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what am I doing wrong?

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  • what am I doing wrong?


    I'm trying to break my bad habit of jumping ahead. My problem is that I can't figure out how to solve my issue. I think I'm not riding with enough impulsion so I'm trying to jump for my horse. I have a few pictures from today, they are pretty generous representations, I have some more that really make me cringe!

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!


    I removed the pictures because I'm not sure I'm allowed to post them.

    I'm confused in general because I was reading several sources that said to stay out of your saddle during a class, but at the show everyone was firmly planted in the saddle. I didn't place well. I thought I was in the correct position that was described in my sources, could the judging have been off? Said judge took 30 minutes to judge each flat class (no I'm not exxagerating).
    Last edited by maudie; Sep. 20, 2009, 07:49 PM.

  • #2
    Without pictures, it's hard to say what's going on but I recommend reading George Morris's book, Hunter Seat Equitation. It has good explanations and pictures of proper form.


    • #3
      ditto about the pics. Have you spoken to your trainer about the issue?


      • #4
        Sit the canter in Eq classes. Do a light half seat in hunter U/S classes.

        Jumping ahead can be caused by a lot of things. If you are riding in a chair seat, you are more likely to jump ahead. Too long reins will make you more likely to jump ahead. Riding for a spot instead of riding the rhythm will enourage jumping ahead. Not enough impulsion will encourage jumping ahead. Pinching with your knee will cause it.


        • #5
          Jump with no stirrups. Problem fixed.
          Shop online at


          • Original Poster


            I made them into links, I hope that is OK. pictures belong to me

            I need to talk to my trainer, problem is that she hasn't been in the past few weeks and I've been experimenting with a new horse. I would ride with no stirrups, but I wouldn't trust the horse I'm riding as far as I can throw him/her. The horse in the pictures was a catch ride and the other horse I'm experimenting with is a hot hot hot OTTB, she's sweet, but she has trouble "coming down" once she gets fired up.

            Thank you for the help!

            Is George Morris's book available in regular book stores? The tack store I was at had it priced at 40 dollars.


            • #7
              Originally posted by maudie View Post

              Is George Morris's book available in regular book stores? The tack store I was at had it priced at 40 dollars.
              Amazon has the book for approx $26 new and starting at $10 used.
              Auventera Two:Some women would eat their own offspring if they had some dipping sauce.
              Serious Leigh: it sounds like her drama llama should be an old schoolmaster by now.


              • Original Poster

                Originally posted by RockinHorse View Post
                Amazon has the book for approx $26 new and starting at $10 used.
                thank you! I know what I'm using my gift certificate on!


                • #9
                  I'm by no means a hunter princess. I really do dressage and just jump occasionally. I have taken a limited number of jumping lessons though

                  What helped me the most was to think "butt back" rather than the way I was first taught, which was "lean forwards". In the first couple pics, it looks like you are throwing your shoulders forwards, thus placing all your weight on the forehand. You still need to stay centered over the saddle, so try thinking about sending your butt back in relation to your hands. It helped me a ton.


                  • #10
                    PM sent


                    • #11
                      I have the exact same problem and I agree with Hampton Bay. Try to play the "touch your butt to the back of the saddle" game. It's exactly what it sounds like, and it will help (but feel very strange at first).

                      I also practice getting in a jumping position (different than two point) on the flat at the halt and walk. To do this I place my hands on the neck where they should be over fences (while keeping my seat where it normally is on the flat sections of a course). Then PRESS my hands into the neck while bending my elbows. Don't allow your hands to move at all. This should press your butt back slightly. THAT'S where you should be.

                      Easier said than done, so practice practice practice. (Grids are good too.)
                      Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique


                      • #12
                        I have this same problem- getting better though. It helped me to shorten my stirrups so I had better contact with my lower leg. You only need to get off his back not jump the fence for him. When I was riding school horses, I asked to ride "the stopper" which really helped! Nothing like keeping you in the right place when you don't know if your horse is going to jump or put on the brakes!
                        Good luck.


                        • #13
                          I came across this problem while trying to teach a green pony how to jump. My trainer explained it as waiting to let the pony jump UP to you. Like jumping out of a hole. That helped me figure out how to wait for the pony to come to me.
                          Vixen Run Farm: Breeding and training ponies for the hunter ring!
                          Breeder of the 2008 PAHBF's Best PA Bred Pony!


                          • #14
                            half seat, heels down, chin up, eyes closed.
                            your are anticipating the wrong take off spot, shut your eyes so that the momentum of the horse will be what throws you into 2 point. once you get the feeling you can start opening your eyes again.
                            chaque pas est fait ensemble


                            • #15
                              I had/have the same challenge and my trainer chants at me when I get to the take off spot, "Let the horse make the jump, let the jump come to you".

                              I think it's helping


                              • #16
                                Just some food for thought here...


