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Hoofprints in the Sand 05-23-2010 07:14 PM

Form over fences and cantering questions
Ok so this will be my second summer jumping (and my pony's as well!) and we've had a ton of improvement since last year BUT still have quite a few things to work on of course! :wink: We do have a very good trainer, and here are the main notes she had for us in our last lesson...

1. My reins are too long
2. I over-release and hunch my shoulders over the jump instead of keeping them back and just following with my arms/shoulders without moving my shoulders out of place.
3. I sit straight up too early after the jump -- I need to get back into my seat more gradually.

Here are 2 videos of me jumping...the first was from a couple of weeks ago at our first show of the season (and yes, we were having FUN hehe) :lol: The second is messing around with some jumps at the barn today. Personally, I think the one from a couple weeks ago looked better, I had an off day today, but today I was trying to concentrate on keeping my shoulders back...but I feel like I almost made my back concave in doing so. Ugh, will it ever get easy? LOL

Anyway, there's also this strange thing I do at the canter...I almost make my lower back like a shock absorber and it works but it looks funny. My trainer told me I have to brace my back more, but I'm having some trouble getting out of the habit of jelly back hahaha! Anyone have any tips or tricks they use for ANY of the above??? THANK YOU! :D

StormyBlues 05-23-2010 08:31 PM

A) I feel happy that I've been able to share in you and Sandie's journey together!!!!!

B) It will get easier, I promise! I don't even have to think about releasing or where I land after a jump. :)

C) About the jelly back - try making your hips do the work more than your back. And also you have to make sure you're letting your knees and ankles absorb the shock.

D) I don't have any advice on the over-releasing, but good luck!

StormyBlues 05-23-2010 08:34 PM

From what I see is you don't fold over the jump. You're not letting your upper body go forward which might be hindering your ability to stay off her back in the air longer.

MIEventer 05-23-2010 09:36 PM

Ok, I'm going to go by your 2nd video....the first was a little to wide shot for me to see anything definitively.

Ok - first, you need to get Sandie to respect your leg. You are really using alot of leg to get her moving, and you shouldn't have to. You need to work on getting her to respond to your leg when you touch her hair.

Dorothy Crowell worked with me on this the last time she was in my neck of the woods. At a stance, ask your horses hair. If you get no reponse, ask her skin. No reponse, ask her ribs - no response - kick her very hard. Like, legs far up in the air and down ask. She moves forward, stop her and repeat. It should get to the point where all you have to do is ask her hair.

Then, when you are working like you are in the video, you can have her infront of your leg, instead of behind it. She needs to beable to respond to your good leg, especially for when you are out on CC and doing bigger fences.


Back on topic - I'd like to see you shorten your leathers a smidge more, and you get out of the tack - for jumping. You need to work on a functional 3 point seat instead of being in a dressage seat. Dressage seat is fine for when you are doing Dressage, but not for when you are jumping.

I understand Sandie needs the support and the drive, but I think you are at the point now where you can adjust yourself while staying in that functional 3 point seat, while keeping Sandie infront of your leg and driving forward.

What you need to do, is work on standing up in your irons while doing walk,trot and canter work. Get your legs under you and learn to balance yourself while standing up in your leathers. And I mean, standing up. Find your balance, find Sandie's balance.

Now, while you are up in your leathers and after you've accomplished your balance by being able to walk, trot and canter in this position without aid from your horses neck or mane - now work on your "Breaking Over" position which is your jumping position.

What you do, instead of thinking "fold over" think of yourself as an accordian. Your knee's and your seat. You cannot think of it as your upper body, because it is not - your upper body doesn't move - it is all about your knee's and your seat.

So, back to the accordian, imagine your lower body as the folds in the accordian. They fold down.

So, back in your standing up position, moving into your jumping form - you close your knees, close your hips and push your seat back to the cantle. Hold it for a few strides, and then go back to standing up.

Now, merge from your standing up postion - to your functional 3 point position. Legs under you, balanced, activated core, open chest, lift your heart up, hands low. Feel Sandie inbetween your legs, don't allow your seat to rest in your tack, but keep it lightly over it. Hold this.

Now go from a functiona 3 point, to your jumping position. Remember - your body is an accordian. Now back to your functional 3 point position.

This will help solidify your position.

There are 5 phases to a jump, and believe it or not - the majority is done by your horse. Do me a favor, take your right hand, and hold it horizontally infront of you. Don't spread your fingers, and imagine your hand as the horse.

