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Jumping Finesse: Don't Get Shaken Loose!

May 10, 2008
Do you have a horse who loves to jump? That's great news! Many riders would love to be in your shoes--or stirrups as the case may be.

Some horses take their love of jumping to the next level, and go really big--much bigger than they have to--over jumps. While I would take this problem over a horse who refuses any day, being popped out of the saddle and losing your stirrups every time you clear a jump isn't fun. Once you land in the saddle--kerplunk!--everything tends to fall apart and you have to pull up and try all over again.

There are many reasons why a rider can become repeatedly unseated over jumps. A strong, powerful horse who overjumps can send you airborne, as can a horse with a big, round bascule. Whatever the reason you are leaving your saddle, there are two things you need to focus on in order to stay in it: seat and stability.

If you are preparing to cross a little stream and your horse does the equivalent of jumping a 4'6" fence, you probably aren't going to be prepared for the overkill. As impressed as you may be, you are most likely going to grab the saddle with your knees in an effort to stay on. Once you grab the saddle with your knees it sets off a whole chain of ugly events. First of all, grabbing the saddle is going to cause your lower legs to lift and swing, so you can kiss your stirrups goodbye and say hello to instability.

Next time your horse plans on jumping over the moon, try this. Instead of tensing up and gripping the saddle with your knees, relax and let the horse lift you out of the saddle. Keep your balance over your legs and allow your weight to sink into your heels. With your balance over your legs and your weight in your heels you won't get jumped out of the saddle or lose your stirrups.

If you think I'm making this sound easy I admit it. I am. Because in order to get this kind of confident balance you are going to have to work at it. Spend lots of time in the two-point position on the flat. Riding in the two-point in all three gaits is the best exercise there is for strengthening your legs and stabilizing your position.

Jumping down small grids will also help you. Set up some small cross rails 10 or 12 feet apart--about five or six of them. Let your horse do his thing while you keep your head up, your legs relaxed, your body balanced, and your weight in your heels. With each jump concentrate on staying relaxed and don't grip your knees. Practice this, then practice it some more, until you can jump these grids correctly and in balance.

With a little hard work and effort you'll soon be staying in the saddle over jumps. And that's so much more fun than getting launched, isn't it?

Jumping is so much fun! Stop on by our equine forum and resource links below. Don't forget to bookmark us so you will remember where we are located.

Thanks and Have a Great Ride.
About the Author
Ron Petracek was raised in Souther Idaho,with a black morgan as his adventure companion. His Love for horses has expanded into the largest equine classified network on the internet to date with horse articles,classifieds and social networking. Amazing Equine Network System - Buy Sell or trade anything equine related. Get More Horse Classified coverage and distribution with less cost and work. Amazing Horse Forum
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