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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Finally worked out how to get the video working! I'm not very technologically adept lol.

I haven't done much jumping, as I'm sure is evident in the video. I seem to 'flop' over the jumps and bump back into the saddle. Unsure as to how to fix this though, as whenever I try I end up going into 2-point too early, which is more dangerous as Ninja tends to look at jumps before going over them and I would probably go straight over his head. Any exercises to help with that?

Also when he was going over the jumps, he picked his legs up one at a time. Do you all know if this is because of lack of impulsion (my fault), approaching in trot, or just inexperience jumping? Or the jumps being quite small?

Cross country was pretty simple, only had a couple of videos (accidentally put 2 of the same video in, sorry!). It was his first cross country outing, and I've never had a good cross country experience, so the instructor didn't want to overface either of us. I tried to put some photos in but it didn't work, sorry!

As always, all input is appreciated!

 

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What kind of saddle is that? It looks a bit like a dressage saddle. And, aren't your calves bothered by the stirrup leathers? Pinching you.

You don't seem to fit that saddle very well. Kind of like you are lost in it, instead of being connected to it
 

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I am very inexperienced as I am a beginner rider myself. But I am just learning to go over small jumps and the way I am taught, I have to go into two point before the jump and hold it over it. Can you try doing that? If you are in two point properly I don't see how you would go over his head. I always feel very steady in two point with my weight down in my heels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
What kind of saddle is that? It looks a bit like a dressage saddle. And, aren't your calves bothered by the stirrup leathers? Pinching you.

You don't seem to fit that saddle very well. Kind of like you are lost in it, instead of being connected to it
It is a dressage saddle. That's the saddle he came with, it only cost like $200 extra and it fits him really well. I can't afford a jumping saddle yet, and even if I could my dad doesn't want to get one because I can still jump in the dressage. I dunno what's happening with the stirrup leathers, for some reason when I shorten them they got twisted. They're fine when they're at the dressage length.

I don't quite get what you mean with not fitting the saddle? But I've also only ridden in the saddles that come with the horses, so I probably don't know what it feels like to have a well fitted saddle (for the rider)

Thank you for your help :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I am very inexperienced as I am a beginner rider myself. But I am just learning to go over small jumps and the way I am taught, I have to go into two point before the jump and hold it over it. Can you try doing that? If you are in two point properly I don't see how you would go over his head. I always feel very steady in two point with my weight down in my heels.
It's not for if he goes over the jump well that I'll fall. It's just that often before a jump he'll stop and sniff it, so if I go into 2-point before he's already jumping, I might fall off or at the very least become unbalanced once he actually does go over. Sorry if that explanation doesn't make sense, I don't really know how to word it.
 

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Ok. It is a dressage saddle. It looks kind of big for you. The fla p comes way down to your lower calf.
It's much harder to sustain two point in a dressage saddle. Why don't you ride dressage?
 

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It is a dressage saddle. That's the saddle he came with, it only cost like $200 extra and it fits him really well. I can't afford a jumping saddle yet, and even if I could my dad doesn't want to get one because I can still jump in the dressage.
This is probably a big part of your problem. While you can do two point in any saddle, a dressage saddle doesn't put you in a great position for jumping. Yes, you can jump in a dressage saddle but for someone like you who has little jumping experience it isn't doing you any favors. The reason people jump in a forward flap saddle is because that allows for you to have the open hip required to follow a horse over a jump. Could you maybe borrow a saddle from someone for a little while if you aren't able to buy one?

I haven't done much jumping, as I'm sure is evident in the video. I seem to 'flop' over the jumps and bump back into the saddle. Unsure as to how to fix this though, as whenever I try I end up going into 2-point too early, which is more dangerous as Ninja tends to look at jumps before going over them and I would probably go straight over his head. Any exercises to help with that?
What I see (and what you describe) is you getting left behind at jumps. I suspect this is because the dressage saddle doesn't allow for the position that would better aid you as a beginner. And so you seem to be having trouble staying in timing with your horse. This might not be what you want to hear, but I'll give my two cents. Honestly, the best way I can think of to fix this is, at a minimum, ride in an AP or jumping saddle and maintain your two-point for a few strides before and after jumps. Of course you don't want to go over his head should he refuse, but it's going to be hard for you to really improve without good balance in two point. I agree that some horses you have to sit on when approaching jumps, like my own hothead, though usually that isn't the way you learn because it's easy to get left behind as you are riding that way. Your stirrups also look a hair long. Not sure if you'd be comfortable in that saddle shortening them, though. Gymnastics are also good for developing timing and balance.

