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Help with Leg over Fences?

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  • Help with Leg over Fences?

    I've been having a kind of interesting issue with my equitation lately. My leg is great on the flat, very quiet and secure, and I do lots of two point and riding without stirrups every ride. However, my leg is terrible over fences. Even when I think that it's still, I can see in videos and pictures that it isn't. These are little jumps, too, only about 2'-2'3". Any ideas about how to fix this?

  • #2
    What exactly is your leg doing? Are you pinching with your knee, etc.

    However no matter what the problem is, the best thing I can suggest is.... off with the stirrups! Take them completely off your saddle for awhile. This will strengthen your leg position and put it in the proper position better than anything.


    • Original Poster

      Thank you! I'm not pinching with my knee; like I said, it feels like I have perfectly even pressure throughout my leg, heel down, legs secure. I don't really know why they're sliding, I do entire rides without stirrups and they're fine, and even when I jump without stirrups they're fine, it just seems to be jumping with stirrups.


      • #4
        Is your lower leg slipping back? If it is, you are probably jumping before your horse. Don't throw your hands and your body up your horses neck and wait for your jump.


        • #5
          I agree with snowfox. You may just be jumping ahead of your horse which in turn pushes your leg back. If you have pics, is your crotch (sorry) in front of your pommel? If so, definitely work on waiting for the jump to come to you, and think of pushing your back side back.
          “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
          ¯ Oscar Wilde


          • Original Poster

            Thank you both! I looked over some pictures, and I am jumping ahead. I guess I just thought that that was a result of my leg slipping, not what was causing it to slip, haha. So that brings up another question... how do I stop jumping ahead?


            • #7
              If you are jumping relatively small jumps, try just pushing your hands down (without putting weight into them) on the horse's neck over the jump rather than throwing the reins/releasing up the neck. This helps keep your upper body from following your hands forward, and if your upper body is balanced, it will help keep your leg still. For whatever reason, when I was working on this exercise the other day, it pretty instantly let me just close my hip angle over the jump without making a big move.


              • #8
                some might disagree with this, but in high school and on my NCAA college team, our stirrups were tied with twine to our girths. It works great-you can feel the tension on the twine when you jump and your leg is trying to slip backward. after a week or two your calf muscle memory will keep it where it needs to be.


                • #9
                  I have been dealing with this also jumping over relatively small jumps. You don't really have to get out of the saddle much. I would agree with BostonHJ's suggestion.
                  The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
                  Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.


                  • #10
                    Let the horse jump underneath you. No need to move from a nice two point over small jumps. Practice being very still with your body on the approach and just stay there.
                    You don't scare me. I ride a MARE!


                    • #11
                      Unless your horse is jumping the crap out of the jumps, your body should just stay in a light two point over the fences, it may not look pretty, but it will keep you and your body still until you move up to the big fences. My trainer used to make me do this while doing grid work a lot, and it's helped me a lot with my leg and upper body/timing over fences.
                      Save The Date 08-15-2011


                      • #12
                        I know that I sometimes jump ahead out of fear of being left behind. If you have your hip angle closed and hands pressed into the neck, it is very hard to be left behind.


                        • #13
                          Also, check your stirrup length. I know the jumps aren't big, but you could potentially be riding with too long a stirrup even for flatwork and low jumping.
                          There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the
                          inside of a man.

                          -Sir Winston Churchill


                          • #14
                            If you are jumping ahead, you probably aren't seeing your distance. You need to work on your eye first and then you will stop jumping before your horse.


                            • #15
                              Some people may disagree with this but if you have a very calm horse and are in an enclosed environment, closing your eyes may help. Turn to the fence, get straight and about 3 or 4 strides out just close your eyes. Any school horse should be able to navigate a small fence without help from you and this will take your guessing out of the game. You won't be jumping ahead as you won't know your jumping until you actually are. We used to do this all the time when I was younger. Really good for developing a feel and once you get good at single fences you can practice with a gymnastic! Big thing is to just wait for your horse to jump!


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by equisusan View Post
                                Let the horse jump underneath you. No need to move from a nice two point over small jumps. Practice being very still with your body on the approach and just stay there.
                                So are you saying be in two point before getting to the jump? Jumping ahead is one of my issues too, and I've always wondered if getting into two point strides away would help or make things worse!


                                • #17
                                  Reminder: a picture is worth a thousand words...just saying...
                                  Inner Bay Equestrian


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Originally posted by M. O'Connor View Post
                                    Reminder: a picture is worth a thousand words...just saying...
                                    I would, but I don't know how to add pictures on here. :/

                                    Thank you everyone!


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by RolyPolyPony View Post
                                      So are you saying be in two point before getting to the jump? Jumping ahead is one of my issues too, and I've always wondered if getting into two point strides away would help or make things worse!
                                      There's a difference between "jumping ahead" and "getting into two point early". You could ride an entire course in two point, if you wanted, and never sit down in the saddle.

                                      A lot of times, when people are just learning, I've seen instructors (and mine has done it with me too) say, "get up in two point a few strides out and just stay there!" so I am not caught up in trying to get myself all up and together into two point as the horse is going over the fence. I mean...there's only so much my little brain can concentrate on one time so until I got the feel better, it was easier to do it that way and then work on doing it as he was actually going over.
                                      The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
                                      Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by RolyPolyPony View Post
                                        So are you saying be in two point before getting to the jump? Jumping ahead is one of my issues too, and I've always wondered if getting into two point strides away would help or make things worse!
                                        What equisusan is saying, I believe, is rather than getting up into a two-point position in preparation for the jump, let the jump come to you. Your horse's natural thrust over the fence (with the exception of very tiny fences, in which he can basically take a large canter stride over), will lift you up into position. You have to do much less than you think you have to do.

                                        I've always been told to just sit there and let the fence come to you. You don't have to count your strides in order to figure out when to get into two point. It can be difficult when you're hard-wired to get up into two point before the fence, but try it. Just sit there, relax, look up, and let the fence come. When your horse jumps, the arch and thrust of his back is going to lift you up. When you feel that happen, all you have to do is stay off his back and release. This is going to help you to not jump ahead. So many people jump ahead because they are anticipating the fence, and trying to jump before their horse.