Many riders are interested in trying jumping at some point. This thrilling discipline isn’t just for English riders. Western folks may also enjoy the occasional jump over a log or cross rail. While your position doesn’t have to be perfect, there are some tips you should know to increase safety. Check out these pointers!
1. Your stirrups need to be adjusted. The end of the stirrup should fall right at your ankle bone. Keep a gentle bend in your knee, which will help absorb shock.
2. Practice two point, also known as a jump seat. Lift yourself out of the saddle by leaning slightly forward over your horse’s neck. Your bottom should be approximately a hand width out of the saddle. Make sure your heels are down! This position is helpful before and during the jump, especially for beginners.
3. Carry your reins with two hands. This way you can steer your horse up to the obstacle. You should also maintain contact with your horse’s mouth.
4. Don’t forget to give your horse a release over the jump. This is where your hands go forward and allows your horse to stretch their neck without bumping into the bit.
5. It’s best to start small and work your way up. Your horse is learning too. A pole on the ground is an excellent way to introduce jumping to a newbie horse and rider.
6. When on the trail, only attempt a jump if you’re sure the footing is good. Trails covered in leaves, rocks, or with steep declines can be dangerous.
7. Follow behind an experienced horse if your mount seems unsure of the situation.
8. Always wear protective gear, such as proper boots and a helmet.
9. Let someone know you’re going to practice jumping, especially if you’re riding alone. It’s a good idea to have company the first few times.
10. If you develop an interest in jumping beyond small obstacles, then invest in the right type of saddle. It will be more comfortable for you and your horse.
Get prepared for whatever may come your way!