Thursday, October 18, 2012

Jumping fun

All photos by Dominique Heinke

A fellow redhead photographer friend accompanied me to the barn to photograph the barn, horses, Kenai, and Q and I jumping. It was a lot of fun. Its really helpful to see photos of myself and Q jumping as I never get to critique my form otherwise! Riding alone definitely has a lot of downsides.

So questions for all you jump-savvy folks! I know I should have more of a "release" - or so the pictures seem to say, but what do you do when your horse rushes the jump and CHARGES off after it? Because that's Miss Q, rush the jump, charge away upon landing. It doesn't help that her friends are around - she loves her jumping job, but she's very friend motivated when we're right around the barnyard, which is the only available place I have to jump (surrounded on 3 sides by her friends).

Q refusing the jump due to Kenai being a douche; my saddle sliding off her side due to loose
girth from first day with Woolback....

The clouds!! And Q thinking the jump is a monster

Prepping to mount after fixing the loose saddle

I've fixed my chicken wings a bit at least...

So I had this goal to make a goofy face while Q was jumping...

Ground work to get her focused; she ran to her boyfriend along the fence while I was moving a jump
She quickly figured out that standing near him at the fence meant she had to do even more work

Release a little more?? Sit up straighter??

Her throatlatch is soooo thick...all the better to breathe with?


My favorite

Cantering away post jump - I mean, charging to the fence to be with her boyfriend...

Training suggestions? Posture/form suggestions?

Thanks y'all. =)


  1. Haha, love these pictures and great goofy face ;)

  2. It's been years since my formal jumping lessons, and I never got comfortable with anything over 2'6"...but terms of your hands, I say put them wherever feels the most secure and stable to you and gives you the most control. My reasoning for that is if it's secure and stable, you're probably going with the horse and you're not going to be in their way, versus forcing your hands into an unnatural position that doesn't feel good -- if it's stiff and uncomfortable, you might not end up providing the needed release. At least, that's how I remember doing it, and the pony and I were both learning to jump at the same time.

  3. I think your position is great!! LOVE the first pic of you two jumping in this series-it is flawless! In the one photo where you ask (1st photo after groundwork pic)-for equitation purposes, your hands would have been better about 4" higher up on Q's neck, but there is just enough slack in the reins to let her use herself, which is excellent. I like how it looks like you allowed Q's jump to close your hip angle in that same photo (that sounds so George Morris, but it's what I see :) ) Your hands are perfect in all the others. In some of the photos I think you're jumping ahead a little bit (you've come out of the saddle more), but it's hard to wait when you have a horse charging fences! I had this same problem when jumping-don't let it turn into a bad habit like I did. A trainer once told me to think about slowing down my upper body when going over the fence, and this visual helped me a lot, and it also helped slow down my horse. Your leg position is perfect! I think this is one of the things that takes the longest to get right, and you've got that down solid! Regarding exercises for slowing Q down, one trainer had me do a lot of grid work (bounces, lines with different stride numbers between the fences, combinations of lines and bounces, etc) to get the horse thinking about a sequence of jumps and focusing on using himself, instead of just flying over a single jump. If you don't have a lot of jumps, just setting up several ground poles to and after the fence can help-you can play with stride length and distances to see what works best with Q. Another exercise is trotting to the single fence, jumping, and then halting right after. When she has that down pat, practice cantering, jumping, and trotting away. You should be able to work up to the point where you can canter, jump, and stop as soon as you want to after the fence. Just some tricks from my OTTB jumper training days. :) I did a lot of jumper training on my own for many, many years, and I totally hear ya on how hard it is to get an idea about your form when you ride by yourself. You're doing an AWESOME job!