuck, as I usually do!! Lol I actually have a very similar problem, except I just over exaggerate the 2 point over the little stuff. I'm used to needing a bigger release, and a little more movement in my body because if I didn't, Id be hindering Cowboy. When you go back to little stuff, your muscle memory gets confused. It's almost as if your muscles say "well we always do this and it works so well, why should we change?"
My trainer just says to just get used to going back and forth. In my case, she says to tell myself "don't move at all," just like you would tell a novice that was doing Grand Prix releases over 18" :p a little demeaning, but it works, so I'm not complaining!! Practice, practice, practice!
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I also agree with the others. If you look at photos of some top jumper riders doing small jumps, some of them have absolutely terrible positions. Reed Kessler comes to mind--in a photo of her jumping a 2'-ish fence a while back, she's up on her horse's neck and way out of the saddle. But I wouldn't fault her for that because she's used to jumping 4'+ these days, and when you get to the Grand Prix level you have no choice BUT to come way out of the saddle. I still think she's a fabulous rider.
Just get out of the horse's way and relax. You should be fine. :)
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