JUMPING AND CONNECTION

Jumping riders are actually among the most gung ho, enthusiastic equestrians out there. Nevertheless, some riders jump the gun when they jump the horses theirs. Lacking good balance and a secure, educated seat, they hang on their horse’s mouth for balance, or perhaps they lean all the weight of theirs on their horse’s neck as they grab with the knees of theirs and brace the ankles of theirs to stay with their horse. In their eagerness to get over jumps and around courses, they lack an understanding of exactly why they’re doing whatever it’s they’re doing.

The Riding Tree’s progressive skill levels apply to any equestrian sport. Whether you like flying over jumps, running reining patterns, or perhaps enjoy dancing through dressage movements with the horse of yours, the basics are actually the same. You have to understand how you can set the rhythm of the horse’s gait with the seat of yours, sit balanced over the horse’s center of gravity with relaxed muscles, and follow the horse’s motion at every gait without balancing on the horse’s mouth. Only then are you able to coordinate the aids of yours in a significant way to influence what the horse is actually doing – such as jumping

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Whatever equestrian sport you enjoy, you require relaxation and rhythm following the seat before you can direct the horse’s circle of power. You have to develop an a’ connection,’ and this’s different from the real collection, which will come at the horse’s training’s top levels.

The connection is actually a circle of energy moving from the horse’s contracted abdominal muscles, through thrusting hind limbs, over a lifted back, into the bit, and, finally, connecting to the rider’s hands. As this circle of energy flows and connects, the horse naturally lifts its neck from the base. This rounds the neck and drops the head into a relaxed, natural position connected with the rider’s seat and hands. The connection should feel firm, solid, with a small sense of weight in the rider’s hands.

Rather than feeling for this full connection circling from back to front, many riders become fixated on the horse’s head carriage alone. A horse that’s not pushing with the hindquarters of his often hollows his back and carries the head of his above the bit. You see a telltale bulge on the underside of the neck, no matter where the head is actually positioned. Whether or not the rider manages to fiddle the reins to place the horse’s head lower, the horse still travels with a hollow back. There’s no connection. Attempting to pull a horse into connection with the reins, a martingale, a chambon, or perhaps any other gear creates tension somewhere in the horse’s body.

The horse has to be calm and accepting seat and leg aids to create a connection. The horse’s acceptance and relaxation of the aids daily depend on multiple factors such as the age of his, fitness level, training level, and personality. Hot horses start tense and tend to run from a rider’s leg aids. Some jumping riders use this natural energy drive without ever teaching the horse to accept and respond to leg aids. Nevertheless, the rider’s goal should be to steer the horse’s energy without creating much more tension in the horse. So you begin by working the horse in a steady rhythm to calm and relax him. When the horse works in a constant, relaxed rhythm (at every gait, eventually), you gradually introduce leg aids (from your relaxed seat and legs) to direct a circle of energy that creates connection.

At the other end of the spectrum, a lazy horse can be driven from the leg from day one. The rider’s biggest job with this particular horse personality is actually keeping him attentive to the leg.

A horse and rider must develop a connection in their flatwork – energy moving from a driving leg into the rider’s hands – before they’ll ever have the ability to have a connection over fences, regardless of what release type they use as the horse jumps. When you understand what connection feels like and when you learn how to use your aids to produce it, you can pilot your horse around a program without having a bobble.

Good connection starts with rider balance. The shoulder-to-hip-to-heel plumb line may be different for jumping than for dressage, but every equestrian sport requires a good balance. You can’t follow the horse’s motion over jumps if you’re not balanced over the center of the saddle as well as the horse’s center of gravity. Jumping riders who lack strength and balance tend to cram their heels down and lock the ankles of theirs in an attempt to stay with their horse over a jump. Without flexibility in these joints, nonetheless, they’ve no shock absorbers. They will tend to fall forward or perhaps fall backward as their horse takes off and lands. Unable to follow their horse’s motion, they might restrict the horse’s ability to round on takeoff, land on the back of his before he’s cleared the jump, or perhaps jab the mouth of his as they struggle for balance on landing.

Holding on to a neck strap helps you balance at the trot in a two-point position until you develop the ability and strength power to allow your joints to open up and close to go along with the horse’s motion at the canter. Gradually let the strap go, one hand at a time if needed until you can maintain your two-point position and joint relaxation while holding the arms yours out to the sides of yours or perhaps while placing the hands of yours on your hips or head.

You haven’t mastered balance in case you have to grab with the thighs of yours, pinch with the knees of yours, grip with the calves of yours, jam your knees, lock the ankles of yours or perhaps otherwise attempt to stay on the horse using muscular tension. Tension can make it impossible for your joints to close and open flexibly to release the horse as he arcs over the jump and absorbs the landing shock. Any tension prevents you from making the connection that enables you to go along with the horse’s motion from takeoff, through the arc of the jump, to landing and regrouping for the horse’s next stride.

A neck strap can also help you steady a great horse. When the horse is actually fighting the bit and pulling the hands of yours all over, hold a neck strap along with the reins. Let the horse fuss against the strap, not the hands of yours, and he’ll gradually accept steady contact without pulling or perhaps fighting. Steadying the knuckles of yours on the horse’s neck will also help remind the horse to be steady in case he momentarily regresses to the old habits of his. Remember, these habits are usually rider-caused, so be patient with the horse of yours as he learns a new way.

Sometimes a horse is so naturally athletic that he effortlessly rounds up in front of a jump, arcs smoothly over it, and lands collecting himself to take the next stride. If the rider falls backward or forward or perhaps balances on his mouth, he can still get over the jump correctly since it’s easy for him. More often, nonetheless, what the rider does greatly affects the horse’s ability to jump and land correctly. And that is where connection makes the difference to both of them. Develop connection on the flat at the trot and canter, and the horse of yours will be more athletic over jumps, too.

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