Horse-Riding Posture Jumping.
The jumping position for show jumpers and x-country riders differs. The 2 and 3-point positions can be trained with movement patterns and exercises. The stirrup length is different for each. There is much information from riding instructors, books, videos, and YouTube about the jumping position. I have reviewed much of it and a lot of the information, in my opinion, is well put together, However, there are a few points I disagree with and I teach differently. This does not mean I am right or I am wrong it means this is my way of riding and teaching. I think all riders need to look at what instructors have to offer and pick out what is good for them or what works for them.
The jumping position is so different from the dressage position in many ways. This is common knowledge and all riders know it. First, the saddle is a different shape..obvious! Jumping saddles today are made with different materials in the tree, different widths, and different seat postures as well. It certainly pays to ride in the one you want to buy rather than just sit in it at the shop. I also advise riders to put stirrups on the saddle on the stand as well. To go from dressage to jumping the stirrup leather length is the most obvious difference. The weight-bearing body parts are also very different. The stirrup is shorter and the weight of the rider is through the stirrups (heels) and not the seat as in the dressage rider. Certainly, the rider does move their weight from seat to stirrups when jumping. The dressage rider also moves their weight from their seat to their feet but in the rising trot only.
The posture of the rider’s body in jumping is forward with their shoulders over their hands, not upright as in the dressage posture. The jump rider’s lower leg is also more forward than of the dressage rider’s. This is also different for showjumping and cross country. The cross-country rider should have their heel very deep and lower than the toe level for greater stability and safety.
The 2-Point and 3-Point Jumping Position.
The traditional 2-point jumping position refers to the rider’s feet being the 2 points that have weight through them. The traditional 3-point jumping position is when the rider has weight through both feet and their seat is the third point. It is disappointing to find instructors don’t teach riders where to put their hands or what to do with them. The Applied Posture Riding program addresses this problem in detail. Riders are told to NOT PULL but not told where they should aim to put their hands or what to do with them. Humans use their hands for balance, riders use them all the time for balance and the horse cops it in the mouth. This is where I differ from the
This is where I differ from mainstream teaching. My technique includes instructing riders what to do with their hands in training and over the fence. This technique gives the rider stability, balance, and confidence and their horse loves it too.
My 3-point jumping position is the same as other instructors. This is a position riders adapt between fences, not over the fence, so riding around and body will be more upright and the set is in the saddle. Once again I train a movement pattern to teach riders what to do with their hands and stop them from pulling or being left behind when jumping. This is about training the correct stability and balance by practicing movement patterns. If you want to learn these techniques I can teach you through the Applied Posture Riding Program.
Stirrup Length in the Jumping Posture.
This can be a personal thing, I teach and ride in my jumping saddle with quite short stirrups. Many riders and instructors are now teaching and riding with a longer leg length. I teach and practice what I do because I think it is safer and the rider has more stability with a shorter stirrup length (and can back it up with physical evidence). As humans, we balance with bend through our body, not an extension. If you lose your balance you will crouch or curl and grab with your hands, you will not grow taller or longer in your body. The same instinct occurs in the saddle when the horse jumps too big or gets the stride wrong or stops. I tend to ask riders to lift up 2-3 holes when they first start riding short and practice at this length until they are stable through the lower leg and want to go shorter themselves.
Lower Leg Position in the Jumping Rider
Again this is taught differently between instructors. Some like the lower leg and toe turned out and a few teach the lower leg turned in and knee in as well. Have a look at this rider with the toes in different positions. If a rider has a very strong core and flexible lower back and pelvis the rider has more strength and stability.
The show Jumping versus the Xcountry Position
Showjumping is a confined arena with uniform fences and a set line between fences. There are no ditches (unless in a Derby) no banks, hills, or water crossings. The balance of the rider can be well managed and controlled. Upsets happen but show jumping is less risky. The show jump rider spends a lot of time between fences in the 3 point position using their seat legs and hands to guide their horse. The jumps come up in order and the striding is usually walked out in the course walk. The horse is more likely in a shorter frame with a good quality canter, up in front, and strong from behind. The speed is slower and the jumps can get very big at a world-class level. The show jump rider usually riders with a slightly longer stirrup
The show jump rider usually rides with a slightly longer stirrup length because of the time spent in the saddle in a 3-point position. The X-country rider, on the other hand, spends time galloping with their butt out of the saddle and hence in the traditional 2-point position. The be able to get lower leg stability for long periods of time the rider should have their stirrups shorter and their weight deeper and lower for strength stability and safety. The lower the weight and body are to the saddle the more stable the rider is if the horse is rocked off balance with a fence or a stumble or a landing into the water. Here we can see the hands at the neck and the lower leg deep has saved this rider from a fall.
If you want more information on the jumping position or the horse riding posture and how to train it then look at my Applied Posture Riding Program.
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