While I have jumped small stuff in a dressage saddle as well, I don't recommend it. If lacking an AP or CC saddle, I will jump bareback over the choice of using an unideal saddle. You really can't beat a good forward flap saddle for work over fences though I get that you have to work with what you have. Maybe someone else will have other suggestions for you on possible solutions without lots of two-point, which is all I can offer.

Also when he was going over the jumps, he picked his legs up one at a time. Do you all know if this is because of lack of impulsion (my fault), approaching in trot, or just inexperience jumping? Or the jumps being quite small?
It could be all of these things. My own horse get's lazy with smaller jumps and doesn't pick up his feet. The bigger the jump is, the neater he is with his knees. Anything under about 2ft he tends to be uneven with his knees, and also when he's not got enough impulsion. Some horses are also just not tidy with their legs. It could simply be his style. Gymnastics can help teach a horse to be neat and pick up their feet.

Cross country was pretty simple, only had a couple of videos (accidentally put 2 of the same video in, sorry!). It was his first cross country outing, and I've never had a good cross country experience, so the instructor didn't want to overface either of us.
He at least looks pretty relaxed here, for it being his first x-country outing. That's a good thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ok. It is a dressage saddle. It looks kind of big for you. The fla p comes way down to your lower calf.
It's much harder to sustain two point in a dressage saddle. Why don't you ride dressage?
I do ride primarily ride dressage, I just want to do jumping too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
This is probably a big part of your problem. While you can do two point in any saddle, a dressage saddle doesn't put you in a great position for jumping. Yes, you can jump in a dressage saddle but for someone like you who has little jumping experience it isn't doing you any favors. The reason people jump in a forward flap saddle is because that allows for you to have the open hip required to follow a horse over a jump. Could you maybe borrow a saddle from someone for a little while if you aren't able to buy one?
I don't know anyone who has one, but I'll see if we can dig out an all-purpose saddle that'll fit him. All of our horses have dressage saddles though, it's only the ponies with all-purpose ones. We might have an old saddle? I'll check tomorrow.

What I see (and what you describe) is you getting left behind at jumps. I suspect this is because the dressage saddle doesn't allow for the position that would better aid you as a beginner. And so you seem to be having trouble staying in timing with your horse. This might not be what you want to hear, but I'll give my two cents. Honestly, the best way I can think of to fix this is, at a minimum, ride in an AP or jumping saddle and maintain your two-point for a few strides before and after jumps. Of course you don't want to go over his head should he refuse, but it's going to be hard for you to really improve without good balance in two point. I agree that some horses you have to sit on when approaching jumps, like my own hothead, though usually that isn't the way you learn because it's easy to get left behind as you are riding that way. Your stirrups also look a hair long. Not sure if you'd be comfortable in that saddle shortening them, though. Gymnastics are also good for developing timing and balance.
He also has a dressage saddle, but my mum has an schoolmaster who loves jumping and will go over anything you point him at. The only thing is that he has a really high wither so there aren't any other saddles that will fit him. It would be better to ride him to practice my timing and position, and if the saddles won't fit Ninja I might try that anyway.
Also, I shortened it another 2 holes for cross country, so they were a bit short.

If lacking an AP or CC saddle, I will jump bareback over the choice of using an unideal saddle.
I was looking at getting a bareback pad for Ninja, cos he was getting irritated when I was riding him bareback. I'm anticipating a lot of tumbles, but if nothing else works out at the very least it'll help my balance. Definitely wouldn't go straight to jumping though lol.

Thanks for all your hep & suggestions!
 

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You need a stronger base of support. Your leg is loose and the heels come up often. More time spent in the two point on the flat. Switching between two point, rising, sitting, stand two, sit two, ect. Over poles and cavalettis.

Grab mane with both hands over every single fence. You dont release and hook him in the mouth ever every fence. That's part of the reason his jump is awkward. He's protecting himself.

Do you notice when you walk over the cross country fence you move your body forward at the last minute? You're walking the fence, not jumping. Stay still, don't tip forward. Let your hands move forward to give him his head. He's less likely to trot away after.

Dressage saddle isn't doing any favours. You may also benefit from some half chaps. They give the leg more grip.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You need a stronger base of support. Your leg is loose and the heels come up often. More time spent in the two point on the flat. Switching between two point, rising, sitting, stand two, sit two, ect. Over poles and cavalettis.
The dreaded legs...lol. I'll give those exercises a shot. Might do them on a trail if he's not being spooky.
Grab mane with both hands over every single fence. You dont release and hook him in the mouth ever every fence. That's part of the reason his jump is awkward. He's protecting himself.
That's the first thing the cross country instructor corrected. I'll remember that next time I do jumping :)


You may also benefit from some half chaps. They give the leg more grip.
I have a pair, I just never wear them. They seem so uncomfortable at the knees. They are leather though, so I probably just need to soften them.

