Do I need to ride in a half seat? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 03-23-2020, 12:21 AM Thread Starter
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Question Do I need to ride in a half seat?

Just want to preface this by saying I jump verrrrryyyy infrequently. I've jumped 4? times since September 2019. I want to get into jumping but my trainer is really in no rush. We're currently working on my posture, seat, and balance so she's setting me up for jumping but I just haven't actually done it in a while. So when it comes to my seat she tells me to sit the canter. I know I should trust my trainer but everyone I see who jumps rides in a half seat, no one sits it. So my question is, can I sit the canter for jumping or do I need to ride in a half seat?
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post #2 of 11 Old 03-23-2020, 05:58 AM
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Personally I think that you should approach a fence sitting, being in half seat and returning to half seat on landing, is already putting you in front of the movement.

If the horse refuses or runs out then you are already half way out the front door, ditto if the horse were to stumble on landing.

Watch the video below and you will see how Karen O'Connor is using her seat going into the fence and at times to gather the horse under her. She is also coming back into the saddle as the horse starts to land.

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post #3 of 11 Old 03-23-2020, 06:22 AM
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I've been told by multiple instructors over the years (and by observing lessons) that for a beginner learning to jump or someone that doesn't jump often it is safer to sit the canter until you need to get your butt out. Also its thanks to this forum and a thread long ago that I began to take note of the different types of seat. Watch any high end jumping competition and each rider will have different seats throughout just a single round. I guess it depends on the horse. On the jump. On the speed and the height. Saying all jumpers canter in half seat is a bit like saying just press the gas pedal to go forward. It's true but there's a lot more to driving than that.

I honestly thought jumping was sorta boring until I learned about what goes into it properly.. far more technical than I thought and credit to riders that do it properly (and the point'n'shoot horses :P)
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post #4 of 11 Old 03-23-2020, 06:36 AM
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Actually, very accomplished riders approach fences sitting the canter so the most control and guidance of the horse from seat and leg, they only "rise" one or two strides before, most often 1 stride and at fence base so they are most in balance with the moving freight train hurtling down the track so to speak...keeps them from going over the head if a stop or run-out occurs.
After the landing for a stride or two they again are 1/2 seat then sit again for that guidance thing...
Your instructor is right...you sit but unless you are riding one needing great encouragement you not drive with your seat bones...
How I was taught too...
Kalraii makes a good point though...each is a individual and so is the situation, hence you need a strong base learned to guide the horse to the goal of over a fence and stay out of their way while accomplishing that.

...
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post #5 of 11 Old 03-23-2020, 08:29 AM
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What kind of jumping are you doing? That's my first question, always. If you're galloping up to a xc fence, you can usually take it out of stride in your half seat unless you need to settle back and drive.

I basically ride whatever is under me. My gelding (middle of the road hunter) needs a lot of drive so I post the canter until I find my distance and then sit to the base, half seat until I've got my lead change or down the line, then set the pace again with positing. This, however, is a very advanced technique of riding and not used by those just learning. I

My jumper I ride in a half seat until a few strides before then sit to the base of the jump, especially in the jump off when I'm trying to eat up the ground as much as possible.

All of this said, I sit the canter at all times when in flatwork. You don't need the half seat or two point on the fact unless you're practicing for yourself and your own strength. Your instructor is correct in having you sit the canter right now, as it's helping you develop a strong seat and feel so you can take that into your other positions.
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post #6 of 11 Old 03-23-2020, 02:06 PM
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My discipline is not jumping, but I think they are just different styles. North America tends to teach half seat approaches, while I hear Europe teaches more to approach fences while sitting.

I'm in Canada and was taught half seat approaches, but later on I leased a very forward Prelim eventer and had to learn to sit before fences. I think it is probably much easier to learn to sit before a fence first, as I actually found it a bit difficult to re-train myself afterwards.
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post #7 of 11 Old 03-23-2020, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Interstellar View Post
What kind of jumping are you doing? That's my first question, always. If you're galloping up to a xc fence, you can usually take it out of stride in your half seat unless you need to settle back and drive.

