View Full Version : Getting left behind when jumping

Mar. 31, 2011, 10:07 PM
Ok... so I feel like I can get on and flat any horse and do it pretty darn well... and I can stand on the ground and tell most people pretty correctly whats going on while flatting and jumping...
I havnt ever really had great horses, always ridden very hot horses, not always the most sophisticated of rides... but I find that a recurring issue of mine is getting left behind when things dont go as planned... bad distance awkward jump or what not... now honestly at the moment I'm pretty out of shape (due to packing on 60lbs from a prescription I was put on) and from that I have certainly lost some confidence...and I'm a super thinker, which can be bad, I tend to overthink and be my own worst enemy, so when things go wrong I panic instead of act.
Now this perpetual getting left behind...can I chalk it up to fitness and not mentally making myself suck it up and go with it... or is this unfixable?
-The odd thing is... I have a pretty decent eye? AND its bad because I know when ill be short or long, but instead of acting on it I freeze up.
Does anyone have some good exercises for this?

Mar. 31, 2011, 10:16 PM
I dont have any good exercises, but I can relate. I gained 30ish lbs and it seemed to totally knock me off in terms of jumping. Exercising other peoples horses on the flat for awhile gave me more strength and gave me a better seat for jumping.

I have actually never had a habit of being left behind...only because I've ALWAYS been on greenies and rushers, so from a young age, I learned to wait, wait, wait, and then go with the motion. Thats the thing that helps me the most....stay with the horse and go with his motion. I know its hard on hot, forward, greenies, but thinking about staying "with them" helps me a lot.

Mar. 31, 2011, 11:09 PM
Its funny because I actually find riding hotter horses to be much easier, but that might be because thats what I'm used to! And its not all the time... its really only when we get into "trouble" that I get left behind, like a long spot or an awkward jump, those are the times I would much rather be more solid!

Mar. 31, 2011, 11:22 PM
I can only slightly relate - I know I used to have a 'tipping' problem at the base of fences, which I've mostly corrected. Now if something comes up iffy and the takeoff doesnt go as planned I am almost 100% left behind...

But anyway. Have faith - its definitely fixable!

AND its bad because I know when ill be short or long, but instead of acting on it I freeze up.
I think here a good solution would be to put yourself in a trot-in grid that will place you long and short from the fence (change the one or two stride from tight to normal to long, ridden on a standard 12' stride). Repetition being key. Once you get the 'long' and 'short' takeoff down you'll be fine...It just sounds like you hit a bit of a mental block (esp. if you can SEE the long and short distance and still tend to lock/get left behind). :) Just take things down a notch, and set yourself up for some easy questions and problems where you wont 'panic'. :) I'm no expert, but I don't think you need to worry about it being a permanent problem!

Apr. 1, 2011, 09:29 AM
I am having the same issue. I just got a new horse and twice I have been extremely left behind. I can flat all day long and feel totally comfortable, but it almost seems like I have lost my nerve to school over fences. Especially at the canter. I think a lot of it has to do with the horse having the hugest, back popping jump ever......

I just had a baby 8 months ago (in addition to a 2.5 year old), packed on the extra weight that comes with that. I am for sure aware that my legs aren't as strong as they were when training and riding 6 horses a day, and I am not in the best shape (cardio wise) either.

It's so frustrating because I can teach all day long, have a great eye but it's like when I get on him and jump anything other than a cross rail or a 2'3 verticle, I am all over the board!!

What works for me, is just doing small courses of little verticals and bigger cross rails. I trot some, canter some. For me, it builds up my confidence and gives me the reassurance that I can do it still and nothing is permanently gone ;) Also, what hydro said. Little grids are great.

Apr. 1, 2011, 10:51 AM
I will start with I am a fluffier rider. However two of the posters also mentioned having trouble after some weight gain. Your saddle may no longer "fit" you as well as it should. It may not need to be a different seat size as much as a different seat depth.
I was having problems a few years ago with getting out of the tack and staying out of the tack. Got a new saddle and was a different rider. New saddle was a flatter and more close close contact.
I will be the first to admit that the extra weight I carry doesn't help but sometimes you are struggling with your saddle and don't realize it.
Just food for thought.

