Short arms, long torso... trouble with jumping! Help!

Hi there!

I’m 5’8”, very tall torso and short arms. I have been trying so hard to find a balanced jump position. With my tall torso, I feel top heavy when I get into 2-point position to jump, and when I land, I fall forward onto the horses neck.

When I grab mane, it’s very difficult with my short arms, and I feel like it throws me off balance even more. Like, I can’t reach the mane or grab strap without losing balance and falling forward.

Anyone have advice on what I can do?

It’s a strength issues. Lots of us with short torsos have this problem too!

Honestly I think grabbing mane or strap throws everyone off.

The solution for everyone is just developing way more strength and control in the core area.

A start is doing trot two point without you hands on the neck. Do it infinitely, do it on the trails. It will hurt, thighs and abs. Do it until you can’t hold, then post a bit and do it again. Aim to be able to hold trot two point indefinitely.

Are you young? I’ve watched a lot of teen and young adult girls who are beautiful and willowy and look lovely on the horse but are what I call wifty with their upper bodies. They just don’t have the upper body strength or stability yet.

I would also suggest putting some fitness time into upper body strength.

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I think this was cross-posted into the H/J board - fully agree with @Scribbler!

Here’s what I posted over on the dark side (#hunter-jumper :yum:) :

To me this seems like a weakness issue - Particularly core strength. I’ve struggled with this after taking time off from riding after an injury and then after having kids.

Practice finding your balance at a half seat, two point and three point at a walk.

Focus on finding your center of gravity without relying on the horse’s movement to thrust you into that position, and work on getting yourself into those positions from a full seat.

Once you’re able to reliably hold that at the walk without grabbing mane or leaning on their neck, drop your stirrups. After that’s been mastered at the walk, start it all over again from the trot. Rinse & repeat at the canter and adding in ground poles, then jumps.

Anytime I’m feeling insecure over fences (or during more complex “questions”), I like to go back to basics to really diagnose the root cause of the issue. 9/10 it comes down to fitness level. I supplement my riding with a stationary bike and rower - we rely on our core to be an effective rider more than is recognized. Bonus points for easing back pain…!

Take your time and be patient with yourself - good luck!

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Agree, it’s a strength thing. Work on core muscles and knot up your reins and work through grids with your arms out to the sides. That’ll help you find the balance :slight_smile:

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I have a long torso too, I feel your pain! While I’ll second everyone else saying core strength helps, I also wanted to mention something I’ve never heard anyone else say - glute/butt strength makes a big difference too! While it wasn’t intentional, when I started doing more squats, abductor & adductor, and glute activation exercises at the gym, I noticed an improvement in the saddle as well. I don’t know if it’s especially helpful to counter the long torso or what, but it made a difference for me. Also make extra sure you aren’t jumping ahead at all - it’s much more noticeable for us I find.

I don’t have short arms, but my horse has a freakishly long neck. Even with my arms out dead straight, I can only get a few inches up his neck. This makes grabbing mane, a neck strap and even a crest release a very awkward thing for me and throws my upper body off balance too.

I found ways to “optimize” how much release I can provide without throwing my upper body forward. The one I found the most interesting was the relationship to arms going forward while hips go back. It keeps you in perfect balance over your horse. You stay stable up there and horse gets what he needs to do his job. All you do it, as the halt or walk, first stand up in the stirrups and find the exact point of balance over your feet where you can stay without tipping forward or back. Once you found it, intentionally lower yourself down as far as you can without touching the saddle by bringing your hips backward. Do it as slowly as you need to keep your balance. You will immediately notice a few things. Your arms go forward as much as your hips go back and will be surprised how far you can get. Just let them go naturally forward and don’t worry about where they are in relation to the neck. You will find you’re working your lower legs and core. Once you get as far down as you can, slow motion all the way up again. All the time think about your center. Once you have it at a good walk, try it at the canter over poles and then small fences. You should find you’re now doing more of an automatic release than a crest release, but it shouldn’t matter since you’ve now developed the balance where it needs to be leaving your hands free to just give the horse his head. I can’t tell you how much just this one exercise has helped my position and it makes things just so automatic over fences. I used to be a horrible jumper and now it’s easy.

Mr Long torso; https://youtu.be/V-jATkI0v1M