Thanks for your advice :D
 

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The half chaps may also be too tall for you. If they ride up behind your knee then they (just like tall boots) can be very uncomfortable and cause problems. The kids here walk, trot and canter in two point. It is one of the first things they do to help build strength and aid their balance. Once they have it down they move to two point over cavaletti - walk - trot then canter. They gripe and complain but it makes a difference when they finally advance to jumping.
 

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I have a pair, I just never wear them. They seem so uncomfortable at the knees. They are leather though, so I probably just need to soften them.
I find half chaps do need a little breaking in, just like tall boots. They may feel uncomfortable at first, but with a little riding they soften up and will crease in the places where your leg flexes and I find they're then perfectly comfortable.
 

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As said above, the dressage saddle is not the best saddle to use to learn to jump in, but it’s what you have. You can try shortening your stirrups a few holes and that should help.

If there are polo wraps at the barn, wrap your lower leg with those as protection. Best is if they are pony size, horse wraps may be too bulky.
 

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At the height your jumping the dressage saddle isn't a problem, you don't need to rush out and buy a new saddle.
I jumped ponies back in the day when junior riders all rode in jodhpur boots. No such thing as half chaps either.
Children in pony showing classes in the UK and Australia still have to wear short boots, so your lack of tall boots or chaps doesn't scream out to me as being a problem
If your legs are getting rubbed then buy some thick socks - you can always cut the feet out of them and use them like leg warmers.


Your stirrups do need to go up a hole or two, you're constantly reaching down for them and that's destabilizing your lower leg.


If you're worried about the horse hesitating before the jump then ride in a light half seat and stay in that position up too and over the jump - at that height you don't need to be too far out of the saddle anyway and the light half seat will allow you to have more driving power than 2 point, without getting left behind.


You're sitting back too soon - that's probably related to the long stirrups, you getting left behind on take off and a general loss of balance and you needing to build up strength in your core and thighs. That will come.


One thing that really stands out on your horse is how overdeveloped the underside of his neck is. That's not going to help him have a nice, fluid, forward action. Your dressage schooling will help with that so well done you for making the effort


 

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The dressage saddle is not really the issue, with those low jumps a dressage saddle is fine. I often preferred my dressage saddle to jump in as it kept me more stable on young horses I was training.

I think your issue goes back to an unsteady seat in general. It is nice that you are relaxed in your seat, but you are not gently sitting back down when posting, and really just letting the horse bounce you up and falling back down into the saddle.


I think the way you are just falling back into the saddle might be why the horse is hesitating at some jumps. He is getting hit in the back when you are trotting, cantering and especially when you are jumping.


Practice trotting more, so that you can gently return to the saddle, not bang into it. Strengthen your legs by riding two point in trot and canter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The dressage saddle is not really the issue, with those low jumps a dressage saddle is fine. I often preferred my dressage saddle to jump in as it kept me more stable on young horses I was training.

I think your issue goes back to an unsteady seat in general. It is nice that you are relaxed in your seat, but you are not gently sitting back down when posting, and really just letting the horse bounce you up and falling back down into the saddle.


I think the way you are just falling back into the saddle might be why the horse is hesitating at some jumps. He is getting hit in the back when you are trotting, cantering and especially when you are jumping.


Practice trotting more, so that you can gently return to the saddle, not bang into it. Strengthen your legs by riding two point in trot and canter.
Sorry, I'm going to sound like a complete idiot. But how are you supposed to post then? I've heard that posting using your knees is bad cos' it causes your legs to tense up, and you should use the horse's movement to sort of push you out of the saddle?

Also I think it could be a factor, but it's more like when a horse is looking at something that's scary, if that makes sense.
 

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Sorry, I'm going to sound like a complete idiot. But how are you supposed to post then? I've heard that posting using your knees is bad cos' it causes your legs to tense up, and you should use the horse's movement to sort of push you out of the saddle?

Also I think it could be a factor, but it's more like when a horse is looking at something that's scary, if that makes sense.
Good question. Its not that you are going up very wrong (but rather too high) its that you are plopping down on his back when going back to the sit phase.

The rider has to gently lower back down, and really the post is not an up and down movement, it is more moving one's hips forward towards the hands then gently back down. Shoulders should stay still.

At the canter (watch the video) you were thumping down on his back. Your bottom needs to either stay in the saddle at canter or stay out of it in two point. Not slam down every stride.

Focus on making your posting as close (low) to the saddle and gently sit back down. Once you can do that consistently, then work on rocking with the canter, not flopping up and down.

Really this is a common problem, but you seem to have a lot of potential, so these are things you can do to improve your seat.
 
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