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Horse Jumping Question

Please give me some tips on jumping because I'm going to start next month. And guess WHAT!!! I'm going to hand gallop this Tuesday... on a FAST horse!!! I can't wait, but if you can give me some tips on that I would greatly appreciate it.


Hi P.,

I grew up playing polo. So, back in those days I rode on a polo saddle which is somewhat like an English saddle w/o the forward seat or knee rolls. I did a lot of bareback riding as a kid too. I am glad I did as bareback riding really helps develop a sense of balance. My personal saddle now is an Ortho-flex, Baron model, western type saddle. Its cushy and built for my body measurements. It has a narrow seat that allows a lot of contact with the horse. It is important to use saddles that fit the horse correctly. A lot of time folks get saddles because they like how it looks. They don't understand that saddle fit is paramount to a horse being comfortable and performing well. What type of saddle to get is determined by what kind of riding you want to do with your horse (jumping, dressage, polo, reining, etc.).

The biggest tip on jumping I can give you is to remember not to hold your breath when you go over the jump. Try to keep your breathing normal, relaxed. This will help keep your horse relaxed and comfortable. The horse picks up your breathing rate, heart rate, adrenalin levels, all your body rhythms are picked up by your horse and they respond by their energy level matching yours. The more relaxed over the jump you are, the more relaxed your horse will be. A relaxed horse jumping well wins, rather than a horse that is nervous and running off and balking. Its more up to you than the horse. Never blame the horse for exhibiting your nervousness or anxiety. Calm him and calm yourself. One other thing is to visualize what you want. See yourself and your horse going over the jump smoothly and evenly. Also look past the jump to where you want to go. This will help keep things flowing forward. Relax and have fun. That is most important. If you go into a show, relax and have fun. You don't have to buy into everyone else's anxiety and competitive worries. Have fun and your horse will too and you'll win.

Oh yes, hand galloping....well, the same things apply, breath evenly, try not to get hyped up and too excited on the horse, they pick that up. Also, if your breathing is relaxed and your body is relaxed and not tense, and you are riding form your seat (where good riding begins), you won't have to fight his mouth and be straining to hold him back. Even a hand gallop can be relaxed, smooth and effortless.

Good Luck and Aloha, Franklin

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