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  1. #1
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    Nov. 16, 2009
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    Default Using leg at the base of fences—Someone please help me!

    I have been really struggling with a problem I have when jumping. According to my trainer, about a stride before the fence I quit using my leg and I do not support the horse with my leg at the base of the fence or through the jump at all. This causes me to chip or barf into some of the fences.

    I don’t do this to every fence, but I seem to do it when my horse is heavier and when I am sitting deeper in the saddle. It is almost as if I feel like I cannot go from using my leg to releasing over the fence.

    Does this make sense to anyone else? Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I can fix this issue? I am at my wit’s end and would really appreciate some advice.



  2. #2
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    I have struggled with this myself. How high are you jumping? If it is under 3', I would say to just really focus on finding a balanced canter that you maintain until airborne, and make sure you keep your eyes up beyond the landing side (picking something further down the ring helped me tremendously). Looking past the base of the take off side kept me more focused on the entire jump, not just getting in the general vicinity. Most horses gain momentum on the landing, so if you relax your leg a little there, it is less problematic than just before the take off.



  3. #3
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    Nov. 16, 2009
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    Thank you! I am jumping 2'9-3' at the moment, and this is why this issue has escalated a bit for me.

    Looking beyond the fence is something that I haven't thought about in a while--I will try that and see if that helps the issue.



  4. #4
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    Oct. 14, 2007
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    My trainer sets up a line where the first jump has a ground pole in front it; you trot in and canter out to the second jump usually set at five or six strides.

    The trot jump with the ground pole has helped me use supporting leg to the base without having the risk of chipping or long spot because of the ground pole.

    And where to look when jumping is at the top rail - this video explains it very well -

    http://www.discoverhorses.com/discov...-research-803/
    Train like you have never won and show like you have never lost!!!


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  5. #5
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    Aug. 11, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by doublesstable View Post

    And where to look when jumping is at the top rail - this video explains it very well -

    http://www.discoverhorses.com/discov...-research-803/

    - wow, thanks for posting that video. that's so interesting! I've often been told to look up/past the jump, and I don't like to do it. One of my trainers, who is a really excellent jumper rider, always told me to look at where I wanted to take off, and sometimes he'd draw a line in the ground. He wanted me to keep my eyes on that line and ride to that take-off spot. And you know - it helped. Whenever I did that, I felt like I got a better distance. So my eyes aren't up, which isn't the usual advice, but it works for me. I get confused when I am told to keep my eyes up!

    Sorry, I know I went off-topic. I'm reading this thread because I have the same problem as the OP....



  6. #6
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    Jan. 9, 2012
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    Default

    Just wanted to say that video was so awesome! Very interesting research I always wonder about things like that!



  7. #7
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    Mar. 29, 2004
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    Stevensville, MD, USA
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    I have also had this problem and my horse usually adds a step and we chip. I agree with AliCat that you need to focus on getting a good canter out of the turn to the first jump and support with your leg until you get to the jump. When I do this, the distance works out. Also, I don't sit in the tack except to balance after the lines, the rest of the time I'm in my two point and focused on using that lower leg.



  8. #8
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    Nov. 16, 2009
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    Several years ago I switched from hunters to the jumpers. I never had this problem when I did hunters, and I think it was because I was always in two point coming to the fences. My trainer has really worked to get me sitting back and down in the tack and now I have developed this issue...



  9. #9
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    Mar. 29, 2004
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    Stevensville, MD, USA
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    Have your trainer check your stirrup length also to make sure your not riding too long. Also, make sure you're not riding with too much seat versus leg. That was another thing I had to work on!



  10. #10
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    Jun. 17, 2001
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    The jump is just in the way of your canter. Just keep the canter and look up where you are going next. Or close your eyes 3 strides out-and that really works.

    It's easy to fall into the , 1-2-1-2-1-OMG A JUMP trap and quit riding or make some big change and get in the horse's way while totally having no plan for landing and going away.

    This whole creating a release thing is overblown because you should just be letting the horse close your hip angle which will bring the shoulder forward and create it's own release or using a proper and correct crest release which starts a few strides out and stays until after landing, maybe 3 strides after until you get more comfortable and stronger.

    Likewise, there should not be more then a few inches difference between full seat and whateverm you want to call your jumping position...we are getting sucked into the big heave out of the saddle and up the neck these days. Try not to join the parade on that one. Learn to properly use the hip angle to control the rest.

    Doesn't matter whether you are using a lighter seat or one closer to the saddle. There should not be anything happening at the base, you should be continuing what got you there and will take you away.

    I hope this makes sense? You ride the canter and what comes next, not the action of the horse planting and pushing off...Just go and keep going. In Jumpers, you might want to start a turn or something but you'd initiate that well before the base as well.

    Drop your irons more too, that does wonders to teach consistent use of the aids and discourage big changes at the base. And watch some GM clinics on YouTube then go do what you see and hear.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


    4 members found this post helpful.

  11. #11
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    Aug. 12, 2010
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    What Findeight says! The jump is just another canter stride, focus on the canter and not the jump.

    I was struggling with this too...I'm rusty, after some years off from jumping, and the mare is also jumping again after some time away from it, so we were both getting a little too excited about, and focused on, the jump (no matter how small), rather than just keeping a good canter.

    My trainer had us develop a really good, consistent, soft, uphill canter on a circle. Then she'd add a pole on the circle. Then a little cavellti, then a little crossrail, etc...until we got the idea that all we were really doing was cantering a circle . Did this without stirrups as well, which really did help me just fold my hip and not try to do too much.


