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Help me not lean forward so much!

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  • Help me not lean forward so much!

    So I have a bad habit of leaning too forward when I jump. I'm sure part of the problem is my saddle, which I am getting a new one that will fit better.

    How can I stop leaning so forward?

  • #2
    My trainer fixed this in one bareback jumping lesson. If you want to stay on, you don't lean.


    • #3
      Ride without stirrups, walk-trot-canter-jump, all of it without stirrups! My trainer hid mine for a month when I was a junior and I had to do all my lessons jumping 3'6" without them.
      If it's really your saddle, I would think you'd find yourself leaning forward all the time, not just to the jumps. If that's the case, besides just dropping your stirrups, practice sitting the trot and canter with your weight really on your seat bones- almost on your back pockets. It will feel like your out of balance at first but you need to re-train those muscles. Also, sometimes thinking heels down legs forward will get you back, but you need someone to watch and make sure you aren't getting your legs too far forward which creates all new problems.


      • Original Poster

        I do actually lean forward all the time, not just jumping. My saddle is 16" and it is built for a child/teen. I have had it since I was 16. The new one is 16.5.

        Wanted to add too that my legs tend to swing too far back.
        Last edited by Koniucha; Nov. 30, 2012, 05:30 PM. Reason: more info


        • #5
          saddle will help a ton, but once you get it make sure you have eyes on the ground remind you to lean back until you've developed the muscle memory. Really, I've found that reminders are what really get me to lean back. And also thinking "sit back, boobs up" on the way to the fences


          • #6
            Leaning forward and legs swinging back? Sounds like your whole position is off. Are you pointing your toes out, thereby taking your thigh off? Toes should point forward and you should hug your horse with your entire leg (from your butt all the way down your leg). Your weight should not just be in your seat and irons, but all along your leg.
            Check stirrup length. I'm guessing it's long and your leg swings.
            Leaning often is the result of bad leg position causing an unsteady seat. It can also be saddle fit. Rein length can affect it, if you're balancing on your reins. But that often goes back to seat...
            Once you fix your seat, you'll be able to sit up straight.
            Born under a rock and owned by beasts!


            • Original Poster

              Well I just went to the library and got two pilates dvds. I am hoping if I get strong at home, it will help me be a better rider. I really want to be the rider my wonderful mare deserves!


              • #8
                I used to have that problem. I shortened my stirrups by a whole or two and that helped quite a bit. I also found that by grabbing mane a bit farther up my horse's neck also worked.

                With that said, if you have a saddle that doesn't fit you properly, that can throw your balance off. When I was trying saddles, I noticed a huge difference in position when I found the right one. It's kind of like with guys. When you meet the right one, you'll know.


                • #9
                  Use a neck strap. When I was starting to get ahead of my TB my trainer had me jump with one for awhile.
                  Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
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                  • #10
                    Ride a stopper. It's cruel, but it'll work.

                    In all seriousness though, I bet there's something wonky going on with either the balance point in your saddle, the placement of your stirrup bars, or something similar. Sounds like the whole saddle/rider dynamic is off. Can you post links to some pics for us to see?
                    Flip a coin. It's not what side lands that matters, but what side you were hoping for when the coin was still in the air.

                    You call it boxed wine. I call it carboardeaux.


                    • Original Poster

                      Ok, here are some decent pictures




                      The first one is a month ago, the second is a year ago, and the third is about 6 months ago.


                      • #12
                        I think that you and your horse look lovely.

                        No jumping photos? Never mind, I'll have a go! This subject comes up quite a lot at clinics, so perhaps I can help a little.

                        When your horse takes off for the jump and bumps you out of the saddle, you probably fold very well, but I've noticed that even very accomplished riders can overlook one basic part of a good jumping position. They are so concerned with closing their hip angle that they forget that they also need to allow their hips to slide BACK, towards the cantle, to keep themselves in proper balance over their legs (and over their horses' backs so that they don't end up tipping too much weight over the horse's neck and shoulder.

                        You can practice this on the ground without a horse, but warn your friends so that they don't think you've lost your mind when they see you assume a riding position, then a jumping position, with both feet on the ground. Practicing on the ground (or on a table - Denny Emerson does a great tabletop demonstration of this move) will also show you exactly how shifting your hips back (and NOT shifting your hips back) affects your legs and your overall balance.

                        It's a very simple, subtle move, but it really is worth trying. Good luck!
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                        • Original Poster

                          Goodness, I guess I really don't have many pictures of us jumping. Here is a link to the show pictures at our last show.


                          And thank you for the nice comment I really do love my mare and have been waiting about 20 years for her. I know that we could go farther, I just need to ride her better.


                          • #14
                            Something that has REALLY helped me when approaching slightly scary and solid xc fences is something a friend told me, "Get in the back seat".

                            I don't know why, but if I feel myself start to tip forward, I mentally scream GET IN THE BACK SEAT and it helps BTW, the pics aren't bad at all!


                            • #15
                              You look like you are riding over your knee instead of over your heels. You need to stop pinching with your knee and let your weight drop into your lower leg and hug your horse with your calves. This will allow you the stability you need to keep your upper body in balance.


                              • Original Poster

                                So looking back at my show pictures, I feel like some of them are okay. I feel like my position in this picture is good:


                                I do like this one too


                                The other issue are my hands. I feel they need to be more forward..


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by fourmares View Post
                                  You look like you are riding over your knee instead of over your heels. You need to stop pinching with your knee and let your weight drop into your lower leg and hug your horse with your calves. This will allow you the stability you need to keep your upper body in balance.
                                  This exactly. Love the analogy of "huggin" with your calves.


                                  • #18
                                    Shorten your stirrups. A couple of holes.

                                    Then let your weight drop down through your leg. Soften your hips so they will close--but you DO NOT need to do the hunter butt thrust over small fences! Just relax and let your leg/ankle/heel be your base, bot your stirrup/knee. It'll come. Having your trainer lunge you over fences with your arms held outward will also help you feel the correct sink/release.
                                    Flip a coin. It's not what side lands that matters, but what side you were hoping for when the coin was still in the air.

                                    You call it boxed wine. I call it carboardeaux.


                                    • #19
                                      Yep, drop your stirrups..


                                      • #20
                                        I used to have the same problem and I fell off over the front all the time. I fixed it when I started to ride cross country. My horse was quite the dirty stopper and I had to push my butt back when releasing or if he stopped I'd come flying off.

                                        Think about pushing your butt back when you get into two point. I used to feel like I literally had to jump when I released so I could get to the other side but it's really not that at all. I also shortened my stirrups a hole in order to be able to press my heel down a little farther which kept me farther back.