Help with striding/jump position!
So, I don't know why, but I'm really bad at judging strides to jumps lol. I often jump too far back, and it's just sloppy and I've fallen off a couple times because of it. I tend to be about one stride off, and I'm not quite sure how to fix this.. Poles help, but we don't use them all the time.
Also, I've never had this problem, but the past couple months my instructor has been telling me when I jump i'm "throwing myself" forward out of the saddle/standing up to high over the jumps :-|. She tells me to just get in the position, and let the horse jump, and I'll naturally go over with the horse since the motion will "push" me out of the saddle. I try to do this, I relax, get in position, and I STILL seem to stand up over the jumps. Help??
This one is a surprisingly easy fix. Set up bounces. Two or three cross rails set 9' apart. Canter in. Your only job is to hold your position and do nothing except release. Pick a distant object to look at (with soft focus) and do not change your upper body. Just absorb the motion in your lower body. Once you start feeling the jumping motion in your hips and knees, it'll translate into single fences. It's fun and useful!
i second my boy puck's advice. also - jump blindfolded / eyes closed if you can (with a trainer and on a longe for safety reasons)
I also suggest doing single jumps, too. Remember, especially on a single jump, as long as you set the horse up with a consistent pace, the jump will be perfect. Think, when going to the fence, "Oh, well, there is going to be a slightly larger canter stride thrown in here." Sit, sit, sit, and suddenly you will feel a lift and the horse will have put you into jumping position. But DEFINITELY do the other poster's exercises first to get a sense of "I'm not jumping, the horse is!"
Keep in mind, you still have to stride to the next fence in a line. Did the horse land a little close to the first fence? Hold and try to get an extra stride. If they took the first one big, then push to lose the stride. If you have perfect striding, just hold the pace. Lines are hard. I sometimes spend an entire lesson on one (intentionally) badly strided line. Working on adding and subtracting strides to get the innate sense of what to do when.
For the striding, I think it just comes with time and experience. When I first started jumping, I would LITERALLY get in position 3 strides out. I got my new horse who has a gigantic stride, and the more I rode and jumped him, the more I was able to see my spots. Now, on any horse I can get on, I can jump a couple jumps and am able to see the spot regardless of the stride of the horse. Everything, including your position will come to you in time.
Now what I did when I first started jumping, was ALWAYS use poles. Always always always. If it works for you as you have stated, USE IT. as my trainer says, you have to prepare for the "5k". If you don't prepare, you will never achieve the success you desire. Also, set up the bounces as one of the posts had said before. It will help you with your position AND your spots. Also, having a strong support (your legs) will help with the standing up. Actualy, a strong support helps with everything you do riding wise.
For your position, take your trainers advice. Allow the horse to come to you. Whenever I jump, I stay still until I know my horse has jumped, and I allow his neck to come up to me. I hate to say this, but even if you have to grab some mane, do so.
Sooner than you know, you will be able to see your spots and will be able to adjust as needed. You will also have a fabulous position! Like I said, it comes with lots of time and preparation! It can't just happen if you don't put forth the effort.
Goodluck, and it will all happen soon!
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