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SilvyFilly
Jun. 8, 2011, 10:42 PM
So I had this long post with explanations and excuses(LOTS OF THEM) written up and I lost it so heres the short version.

6 y/o QH Mare - can be naughty at times(run outs mostly, but quite dirty when she feels I screw her up too much), but really LOVES jumping
25 y/o rider(me), with terrible leg position, and always feeling like a hot mess over fences.

I need help!! Advice, anything is appreciated. I want my horse to still love jumping without me scewing her up so much. Thanks everyone!

Evidence -
Video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMAEb88Kga4

Pictures:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v292/silvyintegra/jump.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v292/silvyintegra/silver.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v292/silvyintegra/silverfunnyjump.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v292/silvyintegra/silverjump.jpg

RSEventer
Jun. 8, 2011, 10:48 PM
Release over the jumps- if you hit her in the mouth, very BADDDDD!
Work on lower leg position....read thread about William Fox Pitt regarding balance....
Cute horse, great turnout....work on it, you will get it! Good for you for asking for comments!

wcporter
Jun. 8, 2011, 11:04 PM
Agree with above and would go so far as to say stop jumping until you can correct your release get more weight in your heel. You also need to get off your horses back over the fences. This means back to basics with two pt. over cavaletti, etc. Do you get lessons or have access to trainer?

You really dont want a horse who anticipates getting banged in the mouth over fences :no:

You eye is good though!

Good luck!

AliCat518
Jun. 8, 2011, 11:13 PM
Definitely more release, but I would also say work on your seat and core.

I always think of riding the canter rhythm to the jump. Your horse seems a bit quick..maybe off balance. Especially in the corners. I would work to really collect and have a great rhythm to the fences.

hydro101
Jun. 8, 2011, 11:15 PM
Work a bit in two point until you can keep your weight centered. Poles on the ground, little cavaletti, small cross rails, etc.

ltmac
Jun. 8, 2011, 11:26 PM
Glad to see you two having fun! Try to work on the development of the canter as well as your balance and therefore release. :)

lstevenson
Jun. 8, 2011, 11:27 PM
First, I would shorten your stirrups a hole or two. Then I would spend some time working on your balance in two point position in trot and canter, making sure you can balance independently of the horse. Think hips back, and weight down into your heels. And practice keeping your two point position through some simple gymnastic lines, which will let you focus more on your position and keeping your balance as your horse goes through the line of jumps.

Your horse is really cute!



http://www.MyVirtualEventingCoach.com
Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/My-Virtual-Eventing-Coach/121366797928434)

SilvyFilly
Jun. 8, 2011, 11:33 PM
In the video - the goal was to make the three strides between the jumps, since she is a horse with a shorter stride we were adding in a 4th chipped stride that really threw us off, so I was trying to push her out to lengthen to make the 3 strides, but it just comes off as her going faster....still working on that one.

As far as core goes - I am currently working on that one too, due to an old back injury that has flared up, my core is gone and these issues with jumping arose about 6 months ago during that time period.

Thanks everyone for the great comments, keep them coming! I am breaking out the 101 Jumping Exercises book for tomorrow :)

allison finch
Jun. 9, 2011, 12:30 AM
You are grasping so hard with your knee, the lower leg is unable to "wrap" around your horse and make contact with you inner calf. As a result, your lower leg and upper body pivot on the knee. You lower leg swings back. You need to make your contact with the horse with the inside of your calf and sink your weight into the stirrups, flexing your ankle.

Your body is "locked" into one position. Relaxxxxxxxxxxx your back and seat. Until you can relax your back and legs, you may find it difficult to feel the flow of the horse.

Luckily, you have courage. When you start unlocking that leg, you will find it much easier to move with your horse.

stoicfish
Jun. 9, 2011, 01:26 AM
FWIW, (and that is probably not worth much). I think your lovely mare is a bit down hill and running on the forehand towards the jumps. It might be easier on both of you to slow down and get her to shift her weight to the back. I don't think you are a mess, just learning like everyone else. Do you have access to a seasoned jumper that can give you a better feel of where you need to be? Sometimes it is very hard if both partners (you and horse) are out of balance, you end up getting in each others way. For you, training over jumps with no stirrups (or reins) on a balanced horse. For your horse, lunging over cavalletti to help with balance and conditioning. Some horses are built for jumping and other have to develop the muscles (shape) to be able to carry a rider over jumps. Lots of good books about training with cavalletti.

sandycrosseventing
Jun. 9, 2011, 07:36 AM
In the video it definitely looks like your stirrups could go up a hole or two. Then live in your 2 point trying to equalize the contact throughout your entire leg. It looks as though you are pinching a good bit with your knee and inner thigh. Think of landing in your feet. Nice horse. You both look like you have lots of potential.

