How to adapt your riding position when jumping ?
The rider’s position is fundamental. It must allow the rider to use his aids and follow the horse’s movements without ever hindering them.
There are different positions in the saddle that are used for different purposes.
The first one is the sitting position. It is adopted when you want to gather your horse at the end of a turn for example. After letting it stretch its top line and move forward, you need to restore the impulsion that may have been lost. It allows you to regroup your horse and help it engage its hindquarters.
The second position is the half-seat. It is particularly used in the approach phase of a fence to help the horse for the jump. It is a lighter position in the saddle, but with a lot more weight down into the heels. It consists of sitting while only lightly touching the saddle.
The third position is the two-point, which involves the rider being completely centred over his feet. All the weight is in the stirrups and there is no weight in the saddle. This position relieves your horse’s back and allows him to regain impulsion and stretch its top line. You will then be able to use your hands and sit back in the saddle to gather your horse.
It is important to adapt your position throughout the course in order to complete it and get a clear round. Try doing it and you will see very clearly that, when you change your position and relieve your horse’s back, your horse will change its attitude.
You must really stay with your horse’s motion. And try to be as stable as possible and not switch between different positions abruptly.
Just before the obstacle, in the half-seat position (position 2), try to collect your horse and let it rock its weight back onto its hindquarters to approach the fence in the best possible way. Then, in the landing phase, discreetly get out of your saddle (position 3) to let the horse stretch its top line. Then you can go back to a sitting position (position 1) to prepare for the next jump.
Whatever your position, you should always keep an eye on the entire course when you get a chance and then focus on the next fence when approaching it.
Tip: Getting someone to film you can be very useful to work on your position. Watching yourself is always quite surprising. It’s something I often do when I don’t have a coach. I get someone to film me and it’s a great tool to improve your riding.
Do you struggle to adapt your position in the saddle when jumping? Did you enjoy reading this email? Leave me a comment here.