Flying W
Apr. 1, 2011, 01:22 PM
Every time I get left behind it's because I've let the top of my pelvis tip back, opening my hip angle before the jump. It's a subconscious protection response that happens when I'm not focused on the jump or the distance looks un-perfect. If I keep my hip angle closed, we can take off from pretty ugly distances and I'll stay with him.

Carley Sparks
Apr. 2, 2011, 04:07 PM
Grid work is great for working on your position without having to worry about finding a distance, etc. Amy Millar posted a series of three trot grids with variations for different skill levels here:


As for the panic, that used to happen to me. I was so worried about making a mistake that I'd freeze and make no decision or make a hasty one. It's a confidence thing (at least it was for me). I find singing as I canter to the jump helps (quietly, to myself); it keeps me out of my head and focused on 'the feel.' Looking at the top rail helped, too; I'd find more flowing distances.

Ps-EVERYTHING is fixable!

Apr. 2, 2011, 04:48 PM
Getting distances is a key factor here, getting in shape is something that will come with time.

Pole work. Canter down a line of poles separated by 22 paces (5 strides) and work on getting the perfect distance each time.

Count down your strides to the fences. 4..3..2..1..up! I do this a lot to prevent me from over thinking and to perfect my ability to see a distance - works like a charm! Practice counting down farther and father away.

As for getting in shape...two point at the walk/trot will help your lower legs, as will doing the up-up-down exercises. Try to prevent your hips from moving in the two-point (you may need to hold the mane for balance) and engage your core. It's tough!

Most importantly, make sure you get out and exercise!

Best of luck :)

Apr. 2, 2011, 08:07 PM
Getting badly left is a terribly scary feeling! I had this problem recently with my new horse. I was working really hard over the winter not to get ahead of him and I think this might have contributed to the problem. Then I got out to my first show this season. My normally catatonic horse was pleasantly alert and he is a very round, lofty jumper, not the easiest thing to sit anyway. He saw the longer spot to an oxer in the warm up ring and I saw the chippy spot. Horsey took his spot and I didn't. I saw my life flash before my eyes and I think my leg swung back so far I must've kicked him in the flanks, poor thing. Luckily he was a total saint and didn't react at all, even in the crowded warm up ring. Only through his generousity did I stay mounted. Getting left really backed me off.

Yes, getting the distances solves the problem but it isn't possible to get the perfect distance all the time. I can ride a nice spot very well, but I think the really god riders can "smooth out" a less than ideal spot too. It's an important skill. To fix me, my trainer had me ride in my half seat while jumping for the rest of the day. I found that staying in a half seat when approaching the jumps helped me be prepared to stay with the horse even if he took a slightly long spot. I also held some mane a couple of strides out (no shame in it) if I didn't see a good distance. That way, even if we had another "miscommunication" the chances of me getting left were minimal. A down side of this approach is that you're at more risk of getting ahead, but you don't necessarily have to get ahead. Those are my suggestions, approach the fence in a light seat and grab mane. It helped restore my confidence and I didn't have the issue in my lesson the following week.

Apr. 3, 2011, 09:03 PM
I understand the getting left is a big no-no with the h/j community, but, honestly, coming from an eventer, you could have FAR more dangerous bad habits (ie, jumping ahead). We always tell people that no one ever fell off getting left (ok...it does OCCASIONALLY happen).

However, it is annoying when it becomes a habit, and I totally get why you want to fix it. Yes, being out of shape can make it worse (seen it with our own riders), so working on your fitness and strength should help.

Other things to do would be shorten your stirrups so you are better situated to follow the horse better (making sure you saddle is appropriate helps, too); try and breath and relax while jumping- focus on the rhythm and NOT on the distance; use placing rails and gymnastics to take the guess work out of getting to the fence so you can focus on your position; think of allowing your hands forward (a little!!! Not up to the ears. Just a couple of inches) to encourage your upper body to follow the horse.

When you DO get left, try to make sure you are sympathetic and slip the reins to allow the horse to use himself (unless the horse is being an ass/taking over and you need to halt it's ass on the back side). Event riders are experts at this, so if you aren't sure you're riding "getting left" right, watch some xc videos. ;)