Equitation Advice Please!

Hey everyone! I have trouble over jumps with my body. When my pony lands, I tuck my butt underneath me almost and sit too early because of it. I think I’m opening my hip angle(?). Yes I have a trainer and take lessons, just looking for any other tips! Also, I just got my pony a month ago after the passing of my first pony seven months ago. She is super sweet but she is SO lazy. I’m going to order spurs soon but anyway. Any tips on how to get her more impulsion and off her forehand as she’s built slightly downhill. Feel free to critique anything else as well just please don’t be ride as I’m still getting used to her and these are out first warm up jumps. I know the angle the videos are at isn’t good, but do your best! I might add video from the same jumps at a better angle if they get sent to me! Thanks everyone!

Video (please excuse the audio :lol: )

I’m sorry for your loss! I’m no Eq expert but maybe try thinking about poking your backside out as you land. I would think lots of two point and popping over small x rails while holding your two point should help. As for impulsion, transitions are your friend, and make sure when you ask you get a response right away. Best of luck! Y’all look like an amazing pair!

If you want to get your pony off her forehand and have more impulsion, I would recommend the following:

  1. transitions
  2. transitions
  3. MORE transitions!!!

Mix things up to keep things interesting and to encourage your pony to listen to you. Start simple with walk, trot, walk or walk, halt, walk transitions. As you become more proficient at them, decrease the number of strides between these transitions. So you might start by say, trotting 6 strides, then do your walk transition for a couple of strides. Then down the road, you might trot 3 strides, walk 1 stride, then trot 3. You get the idea. You can do the same thing with the canter.

As your pony becomes stronger, then try transitions involving walk to canter.

I started doing this with my horse in January who had a tendency to fall on the forehand in spite of his ability to get good scores in the dressage phase of our HT’s.
By april, not only was his canter super adjustable, but you can pick up a canter directly from the halt!

So there is hope, but you need to progress gradually because it can take a lot of strength to get a horse in self carriage and to have the kind of balance you are looking for.

Part II: exercises for the OP

If you would like to have a better upper body and leg position then I would recommend doing the following. It’s not easy but if you do it religiously I guarantee you will see an improvement. If I did, then anybody will. lol.

  1. Spend at least 20 min. of every schooling session in two point (assuming you ride ~1hr).
    See how many laps you can make around your arena before you have to sit down or balance on your horse’s neck. Start at the walk. Go until you can’t stand it anymore. Take a break to stretch your legs and relax your ankles. Then repeat at the trot. Take a break then try it at the canter. The goal is to establish how many laps you can do at each gait, then increase by several laps each week.

  2. Drop your stirrups and ride through your upward and downward transitions on a somewhat loose rein. The idea is to have them long enough so you don’t choke up on them and use the reins for balance.

  3. Ride with one stirrup and alternate between sitting trot, posting trot, and two point. To make the exercise harder, hold the reins in one hand. Try varying the combination of which foot is in the irons and which hand is holding the reins. This will quickly reveal if you are leaning to one side or the other because if you do, you risk sliding off. lol.

This will help strengthen your leg and core so that you will be able to stay out of the saddle and not fall on back on your bum.

My typical routine for the last two weeks on days when I flat:

  1. Warm up in 2-point at a walk. Helps my horse loosen up and it helps me strengthen my ankles and stretch my hamstrings. I do about 4 laps around the arena without sitting down or touching my horse’s neck.
  2. Repeat the above exercise except at a trot.
  3. Take a break to do some lateral work (~ 5 min.)
  4. Repeat the original exercise, except at a canter.

1-4) takes about 30 min.

  1. Spend about 15 min. on transitions
    a) walk 4 strides. halt. rein back 1 step. Walk forward one step. Trot immediately. Repeat a couple of times in each direction.
    b) pick up a canter and continue for 4-6 strides. Halt. rein back one step, walk forward one step. halt. Proceed immediately into canter. Repeat 2-3 times each direction.

  2. Spend about 15 min. on a new activity. Lately it has been to work on flying changes. We get a good pace at a canter and then come through the center of the arena, straighten, get the change and then proceed in the opposite direction. We do a couple of times each direction.

What I was thinking as I was watching your videos is:
Is that a quarter horse? looks like a really cute quarter horse.

Then I thought…

Eyes up
Chin up
Lift your chest
Raise your hands
Keep a slight bend in your elbows.
Shoulders back

Practice relaxing your knee gently against the saddle as you post. It can help to think of almost taking both your knees off of the saddle each time you rise as you post.

