Honing your jumping position

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Taurus Footwear-sponsored rider, instructor and showjumper, Michaela Huntington, has introduced a new series of mini-articles to help customers get the best out of their riding! Here, we discuss the riding position that is most suitable for jumping fences.

The jumping position –

1. For jumping, your stirrups need to be short enough so that you can comfortably get your seat out of the saddle. This position helps to allow the horse to bascule (create an arc) through your legs.
2. Lean your upper body forwards a little.
3. Look ahead to where you are going.
4. Move your hands a little up the horse’s neck to allow him freedom (he will be unable to jump correctly if you hinder him by not giving enough with your hands, or get out of balance with him).
5. Your heels must stay down to ‘anchor’ your leg, and you need to have a bend in the knee.
6. The Savanna boot is ideal for jumping enthusiasts; it is flexible enough to allow the knee to bend and will not ‘catch’ the rider in the back of the knee.
7. Try to keep your lower leg position the same and not allow it to drift backwards.

Achieving a secure lower leg position when jumping
A common mistake is to allow your lower leg to swing too far back, inadvertently encouraging your horse to speed up; keep the weight into your stirrups with your heels well down. Familiarise yourself by practising your forward position without stirrups – get it right whilst in halt, learning to hold the position for a while and maintain your balance until it is comfortable. Next, progress to walk, trot and canter if it is safe to do so! To avoid taking up the jumping position too early on the approach to a fence, or too late, learn to count your strides into each fence. A good trick is to try this when you are walking along a pavement or going up an escalator – it helps develop your eye for a particular point, when you are moving!
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