                                Why not start trying to isolate your core muscles and your inner thigh when you're using your stirrups? Think of the incredible hulk and that power crunch, of course that's extreme, but you need to be STRONG!

                                One thing that works amazingly well for me in a two point/half seat, is to think of compressing my core and using my inner thigh and knee to keep my feet light in the stirrups so that I'm super strong in my position before, over & after the fence. My horses also seem to really like this type of ride.

                                Is there anyone in your area who does "biomechanics" for riders?
                                Stoneybrook Farm Afton TN


                                • #17
                                  To me it looks like you are getting to the bottom of the fence in every picture and getting really close spots. Perhaps if you took off a little bit farther away you would feel more comfortable and not jump up your horses neck?

                                  To work on my equitation I set up canter cavelities about ten feet apart with four in a row and I canter down them and just barely two point and try to keep my body very still it also helps the horse to learn when and where to take off from so maybe give some cavelities a try!


                                  • #18
                                    Lots of good advice already given.

                                    I am definitely no way close to perfect, but have made some improvement in this area. When I want to jump ahead of my horse, I think 'wait' for that split second longer. And I think 'butt back'. It sounds really silly, but it helps.

                                    Lots of practice, especially over really small fences, will help you establish that feeling of waiting.
                                    ~ Citizens for a Kinder, Gentler COTH...our mantra: Be nice. ~


                                    • #19
                                      It is a little hard to tell from the pictures, but I might talk to your trainer about possibly shortening your stirrup length.

                                      Sometimes, when your are a little long in the stirrup, you feel too deep in the saddle and it sometimes makes riders want to get up before a fence, which is not always easy to do without a bit of effort, and this motion carries forward, and gets exaggerated over the fence.

                                      Just a thought.

                                      For me, I was lucky enough to have grown up at a stable and I spent the majority of my time watching horses and riders. So for me it is was always useful to picture what the horse was doing in my head when I was jumping, that and my father was a really technical "feel" kind of trainer, with me anyhow.

                                      So my advice would be to spend more time watching horses jump, period. It is very hard for a rider to correct an issue unless they understand what is going on, and that seems to be where you are right now.

                                      If you have done your flat work you know what it feels like when you balanced and in-sync with your horse at the canter lets say, well you want to get that same feeling when you are jumping. The reason I say watch horses jump is because that is what it is all about, equitation is all about making it as easy for the horse to jump as possible, again form follows function. We ride the way we do because it facilitates the function, jumping, etc. it is all about being in balance with the horse.

                                      If you do not understand the stages of a horses jump it makes it a lot harder to let the horses jump move you.

                                      Without going into a whole big description all horses jump pretty much the same. They are going to canter to the fence, slow down about a stride out, compress and get to their hind end to use their engine, when this happens, if the rider is in the right position and lets it happen without intervention, they will be moved slightly forward in the saddle. Next the horse is going to pull their shoulder up and rock back more on their haunches, this is what puts you in the forward position, not movement by you, as the horse flows through the arc of the jump you are going to go from forward at the beginning of the jump back to almost centered on the horse over the fence, and when the horse begins its descent you will be completely open, and as the horse touches down you will be moved forward again and as the horse opens up its stride after the fence, and flattens out you will be should be back in the essentially the same position you were prior to the jump.

                                      Your position will be opened and closed and opened and closed all by the movement of the horse during the different stages of the jump, and if done properly you have really done nothing more than go with the initial movement when the horse slowed down a stride before the fence, everything else was taken care of by the horse.

                                      I think that today it is much harder to understand this concept of letting the horse move you because so very few riders ride in that classic style, and you see pros, medal winners, etc. all lying on the horses neck, which is something you can get away with visually when a horse is jumping a bigger fence, because sometimes a horse making an extreme effort, or "cracking its back" will catch off guard and that is where you will end up, but when a horse is making a minimal effort over 3' and under it is exaggerated.

                                      Just my thought, your mind may work differently, but regardless of the method it all comes down to one thing the horse jumps not you, and if you get comfortable with that you will always feel uncomfortable if you jump ahead of your horse.


                                      • Original Poster

                                        I really appreciate all the help! I'm definatly going to work on staying back in the saddle more. The one dilemma I have with this is that when I sit too far back I tend to get into a "safety seat" with my feet too far forward. Is it possbly my saddle? Or would a slightly shortened stirrup length help me balance? My main concern is sitting too far back and accidently using my seat as a driving aid with an OTTB I'm working with.

                                        I've been working out every Sunday to try to buld some strength, I'm hypotonic so it's difficult for me to maintain a position. Hypotonia is a condition where the muscles don't contract properly, think of it like a rubber band, a normal muscle is like a slightly tight rubber band while a hypotonic muscle is like a loose rubber band. So you have to do twice the work to get half the results (This is a very quick definition for those who don't feel like researching)