Reagan
Jun. 9, 2011, 08:56 AM
I would stop jumping for just a few weeks. Work solely without stirrups or in two point. It will SUCK and you can build up to it slowly if that is easier, but be able to do a whole ride without stirrups and a whole ride in two point. You are going to be sore (a lot of waddling lol) but it will make such a difference. Then go back to jumping. Just do small cross rails at first and work your way up. Start by approaching the jump in two point and just staying put until 5 or 6 strides past the jump. Get to where you are comfortable with the horse moving underneath you, having an adequate release etc before you start two pointing just over then fence.

You will get there! It is a long process and we often have to take a few steps back before we can take a confident step forward! Good luck and very cute horse!

GotSpots
Jun. 9, 2011, 09:35 AM
Racing to "make" a distance doesn't help you in the long run, as it only encourages a flat, flinging stride. Couple that with some insecurity in your position, and you're going to end up with jumps that are at best awkward and at worst, a stop-or-fall.

Here's what I would do in your situation, and bear in mind that this is all based on pretty limited photos/video - so my first and biggest advice is to find a good trainer and work with them. Even if you can't find an eventing training, a good H/J trainer who can drill you on your position could be really really helpful here. Particularly if he/she had school horses available, a good set of lessons would likely be invaluable. But, even without a great trainer, I would start by raising your stirrups a hole or two and practice holding yourself in 2 point at the trot and canter without your rear touching the saddle and without pinching through the knee. Think about sinking into your leg and wrapping it around the horse, with even contact through your lower leg. Use a grab strap around your horse's neck if you need it, and work toward being able to circle the ring with one or the other hands out to the side, on top of your head, etc. I find this exercise is made easier by having a good off-horse workout program that includes things like squats along with cardio, as well as a strong core component (pilates, for example).

Don't expect change overnight - it'll take a few weeks. I would not be jumping during this time, but think of it as position bootcamp. Once you're a bit more solid in your flat position, add a rail on the ground and canter over it in a circle, maintaining that same, solid, two point you've been practicing. Don't change the canter, don't change your position. This can be great on a lunge line, or just on your own 20 meter circle. Once that's no-big-deal, then you can raise it to a small vertical and repeat. The idea is to keep your canter and position the same, and continue to strengthen your leg and base of support. Only once that's all in good place (and don't forget to go both directions!), then start adding in a single fence or two.

In other words, slow everything down and go back to basics. Going fast, trying for distances etc. just makes things worse when the base of support isn't there.

riderboy
Jun. 9, 2011, 10:18 AM
First, I would shorten your stirrups a hole or two. Then I would spend some time working on your balance in two point position in trot and canter, making sure you can balance independently of the horse. Think hips back, and weight down into your heels. And practice keeping your two point position through some simple gymnastic lines, which will let you focus more on your position and keeping your balance as your horse goes through the line of jumps.

Your horse is really cute!



http://www.MyVirtualEventingCoach.com
Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/My-Virtual-Eventing-Coach/121366797928434)

Agree. Plus you're being way too hard on yourself, you're a nice rider! Also, if you shorten your reins a bit your hands will be the first thing over the jump.. But experiment with shortening your stirrups, it's amazing what just a hole difference can do for your base of support. I'm a taller rider and I try to stay in a "lighter" (not a true two point) seat by weighting my stirrups a bit more so I don't bang his back, he hates that!

rhymeswithfizz
Jun. 10, 2011, 12:48 AM
You are grasping so hard with your knee, the lower leg is unable to "wrap" around your horse and make contact with you inner calf. As a result, your lower leg and upper body pivot on the knee. You lower leg swings back. You need to make your contact with the horse with the inside of your calf and sink your weight into the stirrups, flexing your ankle.

Your body is "locked" into one position. Relaxxxxxxxxxxx your back and seat. Until you can relax your back and legs, you may find it difficult to feel the flow of the horse.

Luckily, you have courage. When you start unlocking that leg, you will find it much easier to move with your horse.

This. A good trick is to think about turning your toes out to prevent that knee from grabbing as easily. Shorter stirrups will make this much easier. I disagree about taking away your stirrups at this point... That only makes a knee grabbing habit worse. But what you can do is take away your hands... No more balancing on her neck. This will be very revealing as to when you fall out of balance (if you pinch, you can't properly balance).

