So I'm trying to fix my habit of jumping ahead and am sitting deep and tall approaching the fences, which does the trick as far as waiting goes. And I keep getting left behind... Are there any exercises that you guys would recommend? (Besides lessons, I will be getting lessons.) I know what I want myself to look like in my head, but just getting it in the split second that we're in the air is super hard. We're only jumping things under 2 feet right now since we're not taking jump lessons at the moment. Sometimes I feel like I don't have time to set myself up. We're only trotting the jumps, and we're working on a nice steady pace.
Also, I only jump him once a week, but am thinking I need to practice some two-point in the walk, trot, canter, just for strengthening purposes. So I'm definitely going to start doing that. But anything else? Even over the little stuff Zu has a powerful jump. So maybe that's it? I've also been trying to work on cuing him when to jump. If left to his own devices he'll take off long. The sitting tall, half-halt before the jump, and waiting seems to help and I don't FEEL like we're taking off early, but I'm still getting left behind. Not terribly, I'm not slamming on his back or anything, I just kinda feel like a passenger over the jump rather than a rider. I'll have to get video. maybe I just FEEL like I'm getting left behind because I was so used to jumping ahead? I have no idea, ha ha.
Help me? :/
This is what has helped me. Get in a half seat, or at least on your thighs as you approach the jump. Once you are lined up, close your eyes. Keep a steady leg and just wait for the jump. You have to ride the horse if you can't see the jump. By being on your thighs, you are in a position that is easier to be "pushed" over the jump without getting behind the motion. Once you are comfortably doing this, open your eyes and start sitting deeper.
If you can't close your eyes (my boy is four, I can't) at least pretend you are glued to the saddle. Being in a half seat makes jumping ahead easier, so if you can't close your eyes you really need to work on staying in the saddle untill he pushes you across
Does your horse take off at the same point every time?
I know when I first got my STB gelding he used to take off really early one time then really late the next and I'd get left behind a lot. If that's the same for your horse it's probably a matter of working on his strides into the jump.
Ok, here's a trick for my that my Coach showed me.
You know when you are sitting up tall, and your upper body is at the verticle. You can remain "tall" while leaning forward just a smidge, where your upper body is slightly ahead of the verticle.
You don't want to be leaning too far forward where you put your upper bodies weight onto your horses forehand, nor do you want to be directly at the verticle.
Here is a wonderful video for you to get a great example of what I mean.
Watch her closely.
And here is a vid of me riding in the dorothy crowell clinic - it is about where your upper body is.
DO NOT get into a 1/2 seat - very uneffective especially when you are riding a very strong forward horse like Zeus.
So when you smidge your upper body slightly ahead of the verticle, I find it much easier for me to stay with my horses motion and stay over his center of gravity. When we are 5 strides to the fence, I still sit, wrap my lower leg around his girth and just smidge my upper body forward - that way, you aren't feeling like you have to "catch up" with his motion.
What was happening to me, was I was too much at the verticle, so when we were at the base of the fence, I was throwing my upper body forward trying to catch up with Nelson's motion - my coach then said just be there already, without disrupting the effectiveness of my seat, and without throwing my upper body onto his forehand.
Thanks you guys! Getting in a half seat would probably not be the best option for us right now, as I'm working on not jumping ahead, and I can see that only making it worse. I'd try closing my eyes but the main problem, (I'm thinking) is me needing to tell him when to jump. He isn't a schoolmaster and needs the rider to micromanage him and set him up correctly. Lessons would fix that, and like I said, I feel like he's not taking off early, but I felt like that last time and the pictures show that he was and I was wrong. I do think it's all about me setting hi up correctly, but even so, how can I work on this and keep from getting left behind?
I suppose it's just something that'll take time to correct.
EDIT: Posted at the same time as you MIE! Gonna reply in to it in another post.
Okay MIE, I get what you're saying. I need to find the middle ground between sitting too far forward and sitting too far back. So when I'm approaching the fence I still sit tall, deep, and wrap my legs around him without getting too behind his motion. Ha ha, I always repeat when you say in my post, it helps me clarify things in my mind. Like I said, I suppose it's just something that'll take practice and time to work out.
It'll take alot of practice and repetative work. Just keep repeating the fence over and over. Remember, you aren't going to be AT the verticle, you are going to smidge your upper body just ahead enough to be slightly infront of the verticle - like how the girls upper body is in the first vid I showed you.
AND STOP looking at the fence, because I know you are *wink*
What I would highly suggest, is have someone put you on a lunge line if you can, if not on Zeus, on a more trustworthy mount - where you can ride with no reins, and learn to feel your horses rhythm.
I would - if I were your coach - have you do this for a good while. I would have you act like you are going to go over a fence, while there is no fence there, but have you hover over his center of gravity for a good 5 strides at the trot and at the canter, then release.
Then I would have you go over cavaletti's. No reins, and FORCE you to learn to stay with your horses movement and over his center of gravity. You have to figure it out on your own - you have to beable to FEEL it for yourself.
Lunge Lining with no reins, is oober, oooober benefitial for ANY rider out there. Even GP Jumpers do this to put their riding back into check.
Ask around, and see if anyone at your barn would be willing to help you for an hour here and there. You'd be absolutely amazed at what you figure out as to where you should be while in the saddle *seat, legs, upper body* and that will help you out immensely!
Watch this young lady do it with no reins. Get to 4:45 and watch her upper body and hips flex as she goes over the grid. That is what you need to work on, while on the lunge with no reins.
Now - NOT a whole grid, but 1 cavaletti at a time.
You get the idea...
Have you tried grids? I recently got very out of whack jumping single jumps. I was doing the same thing. I little ahead, a little behind, questioning my position every time. I found if I put a ground pole 9' in front and 9' behind the jump, the extra round canter strides that my horse had to take gave me a nice rythmic opportunity to find my center. After only a few times, it became very easy for both of us. My upper body stayed quiet and my hips and knees absorbed all the movement. Big time light bulb moment. Might help.
*drooling* I watched the first video and the girl has a STUNNING seat! She stays seated the whole time with a strong steady leg, and only slightly comes out of the saddle at the jump from the horse's motion, and lets her horse close the angle...now if only I could do that! I vow to watch this video 101 and times and let some of it rub off on me! =]
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