Rider Reminders for Jumping

Jump schooling
  1. When you’re focusing on your horse, it’s easy to forget about your position in the saddle. Adjust your stirrups to a length that hits your ankle bone or slightly above when your foot is out of the stirrup. Raise your seatbones out of the saddle, letting your weight drop down into your heels as your base of support. The stirrup should be under the ball of your foot, with the outside branch angled forward relative to the inside branch. Your stirrup leathers should stay perpendicular to the ground over a jump.
  2. In the “two-point” position, your thighs and knees touch the saddle for balance, whereas three-point contact means your seatbones are lightly resting in the saddle as well. It is a good idea to walk and trot the arena several times in these positions each time you ride to strengthen your leg muscles.
  3. Shorten your reins in two-point so your hands are pressing on the sides of your horse’s neck in front of his withers for balance. You can press your hands into your horse’s crest over a jump for support as well. You should always look up and in the direction you are going.
  4. When riding over jumps, the angles of your body should be allowed to close naturally when your horse’s body lifts off the ground. Don’t do the work for your horse by throwing your body at the jump and climbing up your horse’s neck; this fault is known as jumping ahead. You can also be left behind if you don’t follow your horse’s movement with your body when approaching the jump.

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Holly Caccamise has been with Horse Illustrated and Young Rider since 2007, and in August 2019, she took over as head editor. She’s been instrumental in the production of both magazines and helped Horse Illustrated win a 2018 American Horse Publications Media Award in the General Excellence Self-Supported Publication (circulation 15,000 and over) category. Before getting involved in the editorial side of print media, she worked as an award-winning ad copywriter for Thoroughbred Times magazine. Caccamise has her MS in Animal Science from the University of Kentucky, where she studied equine nutrition and exercise physiology, and her Bachelor’s from UCLA in Biology. Caccamise has also worked as a research assistant, horse camp counselor teaching riding and vaulting, and as a top-level show groom in the eventing world, where she continues to compete her horse, Artie, at the lower levels.


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