“Oh, I got left behind”, this is a common occurrence in the show ring and training arena. Here are some top tips to help you stay in the centre of your horse when jumping or riding in general.
Establish your Jumping Position
Finding a balance in your riding position over fences is like finding the ‘sweet spot’ of hitting a base ball. You know you have it when you have it. Everything clicks together. You are balanced over your base of support, your legs and seat, and you can feel yourself moving in balance with the horse.
It does take time, practice and effort to achieve the right balance. Luckily, there are many exercises which you can do to assist you.
- At the halt, experiment with your position. Start off at the halt and get in your 2-point. Establish your regular position and gently roll your weigh off your seat onto your lower leg and calf.
- Can you maintain your balance?
- Does the same amount of weight stay in your heel or do you roll the weight into your thigh and knee?
- Do you balance on the reins or fall back into the saddle.
Your lower leg is the foundation of your jumping/2-point position. Drop your weight down and keep your weight deep within your heel and calf. Most people grip with their thighs and which does not allow for a deep seat and heel. Keep your thighs, knees and ankles relaxed to act as shock absorbers.
- Let go of the reins and put your hands:
- Out like wings.
- Above your head.
- Down by your knees.
Can you still maintain your balance? Keep practicing until you can move your hands and arms without any disturbance of your position.
- Move from halt to walk, walk to trot in 2-point.
The change in movement of the horse is great practice on how to maintain your balance and position. If you fall back and/or use the reins to balance on your horse’s mouth, then grab mane or use a neck strap to prevent your seat from falling back on the horse’s back.
- Make riding in 2-point part of your regular routine. You don’t have to be jumping to practice your jumping position. Some other exercises may be:
- Ride in 2-point down the long side and rising trot on the short side (and vise-versa).
- Try a 3 loop serpentine doing rising trot on loop 2 and 2-point on loops 1 and 3. Or even a 4 loop serpentine alternating between 2-point and 3-point.
- Use your 2-point over trot rails.
These are just some exercises you can do. If you have an excellent exercise you would like to share with us, then please write a comment and send it to us. We’d love to hear from you.