keeping legs in place!
I have the worst trouble keeping my legs at my boy's girth when going over a jump! It doesn't matter the height of the jump, because he over jumps a 6inch crossrail like its a 2foot oxer. I'm still working on improving my timing and not jumping before he does, but I feel like my legs fly back when he is landing. Would it improve with my timing? Do I need to do leg exercises? How can I fix this?
Start by removing the jumps from the equation. Establish your jumping position first at a dead stop. Stand up in your stirrups and find your sweet spot where you have perfect balance and do not need to use your arms to stay standing. Then without changing a thing from the thighs down, almost sit back down in your saddle, staying just clear of your horses back. You will need to fold your hips forward a bit to keep your balance. The result will be a correct half seat position.
Next, take your half seat out for a spin. Walk/trot/canter around in it with the goal of not changing a thing. If you stay in the proper position, you should not have to grab mane to hold the position. If you fall forward or back, go back to step one to re-establish where your lower leg should be. It might take a bit to reset your muscle memory, but it'll come. Practice this step until your lower legs are absolutely glued to your horse's side.
Once you can W/T/C without you legs swinging around, start with ground poles and then low cross rails and verticals. Once you add poles, don't over think it. When you go over the poles, just slide your hands forward for a release. Nothing else should change. Think of your lower body as shock absorbers, just like skiing moguls.
On a much simpler note, you might just have your stirrups too long. No way to tell without pics.
I can keep my legs completely still at all three gaits in two point, it just seems at though when my horse is jumping, my leg swings way back. I'll post a video as soon as I can. Thank you for the advice though! I'll definitely try it out and see if that helps.
Great post MyBoyPuck!
The biggest reason why riders loose their lower legs over fences, is because they pinch with their knee's.
You have to remember, that one of the most important factors to being solid in our tack, are our heels - without our heels doing their job, we have no anchor. No anchor = no solidity in our tack.
So, we must learn to allow our bodies natural weight flow, go from our heads, into our seats, and from there, into our heels. But, the moment we pinch our knees, our weight flow has no where to go, when it is blocked, it cannot continue on downwards - so we lose our lower leg.
When we open our knee's, and allow that weight to dispurse past our knee's, and sink into our heels, now we have that aid, that anchor to help us remain solid.
I like this quote from George Morris, because it makes me rethink my leg position. "We must be wrapped around our horses, not just be ontop". I like this because it re-emphasises how important it is for us to train our leg muscles as to where they need to be, but also helps us to remember that we are asking our horses to come up into our seats, even when over the fences.
When you are wrapped around your horse, your legs will be "glued".
So, heels taking bodies weight, legs glued to your horses side, and knee's opened.
I need to get my lower leg back to where it needs to be. I used to have very solid legs, until I stopped working on keeping my muscles trained. I used to spend hours hacking, while up in 2 point position, with my legs wrapped around my horses girth.
Every upstride, your legs are saying to your horse "hey, come up to me".
Get your seat bone tucked under you slightly, where your lower back is strait, and activate your core. Your core is very important! Without your core, you are just a limp noodle ontop of your horse, not being very helpful at all *remember, team effort*. Chest open, tall upper body and make it feel like you are lifting your heart.
Balance over your feet.
Hope that helps :D
If you can keep them still when not jumping, my money is on stirrup length.
Not to steal this thread or anything, but I can't help but ask. You said knees OFF the saddle. However, was always/am still being taught to keep my knees on the saddle (not pinching, but its like say I'm posting at the trot and when I sit my knees come off..)
"I SHOULD SEE NO DAYLIGHT BETWEEN YOUR KNEES!" :)
These are all helpful suggestions for Meagan:)
For Eliz- maybe you have the opposite problem of Meagan. Your stirrups might by too short! You want to feel the horse with your upper calf when you are riding- I tend to use my calf for legs aids, not my heels. Try lengthening your stirrups and see where you feel the horse (or pressure) on your leg.
Your Trainer is correct :) When I say "knee's off of your saddle" I mean, no gripping, no pinching. Just nice light contact.
When my Coach works with someone who grips with their knee's, she makes them over exaggerate the motion of actually, taking their knees off of their saddle, to help them reposition their lower leg, and to help them learn to use their lower leg and heels, instead of relying on their knee's.
Oh, okay, that is a relief :)
It usually only happend when I've had a long break from riding, so that explains it :)
I LOVE THIS FORUM. Ya'll are so detailed and helpful! I'm going to get a video when I see my boy on Thursday, do two point work anddd adjust my stirrups to see if that helps.
STAY TUNED! :)
(off my thread topic, but I cantered bareback today...best. thing. ever.)
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