Work in the two point over ground poles or cavaletti.

Maybe try shortening your stirrups a hole, your right stirrup leather seems a little longer than the left.

Can you ride with a crop?

A lot needs to come together before one can think of true engagement and impulsion. A rider needs to be balanced, and able to apply aids with timing and finesse so they may act to reinforce a horses obedience to the aids (train the horse).

I think you look good on her. I think keep focusing in the fundamental rider exercises intended to develop balance; core, seat, hands, and independent use of aids.

Some under saddle exercises on the lunge line may be helpful as your trainer can control your horses movement as you work on your fundamentals.

Things like up-up, down-down posting exercises at the trot, no stirrup work, two point work, and get really good at turn on the forehand, and turn on the hunches exercises, as that can often help riders with developing more effective aids.

All and all I think you look comfortable on a horse, but my primary observation is that you seem to be collapsing your shoulders, looking down, and possibly gripping with your knees.

Carrying yourself in a balanced posture, developing core strength, and sharping those aids should help (spurs and crops can be aid sharpening tools when used correctly).

Also, some horses need canter in their warm up before they will wake up and be forward.

Have you already tried shortening your stirrups a hole or two? If they’re a little long it can be really difficult to stay out of the saddle on landing, no matter how strong you are. Maybe try cantering a little bit in two point and see if you can pretty easily get up and coast above the saddle without touching it at all - you might not be able to hold it for very long if there is a strength issue, but you shouldn’t feel totally unbalanced or like you’re having to really stand up to stay out of the saddle.

I’ve also found that I tend to sit too quickly when I’m anticipating the jump and trying to jump for my horse rather than letting it happen underneath me. This seems like it might be part of your issue, since you’re still learning your new horse’s timing and you might be expecting her to come down a little quicker than she actually does.

With the lazy ones it’s also really easy to start trying to do the work for them, where you’re trying to jump the jump yourself, then get your butt back into a driving seat and leg on as fast as possible so they don’t lose momentum. Ideally you should be able to do the minimum and still have her coasting along.

Doing transitions will help her learn to use her haunches, but if you’re needing to pony-kick constantly to keep her going, then she probably sees leg on as “mom wants me to possibly consider going forward if I feel like it” instead of just “GO.” (Ponies seem to be especially prone to this line of thinking. :lol:)

If you don’t already carry a whip, have one next time and every time she ignores you putting your leg on, bam, every time she loses momentum for no reason, bam. Since she is a pony mare, I would be careful about not overdoing it and making her feel like you’re being “unfair” with the stick, but at the same time she should get that your leg is not a negotiable thing. She needs to be working as hard as you are! Once she’s a little quicker off your leg, it’ll be much easier to teach her some basic dressage work and get her using her back & haunches correctly.

Lots of 2-point :slight_smile:

Thanks for the advice! Here are videos of the better angle! These will show more if what I’m doing with my body on the landing of the jump. Hopefully I can get a new video tomorrow after trying some of your suggestions!


Super cute horse! You guys look like a really good pair.

Those cross rails are really really tiny. She’s not even really jumping them and you don’t even really have to give any kind of release, so I don’t think its fair to be critiquing your jumping “position” based on these vids!

But, if I had to make a suggestion this is what I would do. I too struggle with opening my hip angle too soon. What has really helped me is to LOOK UP! You’re staring down at your horse a lot (I’m SO guilty of this too) which naturally causes your core, shoulders and back to round, which results in a less secure position over the fence. Which, IME makes me sit too early because I don’t feel centered in the tack (its all compensation). However, I find when I’m not staring down the fence or staring at my horse’s ears as I land, I naturally keep my hip angle closed longer, get more into my heel and just overall feel more balanced. Funny how that works! :lol: So next time try that-as you’re approaching the fence stare up at something really high, like the top of a tree. Over exaggerate it. Keep your eye there through the entire jump. Grab some mane if necessary. Have fun!

OK, well, you don’t have a jumping position because these aren’t jumps. Your horse isn’t jumping, and you aren’t in a jumping position. You are handling the obstacle appropriately, but you will ned vids of you jumping something a bit more of a reach for you and your horse for jumping critiques. Try 2’6" - that’s nothing for a horse, and will demonstrate your ability to get off his back for the jump and come back, a tiny bit more, but even there that is still almost not a jump.

Good luck.