This ^^^^^^. You're really pinching with your knees. That causes the falling forward/lower leg sliding back.
Originally Posted by fourmares
Do lots of 2 point without using the reins or neck for balance, and do transitions without sitting. Relax your ankle, and let your weight drop down through your heel. If you fall forward, your lower leg is too far back. If you fall back, your lower leg is too far forward.
Thank you everyone. I am hoping that my new saddle will help fix some of my problems. I can't shorten my stirrups anymore because my knees would be over the knee rolls.
Maybe it's just me, but when I look at pictures of others jumping, many of them look like they are too forward. Is it just me?
When your new saddle comes, if you still can't shorten your stirrups, then I recommend you send it back.
Originally Posted by Koniucha
And yes, many people do lean too far forward. It's become commonplace to see people laying on the neck. But that doesn't mean that by not leaning forward your position is correct. What you need to be able to feel (and doing this on a lunge line is ideal) is how the horse's jump will close your hip angle. To feel that, you have to unlock your pelvis and to do that, you have to be able to create a solid foundation with your leg. It's a series of stepping stones that won't happen overnight nor without lots of practice. But you'll get there and then once you know what that feels like, you'll never forget it. As much as it's tricky, I think it's easier to feel the motion on a rounder jumper than one who jumps more flat.
First off I admire anyone who is trying to learn and putting in the effort. That being said I come from the old school point of view that you need to master the basics before moving on. How often are you taking lessons with your trainer? How often are you riding in between lessons? Does your trainer give you "home work" to practice in between? As others have said most of your position issues stem from your legs (no pun intended) With your pinching knee, too long stirrup length, heels that are back and up, you look like you are a split second from coming off your horse. If you fix your base of support, most of the other issues will be relatively easy to fix. LOTS of riding without stirrups, lots of lessons and lots schooling rides in between lessons, and please don't go beyond cross rails until you fix these issues. The number one fix is lots of hours in the saddle combined with quality instruction. Your horse looks like a sweetie pie and you want to give both yourself and your horse the best experience possible. Best of luck to you.
You said you are getting a new saddle. Have you ridden in the model and size that you bought? If the problem is that there is not enough room in the saddle for you to shorten your stirrups enough, then a half inch more in the seat may not make enough of a difference. You need to have enough room for the length of your femur. That is created in the saddle by seat size, the position of the flap and the location of the stirrup bars. With a more forward flap you can accommodate your leg without going to a much larger size but many people discover that then need a larger saddle to give their leg enough room (lots of people are riding in saddles that are too small for them because they think a larger size is a statement about the size of their butts, which it's not).
Although much of proper riding is due to hours in the saddle and good instruction, proper saddle fit is really important because if it doesn't, you'll be fighting your tack at every step. A saddle needs to put you in the "sweet spot" of balance -- your leg should naturally hang in the right position and it should be easy to keep your pelvis from tipping incorrectly. A saddle that has the stirrup bars positioned correctly can also make a huge difference. I am very long from my hip to my knee and the only saddles that work for me have stirrup bars that are positioned further back.
Of course it's also important to make sure your saddle fits your horse -- both for his comfort and yours. I think that many people don't understand how an ill-fitting saddle can impact their position. If the saddle is too narrow, it will tip you slightly back; if the saddle is too wide, it will tip you forward.
In regards to 'hugging with your knees', I was told by a previous jumper trainer that a rider should be able to be cut off at (or in the middle, I can't remember where he said exactly) the knees and still be able to ride. Seems like there is alot of different takes on the leg position.
Originally Posted by fourmares
This. Times two.
Originally Posted by Bogie
Seriously, I fought a fair number of saddles that made it extremely difficult to keep my leg under me. Finally a saddle dealer explained the importance of stirrup bar placement, and the difference was immediate.
Makes sense in hindsight. You have to lean forward to keep equilibrium if your legs aren't under you for support.
I agree that it could very likely be a saddle issue. I was having this problem all last year, my position looked very much like yours in the flat photos! Despite much effort with two different trainers' help, I wasn't getting anywhere.
A different saddle made all the different. Two things for me:
1) needed a more forward flap, so I could shorten my stirrups a hole of two without going over the flap.
2) needed a slightly wider twist. Most women prefer a narrow twist because women tend to have round inner thigh muscles (this has nothing to do with having "big" thighs, but with having a round shaped muscle due to the angle that the femurs come out of the pelvis at). My inner thigh muscles are more flat, like a man's and I don't have a big "inward slant" from hip to knee, which is more typical of female anatomy. A saddle with a very narrow twist was not giving me enough support for my thighs and was forcing me to pinch with my knee do stay on it! Pinch with knee...lower leg swings back, crotch heads over the pommel, upper body tips foward.
A more forward flap and a slightly wider twist fixed the problem almost instantly. It's such a relief not to fight the tack any more!
Stirrup bar placement is an issue if you have a long femur (I do)...it tends to put you in a chair seat and be fighting to get out of the back seat if the stirrup bar is placed too far forward. That was not my problem in my old saddle, though I've certainly experienced it in other peoples' saddles.