Lovely pair!!

jetsmom
Jun. 10, 2011, 01:06 AM
You are grasping so hard with your knee, the lower leg is unable to "wrap" around your horse and make contact with you inner calf. As a result, your lower leg and upper body pivot on the knee. You lower leg swings back. You need to make your contact with the horse with the inside of your calf and sink your weight into the stirrups, flexing your ankle.

Your body is "locked" into one position. Relaxxxxxxxxxxx your back and seat. Until you can relax your back and legs, you may find it difficult to feel the flow of the horse.

Luckily, you have courage. When you start unlocking that leg, you will find it much easier to move with your horse.

THIS^^^^.
You're really pinching with your knee and have too much foot in the stirrup, so you aren't able to relax your weight into your heels and wrap your lower legs around horse.

Shorten stirrups a hole. Practice doing transitions in 2 point without using your hands for balance. Do w/c/t/c/w/t etc. Really concentrate on relaxing your weight through your heels (as opposed to "pushing" heels down).

Your lack of a solid base is causing problems with catching her in the mouth over jumps.

On the flat, stretch tall, and use some inside rein/inside leg at the girth to get bend and not "motorcycle" around corners. It'll make it easier to see your distances.

pixie
Jun. 10, 2011, 09:07 AM
I see a horse that is possibly sore in her front feet....evident by the way she is going through the turns. This would also fall in line with the fact that she doesn't (can't) lengthen her stride. I would address that problem first with a very good farrier and Vet.
Then I would only work on balancing her and adding the stride to the jump until she is stronger behind.
For you, I like your tenacity but like everyone else said, go back to basics.....two point, two point without stirrups for short amounts of time at all gaits. Work on bending your arm more (lifting it slightly) to help with your horses balance and your fluidness to follow more both flat and jumping. Work on releasing (not just planting your hand) over poles at all gaits. A good exercise is to go in an exagerated half seat where you are so low your elbows rest on the horses neck...get it right at the walk first both with and without stirrups before trying it at trot/canter. Your leg will want to slip back.....have someone watch you until it is right.
Keep up the good work!

moonriverfarm
Jun. 10, 2011, 09:11 AM
She is way cute and with some simple exercises you will be much more secure in your seat and have even more fun!

SilvyFilly
Jun. 17, 2011, 09:09 AM
So here is an update:

Did a wonderful lounge line lesson with my trainer yesterday to work on balance, two point, ect. She decided to switch my saddle, because she had ridden in it once at a horseshow a few weeks ago and really disliked it. So we switched saddles. Complete night and day difference. Like 80% of my issues were gone, and fences were SO much easier, more balanced, easier to put leg securely on horse and be wrapped around, easier to keep heel down. My old saddle has a tendency to push you forward so most of the time I am either leaning forward or battling to lean back to keep balance. Makes sense how over fences I am completely unbalanced and am being thrown onto my horses neck and catching myself with my hands, and having a death grip with my knees. So now I am trying to figure out how I am going to afford to buy another new saddle! Eekk!

katie+tru
Jun. 17, 2011, 09:17 AM
Glad you found an attributing factor to your struggles. Just don't be quick to blame everything on the saddle. Things like your release and timing have little to do with it.

I'd say the best thing you could do, besides lounge lessons (with no stirrups or reins!) would be to jump without reins. If your trainer has a really honest horse that would just jump crossbars without you holding on it would be a great opportunity. Trust me, you learn really fast how to self-correct your position when you don't have reins (or stirrups even) to balance off of. It also helps your timing because if you don't get out of the saddle, which is one of your issues, you'll get smacked in the butt by it. You WILL become aware. lol

SilvyFilly
Jun. 18, 2011, 10:26 AM
See thats the thing! Getting out of the saddle was so difficult in my saddle(without my stirrups cranked up SO high that had my knees flopping in the wind like a jockey) it was hard to get out of the way of the saddle during the jump that when we tried the new saddle, it became mostly a non-issue, had NO problems getting my big behind out of the saddle. Still has some knee gripping issues, but I only said 80% improvement! And balance was much better because I was actually capable of balancing myself. I am not putting ALL the blame on the saddle, but I am going to be looking for a new one in the future because I've always hated it. :) Still working on everything though. I am not going to abandon all my two pointing, lunging, and balance work because it's been great work, and i can start seeing a difference regardless of saddle change.

eventer_mi
Jun. 19, 2011, 05:41 PM
I am late to this thread, but before I even got to your post about the saddle, I was watching your video and saw that as you canter to the line, your lower leg is behind you - I was thinking "I'll bet she pinches with her knee over the jump" and sure enough, you did. So that got me thinking that you needed a different saddle.

