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SnicklefritzG
Nov. 13, 2010, 08:30 PM
Things have been progressing nicely with my lessons - my legs are much tighter than two months ago and I don't get nearly as tired as I used to.

Now that I'm getting back into jumping, I'd like to get some advice on staying with a horse that has a big jump with a lot of bascule. Even though I've jumped up to 2'9" in the past, it was on horses with a flatter jump.

Because I'm coming off a hiatus, the jumps now are low, but the horse I'm riding jumps everything big and he really cracks his back so I find it more challenging to stay with him. Any tips on how to deal with this?

I do a lot of no stirrup work to continue working on developing tight and steady legs. Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated, particularly in terms of hip angle, release techniques and so forth...

EqTrainer
Nov. 13, 2010, 08:31 PM
Grab mane.

SnicklefritzG
Nov. 13, 2010, 08:40 PM
Grab mane.

Believe me, I did a lot of that in my last lesson. :D

JB
Nov. 13, 2010, 09:51 PM
Whatever you do, do NOT look down!

That's bad enough on a regular jumper. But get that back really cracking, and looking down just throws everything all out of kilter.

flyracing
Nov. 13, 2010, 10:02 PM
Time is the biggest factor :)

Just keep working positively and make sure you don't take away the horse's engine to try and makes things easier (it won't).

Sing Mia Song
Nov. 13, 2010, 10:07 PM
Be very careful that you are not launching yourself off your toes when he leaves the ground. It's been a bad habit of mine in the past.

When the horse takes that last stride, relax your calves and drop your heels, and think about pushing your feet toward the horse's shoulders. That last is more of an imagery technique then something you'll actually do, but (at least for me), it allows you to let the horse jump up to you instead of jumping "for" the horse. It also puts you ever so slightly behind the motion, so when he cracks his back it doesn't throw you forward up his neck.

Creaghgal
Nov. 13, 2010, 10:24 PM
Relax. Your body will go with the flow.

rugbygirl
Nov. 13, 2010, 11:24 PM
Be very careful that you are not launching yourself off your toes when he leaves the ground. It's been a bad habit of mine in the past.

This, except for me erase "It's been" and insert "unless all the stars align, it is"

It's like a cycle, big bascule, scared rider, tense leg, weight curls up...face plant on the far side. AGAIN. I find this is aggravated if I think about my "release" too much. I focus on my hands, this shortens my eye, next thing you know I am staring at the fence as we go over, hunched up like Neanderthal man with my heels up. AGAIN. I also have ADD, so my mind RACES...between two fences on a Hunter course, I can literally replay every nasty critique I've ever gotten...that's another surefire way to tense up before the fence and start the cycle anew. You do need some elements of arrogant fearlessness to jump a big horse. You need to KNOW YOU CAN DO IT.

How do I fix this? Well, I haven't. Not entirely. When I am "on" though, my eye is staring at a spot about 8 feet in the air and 20 feet past the jump I'm headed to. I would say I hit my zone one in ten fences. That's just where I am at in my riding. I forget my hands, and only think about loosening my hip and letting my weight drop. It's not "relax"...but it isn't "tense." I am studying the Feldenkrais method right now, and "relax" is kind of a dirty word. Relaxed is not how you play sport. Engaged and ready is how you do athletics...engaged and ready without excessive tension/tone. It is WAAAAAAAAAAY easier said than done...most humans can't even sleep without excessive tension/tone somewhere in their bodies!!

Sadly, I figured this out after I sold my basculey, heart-of-gold TB to a fearless teenage eventer. :) And pardon the CAPS. I'm not angry, I just emphatically, really, really heard and understood your question!

amastrike
Nov. 14, 2010, 12:02 AM
Grab mane and make sure the horse is forward. Have fun!

sptraining
Nov. 14, 2010, 12:11 AM
Showed the eq (or tried to anyways) on a horse that turned into a giant beachball over the fences.

