I've recently gotten back into "serious" jumping after a several year gap. During that time, I primarily focused on dressage, but I did take equitation (jumping) lessons. I never had a problem with my leg, but now it seems like I can't keep it still. More than that, no matter how hard I try, my leg is completely gone on any fence over 2'9".
Because I'm stubborn and am reluctant to take full blame for this, I'm wondering if it could be my saddle. I sold my Antares years ago, and was given a cheap-cheap AP when I expressed interest in jumping again. I swear it's not leather -- it's some sort of slick devil material.
Am I using the saddle as an excuse? I understand that I need to regain muscle and balance, but at this point I honestly feel like it would be easier to school bareback until I can get something different.
To an extent, yes the saddle can make a huge difference. The way an AP saddle is designed, it's not great for jumping bigger fences. The material it's made of can have an impact too (although I have a slippery Stubben and I love it!) but if it's not fitting you properly, that would make a much bigger difference I would think. I jumped in my friend's Amerigo once and my leg was great. Can you try a few other saddles and see what happens? And of course, lots of no stirrups work in the meantime too!
I fond that when I have an ill fitting saddle I foght myself so much to do anyting right even down do hackign around in it. Now when I got my custom saddle it fixed a lot of the problem, but I still had to change a few things. I practiced and have noticed with the right instruction my leg is 100% better now!!!
Yes, the balance point of the saddle and the position of the stirrup bars can make a big difference. Many (but not all) AP saddles have a deeper seat and bars that are placed more forward. That combination makes it difficult to keep your leg over fences as you are not balanced over your leg.
You should probably try a jumping lesson in another saddle. Maybe you can borrow one from your trainer?
If that doesn't help I have found no stirrups work to be the best for getting my leg strong. Particularly at the trot. You may be very strong for dressage (core, adductors, etc.) and have just lost some of the lower leg "tightness." But do look into the saddle as it can make things much harder.
"We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals" Immanuel Kant
Definitely try riding in a lot of different jumping saddles until something "clicks". You will know when you are riding in something that is well balanced for you.
You may also want to play with stirrup length as well with the help of your trainer. In my case, I found that going up one hole helped quite a bit in terms of secure lower leg position. Everyone is built differently, so what works for one person may not work for someone else. I toe out like a dancer (also took ballet for many years) so I tend to ride with a bit shorter stirrup than most people.
Another thing that I've found helpful is doing a lot of work on the flat in 2 point. I'll go in and out of two point at a trot and canter, and incorporate transitions while in 2 point. It's a lot of work and tiring at times but it has paid off in the long run.
Maybe. I find that my shoulders follow my hands forward and I don't fold at my waist so my leg swings back to counter balance me. I do it in any saddle on any horse but less so on round horses or horses that don't jump round.
I've been adding in no stirrup work to make my leg tougher, and both my instructors are working hard at beating the habit out of me!