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Help me with my body after the fence

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  • Help me with my body after the fence

    I've been working hard over fences, i've found that my comfortable height is a maximum of three foot, maybe a tad more on a good day. My son recorded a video the other day during one of my lessons.Our trainer suggested that I take it home and find a few things that I thought I could work on. I noticed little things here and there, but one thing that stood out to me and that I quite frankly was embarrassed by was my position on the back side of the jump. I showed our trainer and in her terms it was called a recovery. I've tried to upload a clip to youtube but it still says processing. Not sure if i'll be able to explain this in a way that anyone would understand but this is worth a shot. Over the top of the fence my body seems photographically fine, on video it seems fine as well. When my horses front feet hit the ground my weight is in my stirrup, as he goes to take the first stride after the jump and his back feet land it's looking as if i'm giving myself whiplash! My body seems as though it's just collapsing on the back side of the jump almost putting me into what looks like a two point position on the landing, this is right after my whiplash. It takes about another stride or two before i'm back securely in the saddle and sitting tall. We've worked over some one strides to another stride combinations before but over much lower fences, i've seen my videos and it doesn't seem to happen over the smaller jumps. My son doesn't look like this at all, my own child is the rider i'd love to be I explained this to our trainer while chatting the other day and said it's something i'd like to work on. If anyone has any pointers or can even decipher what I just tried to describe, help would be much appreciated. I'd like to go into my lesson with an idea of what could be going on. I can't say that i'd be the best mount if someone with my lack of technique was onboard
    - Ellen P.

  • #2
    This is a thing that really strong core muscles will fix, but a quick fix for a little while is to lean on your horses neck for support so that when you land you're still balanced. Good Luck!
    My Horse Show Photography/ Blog


    • #3
      I'm also guilty of collapse-on-landing whenever my horse puts more effort into the jump (usually when it's higher than 3' or especially spooky).

      One thing that really helps me is looking up (I'm a chronic "look-down-at-the-jump-as-we-jump-it"er), and to also think of pushing my chest away from my horse by pressing my hands into his neck.

      Tight core muscles are, as others have said, the ultimate answer, but even with a strong core you need to develop the muscle memory and "feel" of not collapsing.


      • #4
        I agree with strengthening your core -- abs, back. But also, just being aware of it now will help you be conscious of it when you are riding. Good luck! I love video of my lessons. It really helps.
        “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
        ¯ Oscar Wilde


        • #5
          Originally posted by ParadoxFarm View Post
          I agree with strengthening your core -- abs, back. But also, just being aware of it now will help you be conscious of it when you are riding. Good luck! I love video of my lessons. It really helps.
          I agree with this.

          Years ago - before video - I had a teenage boy student who had an eye-squinching, breath-holding BAD habit of standing over a fence so the pommel was directly under him. I tried to talk with him about what he was doing, demonstrating the 'fold' rather than 'stand' - but he was convinced he was not doing this. One day, I got a Polaroid picture and showed it to him. His face went white, and very quietly, he said, "Oh. That could hurt." Yup... "Would you show me again what I'm supposed to do?" So I positioned him, he 'practiced' once or twice, then rode to the fence again. He NEVER did it again.

          A picture speaks WAY MORE than a thousand words.

          Good luck!

          Equine Photography in the Northeast


          • #6
            A few things that have helped me with this in the past:
            1. Think about landing and pushing your legs forward.
            2. Watch good Grand Prix riders jump little jumps. I love that look of letting the horse jump underneath you and staying perfectly on the center of balance of the horse. If you study their style on the latter part of the arc you'll see how you differ.
            You don't scare me. I ride a MARE!


            • #7
              tight leg, tight core, look up. I know I'm guilty too of sometimes letting everything get a little too "soft" and it causes me to ride much less effectively.

              Also, you can always grab some mane if you feel like you're whipping your body around-if you do it on take off and landing, it will help keep your body where it needs to be as you develop that new feel.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Kat. View Post
                This is a thing that really strong core muscles will fix, but a quick fix for a little while is to lean on your horses neck for support so that when you land you're still balanced. Good Luck!
                don't do this. Instead, do lots of jumping without reins until you find out where you are supposed to be.


                • #9
                  What are your legs doing in the air and on landi.g?


                  • Original Poster

                    I notice that as my horse is starting to land, my heel is down and my leg is forward but it looks as if my seat is actually overlapping the back of the saddle, or back behind the seat of the saddle. What is going on?
                    - Ellen P.


                    • #11
                      Without seeing an actual photo or video, just guessing here...
                      It sounds like you are sitting to quick after the jump. Try thinking of staying in your 2 point(not a 1/2 seat), with a solid lower leg, through the first 2 full strides after the fence.
                      You may want to grab mane at the base of the jump & keep it through those strides, until you learn the feel of it.
                      When jumping small fences using a placing pole on the back side of the fence may help give you a visual cue on how long you should stay in your 2 point.


                      • #12
                        I find thinking to "land into my leg" along with "hold your shoulder" away from the neck keep me more open and looking less like a crash victim on the backside. Another positive of this is it keeps my eye up as well.


                        • #13
                          Go to an eventing clinic and learn how to jump drops!

                          I agree with the poster that says stay in your two pt. stay in your lower leg - stronger and longer. Press down into your heel at landing, keep your shoulders back, and yes use placing poles and stay in your two pt thru them. Think 'sink' in your hips vs folding over the fences. That may help you stay balanced 'over your leg.' And yes yes eyes up!

                          ALSO raise your hands while you are landing. (you can accentuate this just to learn feel - then modify to look pretty) This helps you and the horse balance and not tip on landing.
                          The cue card kid just held up an empty cue card. For a minute there I thought I had lost my sense of humor. --- Red Skelton