Best tip: short stirrups. I rode with jocky length stirrups. Helped me get off and stay off his back.

Other tips mentioned also helpful.

Good luck!

Equilibrium
Nov. 14, 2010, 05:43 AM
It's even more fun when big bascule horse has a happy buck upon landing!:lol:

And jockey length, really? Because can't imagine that being as how I used to gallop and ride races. Trust me there's short and then short. But yes a shorter length does help.

Sing Mia Song's advice was the best really and something I try to remember. Mind you I'm only just jumping again and sent my very powerful 4yo off to a pro so I wouldn't mess her up during her formative jumping lessons!:lol: But Mia's advice reminds me of when I was learning to come out of the gate effectively. It's quite awkward at first but then someone told me to have one leg a little forward and one a little back, with heels down, and grab mane, and relax. Horse will effectively pull you up and a nice smooth motion and all is well. To me her advice is very similar when dealing with the big jump.

Terri

shawneeAcres
Nov. 14, 2010, 08:37 AM
Yes, grab mane, look UP and REALLY Strech down into your leathers thru your heel! Ask me how I know, have a mare here that we are marketing for the owner, that the first couple of jumps in a schooling session are HUGE! Yesterday we trotted over a 2' x-rail to warm up and she almost jumped me out of the tack the first two fences. After that she gets easier but STILL cracks her back. She is, oddly enough, a stock bred paint. She has good jumping form and a HUGE hind end that she REALLY uses. TO make matters worse, she is built sort of down hill, at least she LANDS very "downhill" so you feel like there is NO HORSE infront of you!! Once I get thru those two jumps, she and I get in sync, but invariably she does it everytime! I wish someone would buy her and make a jumper out of her!

fair judy
Nov. 14, 2010, 09:03 AM
push your heel a little forward the last stride.

lucyeq
Nov. 14, 2010, 09:19 AM
Right before the jump (just until you get used to his jump), you could try getting up into a small half-seat rather than sitting completely on his back. If the horse stops, that is not a good idea, though. Haha. I just know that a lot of people who have trouble staying with the horse have been helped by that.

KitKat987
Nov. 14, 2010, 10:01 AM
I second the extra short stirrups. Makes life a lot easier! I have one jumps me out of the saddle easily and I'm left praying to just please gawd, let me land back in the saddle after being airborne :)

RyuEquestrian
Nov. 14, 2010, 08:11 PM
push your heel a little forward the last stride.

Such a small little tip, but I found that when I did the equitation it really helped me.

That being said, I still have some issues from time to time...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylpC9_8gIyA

Enjoy at my expense.

rugbygirl
Nov. 14, 2010, 08:25 PM
^ I love your horse, he looks very fun! I agree with the video caption, four strides definitely counts for something!

I was thinking about that heels forward thing today, it WAS a good tip, one of those sound-byte kind of ones that is easy to remember and execute :)

At least I think it was good. I didn't have anyone watching. By the end of my session my horse was nicely cantering in and out of some scary natural obstacles that we both balked at initially. That must be good.:yes:

SmileItLooksGoodOnYou
Nov. 14, 2010, 08:56 PM
I ride soft and deep in my seat and try to remember to keep my hands low. If I lift my hands my horse gets really tense doesn't just jump round but jumps extra hard and isn't fluid.


Pushing your heel forward a smidge on takeoff and landing deep in your heel will help.

Pookah
Nov. 14, 2010, 10:28 PM
I think focusing just on heels down and eyes up takes care of a lot of the problem.

Or you could always try my old trainer's approach--she had a school horse who insisted upon a major release and the rider staying with him as he deer-jumped fences. He would give you about 3 "gift" fences where she yelled at you to stay with him, and then he would pretty much take off, then slam his feet back down to the ground and launch you. Only took once for me :-). My friends still enjoy telling the story of how I landed flat on my back across an oxer, bounced and hit it again before hitting the ground, and then practically grabbed his ears the next time through :-)

purplnurpl
Nov. 15, 2010, 10:17 AM
I had to buy a new saddle.

one with knee and calf blocks rather then a knee roll.
Made all the difference.

lisa
Nov. 15, 2010, 10:59 AM
In addition to a shorter stirrup and a new saddle, both of which helped, a GP rider told me to think about jumping ahead just a fraction.

Plumcreek
Nov. 15, 2010, 12:44 PM
What helped me was visualizing every jump as a foot higher than it was. Then I was prepared for the bigger effort, and was secure enough to handle the happy buck going away.

doublesstable
Nov. 15, 2010, 02:53 PM
I had to buy a new saddle.

one with knee and calf blocks rather then a knee roll.
Made all the difference.

Ditto this ^

I kept getting "popped" out of the tack and I was SOOO frustrated... changed saddles was a big help.

AND - - the key elements for me -

1) keep your eyes up (use your peripheral vision to see your jump)

2) keep a good consistent rhythm to the jump (horse in front of your leg, using their hind end and balanced

3) A recent BIG TIME help for me after reading a George M. article - foot in the stirrup; the iron should be straight with the girth, with you pinky toe at the outside branch of the iron.. so basically your foot is "not" sitting in the stirrup straight; the inside branch is back a bit more than the outside branch - looking at your toe cap of your boot. I was told by a very good trainer that top judges say they look at a riders foot in the stirrups... a good rider the stirrups don't move.

4) And - lower leg base is critical!

As you see in Monica's video (thanks Monica by the way) you see over the jump in the slow motion part of the video; her lower leg slips back.

Work on these things and you will find you can actually follow your horses mouth with your hand and that's a great feeling that your body is working independently and you are doing the best you can to help your horse jump well.

And something I tell myself when I am jumping on my unpredictable horses "keep my lower leg at the girth and I should be fine".... if I pinch w/ knee oh goes the lower leg "back" NO pinching either. Good luck!

Show_hunters
Nov. 16, 2010, 11:43 AM
IMO it sounds like the horse is not in front of your leg enough. It also sounds like the horse is doing his job well by rocking back on his hind; which creates the the lovely round jump that we all desire in a hunter.

Sometimes when a horse rocks back on it's hind. They will tend to back themselves off the jump. Which is good and bad thing because when this happens. The horse is self adjusting on it's own to the fence (i.e. make shorter it's stride(s), or may even wiggle as if it's hunting for the fence. As a rider would feel the horse become lighter in the frontend, head may even pop up a little and you feel more of the step coming from behind the horse( as you should. As a note your leg should be a little more forward and you should try to ride the horse more from hind to front and make sure that you are not feeling as if your are behind the farward canter motion at anytime. However riders who are riding behind the motion of the stride will get lost as you try to find your way to the jump. Then if you combind it with a horse that backs themselves off the jump 2-3 strides out (as they should) you will get lost in the motion of the jump and be jumped out of your tack.

A more expressive example of a horse that backs themselve off a jump would be a very talented green horse who is just starting to jump or watch some jumper rounds at the rated shows.

As long as your feel the horse's hindend under you and pushing forward combined with riding up to the jump with your leg slightly forward (but asking for the forward motion) and heels down. Then as you near the jump make sure that you are not leaning at the jump and not over releasing in the air. (as My trainer Chad Keenum say's to me-- "Stop over releasing in the air. It's causing you problems on the backside of the jump." i.e. What Chad means is that my horse Simba would become rushed on the backside or wild or just not composed. Which would create a nasty corner or tough lead change on my horse Simba) . My other advice to you is that on the back side of the jump, you MUST land in your stirup irons (i.e. weight in your heels) and then allow the horse to coast as you stay in 2 point position for 2 strides or so after the jump.
I'm 5ft and 1/2 of an inch and being a shorter rider. I've learned that I must have the horse in front of my leg (hacking or jumping). By doing so it provides you a more stable base of support from hips down. After that your hands and upper body should just flow with the horse softly over the fence.

fair judy
Nov. 16, 2010, 01:01 PM
i like to keep things simple:lol: love that video btw. looks like you didn't have a prayer!!!!!!

i used to be from florida. what "john" do you ride with in gainseville?