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  12. #12
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    Dec. 29, 2009
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    Does this happen most when the spot is tighter and you need to shorten the stride? You say you do it when the horse gets "heavy, which to me sounds like you want to to slow the horse down and are doing so my taking your legs off him. Instead, close your leg and send the horse into your hands to collect him up and shorten his stride by getting him off the forehand and onto his back end where he is supposed to be when he jumps. That will shorten his stride, but do it in a way gives him the momentum he needs to rock back and make a good effort from a close spot as opposed to leaving him without the support he needs when the spot is tight so he has to scramble and chip.



  13. #13
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    Like other have said...

    Riding the canter, or riding in general, is all about having a horse beneath you who listens to your aids.

    All riders who have reached the ability to ride a responsive horse with "feel", know what it feels like to continuously make all those subtle changes with all parts of your body to keep the horse doing whatever it is you want the horse to do. That's what is called riding with "independent aids" in dressage.

    So imagine a rider is good on the flat, and can ride their horse on the aids so that the horse maintains his pace and stride with consistency. That consistency comes from continuous communication (like a phone call) between the rider and the horse.

    If the rider drops the communication with the horse (hangs up the phone) at any time, then the rider just becomes a passenger on a horse who may or may not know what he is expected to be doing.

    One area of riding ability where an advancing rider has to eventually master, is the ability to change seats without "hanging up the phone" on their horse.

    A rider can test themselves for this ability by trying to maintain a constant working canter on the flat while the rider sits deep in the saddle, slowly rises into a half-seat just brushing the tack, and then slowly rises from the half-seat into the two-point, all the while keeping that same quality working canter with the horse remaining on the aids.

    This can be a very difficult ability to master, but it's an ability that allows a rider to change body position while jumping, without having to hang up the phone on the horse.


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  14. #14
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    Sep. 21, 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by alterhorse View Post
    Like other have said...

    Riding the canter, or riding in general, is all about having a horse beneath you who listens to your aids.

    All riders who have reached the ability to ride a responsive horse with "feel", know what it feels like to continuously make all those subtle changes with all parts of your body to keep the horse doing whatever it is you want the horse to do. That's what is called riding with "independent aids" in dressage.

    So imagine a rider is good on the flat, and can ride their horse on the aids so that the horse maintains his pace and stride with consistency. That consistency comes from continuous communication (like a phone call) between the rider and the horse.

    If the rider drops the communication with the horse (hangs up the phone) at any time, then the rider just becomes a passenger on a horse who may or may not know what he is expected to be doing.

    One area of riding ability where an advancing rider has to eventually master, is the ability to change seats without "hanging up the phone" on their horse.

    A rider can test themselves for this ability by trying to maintain a constant working canter on the flat while the rider sits deep in the saddle, slowly rises into a half-seat just brushing the tack, and then slowly rises from the half-seat into the two-point, all the while keeping that same quality working canter with the horse remaining on the aids.

    This can be a very difficult ability to master, but it's an ability that allows a rider to change body position while jumping, without having to hang up the phone on the horse.
    As I was reading all the very helpful replies about what to do at the jump, I was thinking I should also mention something about this, since the OP mentions a relationship between the problem and what seat she uses. This is definitely something that you can work on in the flat work.

    Last year, one trainer told me I took my leg off while cantering up in a half seat. A little while later someone else said I took it off sitting. I was a little confused, because I felt I had the ability to use my leg in either case...so that's when it dawned on me that the problem was not in what seat I was using, but rather in the transition between then.

    Back to an old exercise of 5 strides up in two point, 5 strides sitting. Even that wasn't cutting it so I made it harder by doing 10 strides up, 1 down/9 up, 2 down/8 up, etc until 10 sitting. Counting the numbers had the effect of counting out the rhythm as well, so it was immediately obvious if the leg had come off.

    Lately I have been fairly focused on how I am "putting on my leg" in general, and it definitely makes it easier to maintain a supportive leg when approaching the jump (opposed to the old method of kick like a banshee out of the corner, drop it completely as I near the fence...possibly remember it and shock him with one more good kick off the ground...remove leg again in air, and.....).



  15. #15
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    I really appreciate this thread and all the responses. Very helpful!
    Mon Ogon (Mojo), black/bay 16 H TB Gelding



  16. #16
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    Jun. 15, 2010
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    Do you think you might be getting a bit behind the motion in the last few strides? Sitting deep shouldn't equate to feeling like you can't get out of the tack and follow your horse on takeoff but if your weight it set too far back it will inhibit your ability to get out off the tack easily.



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by GraceLikeRain View Post
    Do you think you might be getting a bit behind the motion in the last few strides? Sitting deep shouldn't equate to feeling like you can't get out of the tack and follow your horse on takeoff but if your weight it set too far back it will inhibit your ability to get out off the tack easily.

    Or maybe feel the horse is too forward so you remove leg instead of holding a bit with your hand and leg to support the horse..?
    Train like you have never won and show like you have never lost!!!



  18. #18
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    Nov. 16, 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by GraceLikeRain View Post
    Do you think you might be getting a bit behind the motion in the last few strides? Sitting deep shouldn't equate to feeling like you can't get out of the tack and follow your horse on takeoff but if your weight it set too far back it will inhibit your ability to get out off the tack easily.
    Thank you so much for saying this! I think this is a big candidate for what could be happening. Now that you say it, I do feel like I am behind the motion. Now how do I fix that?

    Everyone's responses have been really interesting. Much appreciated.



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