Riding/jumping up a bank?

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Riding/jumping up a bank?

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    12-03-2010, 08:47 PM
Super Moderator
Riding/jumping up a bank?

On a trail that Lacey and I have found most recently, there's a very steep bank that must be gotten up to get home... There's a way around but I'd have to dismount and she's not exactly the best about standing still for mounting...

Anyway, this bank is making my life difficult. It's about 3 or 4 feet high and about this sloped: /, maybe a little less. Anyway, so Lacey has been getting right up to it with her back legs, then leaping the rest of the way up (it's quite a feat of coordination and skill, imo) and I've been having trouble staying with her.
The first time I wasn't expecting her to jump it and I was fine, but today I leaned quite a bit forward to begin with, in anticipation of the jump (I thought it would be helpful...) and totally got left behind and then I smacked down on her back, hard. She gave me a severely dirty look and proceeded to walk home in a huff. Basically, I'm concerned that since she is very worried about her rider's safety and keeping them on, that if I don't get my act together she's going to start refusing to go up this bank... And I don't want that since I don't want to have to dismount.

Are there any tips for staying with a horse when they jump something like that, while being in a western saddle? I'm sure I could handle it in an English saddle since I did jump for a while, back in the day, but a western saddle is so different...
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    12-03-2010, 09:46 PM
Jumping up a bank

Wallaby: I am thinking that perhaps the timing was just off for her & threw her out of balance. Perhaps you leaned too far forward. Best.
    12-03-2010, 10:06 PM
Hmm, lets see if I can explain what I do .

When coming up to a bank, I will take as deep a seat as possible and also I will kind of wrap my legs around the horse's barrel. I will keep a firm grip on the horn with my free hand and grab a good chunk of mane with my rein hand. When I feel them sort of bunch up for the jump, I will take a more forward seat but still balanced and when they jump, I will absorb most of the take-off with my thighs. As they reach the second level and start pulling with their front legs to get the rest of the way up, I try to lift out of the saddle just a bit into a modified 2-point type seat and use my legs to keep myself up off their back until they are solidly past the jump.

LOL, seems like a lot of words to explain something that happens in just a couple of seconds but I think I got it all correct. IMHO, the most important part is where your hands are. Holding the horn will help to keep you from being left too far behind and holding the mane will help to prevent accidentally bumping the horse in the face if you do end up behind a bit.
    12-04-2010, 01:36 AM
Super Moderator
Thanks smrobs! That's very helpful and very thorough, in a good way. :)

I think popping her in the mouth is the one thing I didn't do (sad, but also amusing). I like to keep my reins long enough with her that to have any contact at all, I have to physically gather them up. Obviously I don't have them that long at anything faster than a walk, but we just mostly walk so it works and at the point in question, we were just walking.
Which brings me to another question! For a bank that high, is it fair to expect her to be able to get up there from a walk or is that causing her undue stress? Should I ask her to trot so we have a little bit more momentum? I'd prefer the walk then jump method but I don't want to be hurting her somehow... She's generally plenty warmed up by the point that we get to it...

I'll have to try grabbing mane next time, her mane is finally a grab-able length again, thank goodness!

I think I was too stiff and tried to prepare too much when I really needed to stay relaxed in order to stay with her. I'll give your tips a try next time, I'm sure they will help it work out better. :)
    12-04-2010, 12:36 PM
There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking her to jump up it from a walk. It takes a little more effort, but that's all. She'll let you know when it gets too hard for her.
    12-04-2010, 02:17 PM
SMR has already told you in principle how to do it but the saddle presents a problem or two which you must get over.

With the idea of helping you I have sat and written this article four times but in each case I have come back to the notion that you should learn to cope with this high bank in a training arena of some sort. It sounds like you have a pretty good horse there to jump three feet up onto a bank just because you asked him to do it. It is important for you that he doesn‘t learn to refuse and on a loose rein he easily could.

May I suggest - in Oregon there ought to be a few English riders - can you arrange a couple of lessons on a English schooled jumping horse using an English saddle and bridle set?

It won’t take you long to catch on to how it is done but it would be better to practice on a school horse than your own good chap. Anyway, your horse already knows how to jump, it is you who does not. In principle you should be able to jump in a western saddle and the horse should be well capable of jumping three or even four feet.

Your problem to overcome is the horn of the Western saddle plus the likelihood that you regularly ride on a loose rein, no doubt with long stirrup leathers. But the teacher will put you on the right track. Once you, the human, knows how to jump a horse, then you can learn how to get it all together with your own horse at first in the in the training arena.

In a couple of months you be going up into those woods looking for fallen trees and fast flowing streams merely so as to ‘pop‘ over them.

PS The tutor might ask you to wear a pukka riding hat - but if you are going jumping, that’s a good idea.
    12-04-2010, 02:44 PM
Super Moderator
Thanks for the tips Barry. :) I'll have to look around for English trainers around here. I'd love to take English lessons since I used to ride English and I absolutely loved it, however, Lacey's just not a fan of the whole English "thing" so I don't ride her English anymore.
Anyway, I'll look and see if I can find a trainer around here... Oregon is basically know for it's lack of competent trainers. I mean, I know where I could find a few but they would cost me an arm and a leg, and even then there's a 75% chance that they really don't know what they're doing.
But I'll look!

And that's so true about streams and logs! Haha! However, I have to be careful because my girl is 25, so we really shouldn't be jumping everything, even if we both want to.
    12-04-2010, 03:12 PM
Personally, I don't think you need lessons or need to ride in an English saddle just to jump up a bank. All part of the trail experience . Just lean forward a tad, hang on to some mane, and try to stay pretty balanced. She should be fine just jumping it once or twice every time you guys go on trail. Have fun!
    12-04-2010, 03:22 PM
Super Moderator
Originally Posted by equiniphile    
Personally, I don't think you need lessons or need to ride in an English saddle just to jump up a bank.
Well, yeah. But riding English is so much fun! This is just an excuse.
Thanks for the tips too! :)
    12-04-2010, 04:27 PM
This may have already been said, but I don't come out of the saddle in a situation like this, I just lean forward IN the saddle. That would help with not bonking her in the back since you will already be on her. The way I understand it is that she's jumping up a bank onto higher ground? So that she isn't really coming back down and landing right? You could even just ride her up it without jumping...most horses will trot or canter or hop if they need to, so I wouldn't worry about the gait, she'll let you know if she needs a different one.

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