Punkie
Nov. 16, 2010, 01:10 PM
I've got a SUPER round hunter who I'm in the process of moving up on. Thankfully he doesn't have the habit of being round AND over-jumping any more, but this was an issue for a long time.

As many others have said, think about "kicking" your feet forward at the base of the fence and breaking your hips back using your core over the top. It should feel like you're doing a squat set at the top of the jump. This keeps your base of support over your heels and you close to the tack but up off your horses back. Grabbing mane helps hugely as well. My other "secret weapon" is breathing at the base. I try to breathe in rhythm with my horse and then exhale at the base of the fence which allows me to relax down into my tack. This has also made a big difference with my issue of throwing my body.

I struggled with this for a long time as I've never had a horse with quite as awesome of a jump, but once I learned to ride it, I can't tell you how much fun it is!! I've taken this guy out XC where he jumps even harder and I thought I'd be terrified...nope, best time I've ever had on an XC course!! Once you learn to ride it, you learn to LOVE it!!

PNWjumper
Nov. 16, 2010, 04:10 PM
I think figuring out what to do to help yourself will partly depend on why your horse jumps you loose. If he simply has a round bascule, but jumps hard (with a tendency towards cracking his back) then you've received some really good advice.

But I will tell you my story with my TB, who used to jump me loose over what felt like every few jumps. He would pat the ground with his front end and then SPRING off of his hind end and overjump by 2-3 feet (often without bothering to bend his front legs). My issue with him was that he has a massive hind end and in his greener years jumped almost exclusively from that hind end (it wasn't any prettier in person than it is picturing it). I'm guessing this is not the issue with your horse, but in case it helps anyone else with the same problem...

The key for me was keeping my pelvis WAY further forward than is/was comfortable. If I sat back too far in the saddle (I *wanted* to sit deep in the saddle to prepare myself for the jump) then the saddle would act like a springboard to launch me forward. I got the dreaded "tacks on the back of the saddle" treatment in a Greg Best clinic to "gently remind" me to stay forward, and that definitely helped (as much as I hate to admit it)! Basically he had me shove my lower leg and my shoulders back while keeping my pelvis literally on top of the pommel of my saddle. Very weird and hard to do at first, but it definitely helped me not get launched.

A different saddle also helped (and his current saddle has very large knee/thigh blocks which I LOVE for him), though ultimately the big difference was figuring out how to stay forward enough while still keeping my balance back far enough.

As we moved up the levels his jump got easier and easier to stay with. At 1.40m he now jumps like a "real" horse because he actually has to use his body parts somewhat conventionally. So at least in my case, my "jumper-looser" got MUCH easier to ride with time. It also helped that all of the dressage work we did helped balance out his body structure and musculature. The straighter and stronger he got, the more normally he started jumping.

Good luck to you! :)

SnicklefritzG
Nov. 16, 2010, 06:04 PM
Thanks everyone for the fabulous responses! In reading them I can see that there are certain things I'm doing that are exacerbating the problem. I'll apply the suggestions at my next lesson and will report back on how things go!!!

Thanks again!!!

RyuEquestrian
Nov. 16, 2010, 07:20 PM
i like to keep things simple:lol: love that video btw. looks like you didn't have a prayer!!!!!!

i used to be from florida. what "john" do you ride with in gainseville?

Our trainer is John Brown of Braveheart Farm in Sanford, FL. I now have this grey mare with him in Sanford and he comes to the farm to train the others in Gainesville. We LOVE him, he's just great with the young ones!

SnicklefritzG
Nov. 17, 2010, 10:17 PM
UPDATE:

I have some great news to report afer tonight's lesson!