I basically ride whatever is under me. My gelding (middle of the road hunter) needs a lot of drive so I post the canter until I find my distance and then sit to the base, half seat until I've got my lead change or down the line, then set the pace again with positing. This, however, is a very advanced technique of riding and not used by those just learning. I

My jumper I ride in a half seat until a few strides before then sit to the base of the jump, especially in the jump off when I'm trying to eat up the ground as much as possible.

All of this said, I sit the canter at all times when in flatwork. You don't need the half seat or two point on the fact unless you're practicing for yourself and your own strength. Your instructor is correct in having you sit the canter right now, as it's helping you develop a strong seat and feel so you can take that into your other positions.

I agree wholeheartedly with this - you need to ride the horse you have.

My gelding pretty much requires me riding in a half-seat on a course. For a while I would half-seat between jumps, and sit to attempt to adjust him before the jump, but he is very hot on course. When I would sit, he would immediately amp up more, and it would be much harder to adjust him whatsoever before the jump. Instead on our approach to jumps, I would remain in a half-seat, but adjust where I was over him to help him adjust.

The gelding I used to jump was prone to refuse if he didn't have enough driving from me. I would half-seat between jumps if there was a lot of time to the next jump, otherwise I would be sitting and driving him forward.

I'm sure as your instructor guides you further along in jumping, you will begin to figure out what works for your horse. When you begin jumping other horses, those horses may require something different.
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post #8 of 11 Old 03-23-2020, 11:04 PM
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I've had different instructors teach different things.

When I was first learning to jump, we got into two point and stayed there for the whole course. The two point was so exaggerated, it was practically a jockey position, with our butts in the air and our hands half way up the neck before we even got to the jump. We then, further, did a crest release over the jump. In hindsight... this was all terrible.

Later I had a hunter coach who had us ride into the jump in a light forward seat, and give a crest release over the jump. It was much less exaggerated than my previous "two point" position, but still forward and ready.

Then, in a few lessons about three years ago, a hunter/jumper coach was like "WHAT are you doing??" when I approached the jump already in two-point. She made me sit up and ride normally right into the base of it, and then fold at the hip while giving my hands forward in a release. I actually liked this the best of all three methods -- although it does require that you are familiar enough with jumping that you can judge when the take-off is going to happen. Otherwise you risk being left behind.

For learning to jump, I feel like option two is good. You're forward enough that you can go with the jump easily, and not worry about being left behind. But you're not already so far up the horse's neck that you're going to go SPLAT easily if something goes wrong!! Option three can come later.
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post #9 of 11 Old 03-23-2020, 11:21 PM
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This video is great and really breaks down the different options, and why one might use them on course.

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post #10 of 11 Old 03-24-2020, 08:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteadyOn View Post
I've had different instructors teach different things.

When I was first learning to jump, we got into two point and stayed there for the whole course. The two point was so exaggerated, it was practically a jockey position, with our butts in the air and our hands half way up the neck before we even got to the jump. We then, further, did a crest release over the jump. In hindsight... this was all terrible.

Later I had a hunter coach who had us ride into the jump in a light forward seat, and give a crest release over the jump. It was much less exaggerated than my previous "two point" position, but still forward and ready.

Then, in a few lessons about three years ago, a hunter/jumper coach was like "WHAT are you doing??" when I approached the jump already in two-point. She made me sit up and ride normally right into the base of it, and then fold at the hip while giving my hands forward in a release. I actually liked this the best of all three methods -- although it does require that you are familiar enough with jumping that you can judge when the take-off is going to happen. Otherwise you risk being left behind.

For learning to jump, I feel like option two is good. You're forward enough that you can go with the jump easily, and not worry about being left behind. But you're not already so far up the horse's neck that you're going to go SPLAT easily if something goes wrong!! Option three can come later.
To me, it sounds like your first instructor was putting the building block there. Typically with anything you do you do it exaggerated and big to get your body used to the movement, as well as to strengthen new muscles that you've never used before.

The next instructor built off of that and toned it down a bit for you, then the third refined what you had in your knowledge bank into what is typically how people jump.

If I were to be giving lessons (which I don't currently) I would have beginners do the exaggerated position, just so that they don't slam down on the horse's back and so that they don't catch them in the teeth with the bit. You see a lot of short stirrup and cross rail kids riding this way, and they refine their skills from there.
Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither was a correct feel for the jumping position.
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