As you read the 5 phases, move your hand as though it is the horse -

1st phase - the approach. ( your hand should be like this - )
2nd phase - the take off (your hand should now be like this \ )
3rd pahse - over the fence (your hand should be like this - )
4th phase - the landing (your hand should be like this / )
5th phase - the depart (your hand should be like this - )

Now, take your index finger on your left hand, and place it to your right hand and imagine the finger is the rider. Keep your finger verticle from your right hand and don't move it.

Now, do the 5 phases again, moving your right hand.

Does it make sense? All you do, is just stay over Sandie's center of gravity by remaining in your functional 3 point position, and close your lower body as though it were an accordian. Sandie, does the rest - so by you solidifying your lower leg and your core, and solidifying your functional 3 point position, you will stay off of Sandie.

What you are doing - is hollowing out your lower back and standing up in your tack - instead of sinking down and low.


To help you with your release - well, you don't need help. I don't see an over release at all to be honest. Heck, it's far better than mine - because mine is non existant. lol.

But what you need to do, is activate your core, and lift your heart up. Instead of thinking shoulders back, think "lift my heart up". And I don't think your reins are too long, they are exactly where I ride. If that works for you and Sandie, I wouldn't worry about it.

Let me know if I made any sense......

Hoofprints in the Sand 05-23-2010 09:56 PM

Thank you both!!! I'm going to think about the accordian when I am jumping this week :) And practicing with my seat more. I tend to stay way back in dressage seat because I'm trying to avoid falling if she refuses lol...hoping that fear will go away with time and enough good jumps ;)
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MIEventer 05-23-2010 10:00 PM

You need to not worry about coming off if she stops - you need to worry more about keeping her infront of your leg.

You can remain solid and stablized while in the functional 3 point position. Your legs are under you, wrapped around her girth, heels taking all of your bodies weight. Your tail bone tucked under you, core acivated, chest opened and heart lifted.

If you do this, you will stay put if she stops on you - but the key isn't remaining in your dressage seat, the key is keeping Sandie infront of you.

Hoofprints in the Sand 05-24-2010 08:47 AM

Do they also call the 3 pt position the "light seat"? Because my trainer just taught me how to use that one, it's kind of like the 2 point but you're closer to the saddle, you're almost sitting down but you're rocked slightly forward and gripping more with your legs and thighs and balancing on your legs. It sounds a lot like what you're describing and I think I need to work on using that seat more for sure! When I was in that seat during one of our lessons, I didn't do the weird jelly back thing because it was almost like my body was just balanced and rocking with Sandie so I didn't need to use my back to absorb any shock.

MIEventer 05-24-2010 09:31 AM

Yes, it is also called a light seat - but while doing it, you must be functional...and functional means activating your core.

When you are at the canter, your knee's are absorbing all the shock, and your knee's are opening and closing during the strides.

When you are in this position, your seat bone is tucked under you, your lower back is strait, your core is working. Your upper body is tall, chest opened and you are lifting your heart. Lower leg us under you, heels deep and everytime your horse comes up, you are asking her with your legs saying "come here"

Then, when you go over the fence, you are remaining functional, and all that you do is allow your lower body to act like an accordian - close and sink. Knee's closing, hips close and seat sinks back and down. You do nothing with your upper body, you do nothing with your shoulders - they stay put.

So, yes you can do the "light seat" that your coach speads about, but you should be doing a "functional 3 point" - you want to be the rider, you want to be the pilot, you want to make sure you are doing just as much work as your horse is. That is why it is important to call it FUNCTIONAL, because you must be.

MyBoyPuck 05-24-2010 05:59 PM

HITS, I'm a little behind you in jumping, but so far I'm a big fan of the light seat. I think it would actually help you get Sandie in front of your leg since you won't be tempted to pump if you butt is out of the saddle, and it will also free her back up a little so she might be more interested in going forward. If done correctly, it's actually a very secure seat. While in your full seat, just picture someone tugging on your heels and that's basically enough to transfer your weight out of the saddle and into your stirrups. Really concentrate on keeping your legs bear-hugging your horse and using your knees as shock absorbers. If she stops or tries to run out, you won't go anywhere. At the worst, all you have to do is sit back down if you don't feel secure.

StormyBlues 05-24-2010 08:17 PM

I positions for jumping in my brain right now. Driving seat, half seat, sitting C, light seat, jumping position, galloping position, and drop position. I've finally gotten to a point in my riding where my trainer can say, "ride the jump with how he feels." She knows that I know how to handle things (I still ask so many questions though! lol!) and she knows that I know my horse. Just a little encouragement! :)

Kim, I like that "acordien" idea! That's a really good way of describing it!

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