I followed the suggestions that were given in this thread and was able to NAIL the jumps tonight right from the get-go!! What helped the most was the advice people gave me to a) have a good pace coming to the jump b) DON'T look down!! c) sink into my heels and push my leg forward just slightly d) don't tilt too far forward from the hips but feel like you are squatting in the saddle. e) grab mane!

The distances were great, the releases so much better than last week, I stayed with the motion, cantered away smoothly and was able to work up to a small course! It went much better than I thought it would.

Thanks again to everyone who responded with advice on what to do. this really helped out immensely!!!

RyuEquestrian
Nov. 18, 2010, 01:16 PM
Great to hear! Congrats and it should only get easier and easier with practice! Way to go :-)

chawley
Nov. 18, 2010, 04:51 PM
I haven't read all the responses, so I apologize if this has been suggested already. I find riding in a two point at the trot to be the best way to improve my balance and strength over the jump (I ride w/out stirrups too). I try to do at least several minutes each direction (without my hands resting on the neck) every time I ride.

And as others have said, don't be afraid to grab mane! I'm working on a green sale horse right now with a huge, round jump (much harder than my horse), and I'll admit, I have grabbed some mane on him lately. ;)

supersly
Nov. 18, 2010, 07:31 PM
My horse i ride when you jump him you need a seatbelt even over a 18" jump! I just learned to grab a hunk of mane get your but out of the saddle and go with him. But i find with him the higher the jump the easier it is, or im use to it now :)

equest
Nov. 19, 2010, 01:59 PM
Such a small little tip, but I found that when I did the equitation it really helped me.

That being said, I still have some issues from time to time...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylpC9_8gIyA

Enjoy at my expense.

LOL... I think you posted that one before, right? Good fall technique, though - I fall like that too. haha

I agree with the pushing heel forward and grabbing mane. I get out of the habit of grabbing mane but I am reminding myself now. Especially these cooler days where horsey is more "up" and he's looking at the jumps and overjumping.

chawley
Nov. 19, 2010, 03:09 PM
UPDATE:

I have some great news to report afer tonight's lesson!

I followed the suggestions that were given in this thread and was able to NAIL the jumps tonight right from the get-go!! What helped the most was the advice people gave me to a) have a good pace coming to the jump b) DON'T look down!! c) sink into my heels and push my leg forward just slightly d) don't tilt too far forward from the hips but feel like you are squatting in the saddle. e) grab mane!

The distances were great, the releases so much better than last week, I stayed with the motion, cantered away smoothly and was able to work up to a small course! It went much better than I thought it would.

Thanks again to everyone who responded with advice on what to do. this really helped out immensely!!!

Great news, congrats on your good lesson!

winfieldfarm
Nov. 19, 2010, 11:47 PM
....gorrilla glue helps me.

Carol Ames
Nov. 20, 2010, 12:47 AM
grab mane, keep your head up, and understand that during your time in the air your horses' back moves:yes:; that is usually when some pros like Rodney let heir legs slide back:confused::o; I am not saying to do it consciously just realize that there is still a lot of movement in the horses' body; keep your lower leg in position; tighten your thighs and enjoy the feeling of the horse curving his back;) ; does he flip his hind end as well:confused:?Keep your head up , back flat; and enjoy the ride:lol:

Carol Ames
Nov. 20, 2010, 12:01 PM
lower leg support is definitely important nut:yes:, realize that you will feel some movement in mid air; this is where thigh support:yes: and a long flat back help:); You can practice unmounted /:cool: standing still folding at the hip with head up:yes: and flat back.;)

Carol Ames
Nov. 20, 2010, 12:12 PM
I recall jumping big verticals :eek:going to he base ;)became easier:cool: for both of us when, I thought of looking UP :eek:at the top of the vertical , closing ,my leg :yes:and feeling the horse "ooze";) up and around ;)the vertical; in a gymnastic like a;) dolphin arcing gracefully :winkgrin:through the water, helps in gymnastics/ combinations