Yes, your mare isn't balanced to the jump which is why you have a funky distance to the first, but your saddle isn't helping you at all. I have the same problem in certain types of saddles - Amerigo, Bates, and some Prestiges. What kind of saddle are you currently riding in and what kind did you ride in that helped your leg? We can definitely help you find one that fits your budget! It's amazing the difference a well-balanced saddle can make.

SilvyFilly
Jun. 19, 2011, 06:53 PM
The saddle I am using is a....well honestly i don't remember but it's pretty much a no-name crummy all purpose saddle, I kept it because it always fit my horse really well. The saddle we switched to was an old Hartley with no knee rolls, which isen't going to fit my needs long term, but it was nice to ride in something that was more balanced. As far as finding a saddle yes, I need help. I am going to go to the tack store here in few weeks and sit in a ton to see which ones feel right enough to maybe try out. I do have a budget- less then a $1000(cheaper would even be better), and preferably something thats more on the close contact side, I do have shorter legs, I am 5'5". Any ideas?

Snapdragon
Jun. 19, 2011, 08:52 PM
Never underestimate the power of an ill-fitting saddle. It really does make a difference. I finally got a saddle about 4 years ago that fit me perfectly (I'm 5' and need a very short flap) and horse as well-it's a WOW! experience. Up to that point, I never rode in a saddle that truly fit me. It was always at least a bit of a struggle, which I never truly realized.

I don't have suggestions for saddles for you, but mine is a County Innovation. It cost a lot but has been well worth it. The right saddle is out there: Keep looking.

lucyeq
Jun. 19, 2011, 09:06 PM
Try staying over after the jump for about three strides. Do lots and lots of two point. Especially without stirrups! It seems like you're letting horse rush the last few strides to the jump. Shorten your reins and keep a light feel of her mouth and RELEASE. Try to maintain the same rythm to the jump.

tpup
Jun. 20, 2011, 06:55 AM
We are in very similar riding positions and our horses look ALOT alike btw....First of all, give yourself lots of credit. You are a very good rider. Also noticed the knee-pinching and wanted to comment on the saddle. It definitely seems off, and you mentioned you are short. I notice that there is no where for your knee to go. It SEEMS that you have a longer femur. Make sure the saddle you choose fits your upper leg in the jumping position, and that your knee isn't creeping over the edge. Glad the other saddle seems to be helping.

We are only cantering jumps every once in a while and spending most of our time trotting in two point over jumps, but right now my trainer has me in two-point, two-point and two-point. If my leg gets wonky, back into two-point I go until I get stronger and get that weight down and around my horse. Another thing that helps me is looping my finger around a bit of mane. Keeps my hands forward and stops me from banging in the mouth. When we do canter jumps, trainer has me in two point several strides before securing my position before we go over.

We also do two-point transitions in our flatwork - alot. I seem to fall apart on the down transitions - foot goes back and I pinch a bit so we do more and more until it gets better. It DOES help tremendously. I did no-stirrups work this spring and it did help, but only when my trainer watched to make sure I was doing it correctly. I was initially pinching which was counterproductive.

You'll know you are doing enough two-point when you are sore ;)....ALOT. Also, engage your core. I know you mentioned recovering in that area, but when my teacher says "core, core" even at the canter, everything improves and I always say, "Wow - THAT is what was missing!"

Good luck and keep up your courage and tenacity.

alto
Jun. 20, 2011, 01:34 PM
The saddle we switched to was an old Hartley with no knee rolls, which isen't going to fit my needs long term, but it was nice to ride in something that was more balanced.



You can likely pick one of these up for ~$200 (or less) & that would give you time to sell your other saddle & increase your budget (at least have the room if you find something you love for more $$) ... maybe ask your trainer if you can borrow/buy the one she has :yes:

eventer_mi
Jun. 20, 2011, 02:10 PM
I have heard great things about the Phillip Fontaine saddles - I think those will fit your budget. Classic Saddlery has a Pariani Maximus for $800 that might work for you: http://www.classicsaddlery.com/closeouts/toulouseparini.htm - I've heard the balance on those are pretty nice.

purplnurpl
Jun. 20, 2011, 02:22 PM
1st. don't be so hard on yourself...it's not all you.
Your cutsie grey horise lacks balance and suppleness. This makes jumping well basically impossible.

So first on the list is MAJOR dressage work to teach horsie poo how to canter and other.

2nd, is your balance and fitness. We know you don't step into your heal because of the pics you posted.
shame. shame. shame.
Time to work on your fitness.

for now when you jump use a neck strap. :yes: