Tall Rider - Jumping Position Problems

So for some background information: I’m a lean tall rider with very long legs and a long torso (about 5’7-'8). I normally ride a 15.3 horse in my lessons. I’ve noticed while looking at pictures of me riding that I don’t seem to “fold” my upper body when I’m going over jumps (even at 2’6" which is the highest I’ve gone). Instead I just kinda move my upper body forward a bit and kind of perch over the jump. I normally don’t have a problem with my release, but should I be trying to fix my position? My trainer says its probably just due to my long torso (and the fact that i dont jump very high yet) that I don’t “fold” as much over the jumps. Am I doing something wrong or is it something that will improve the longer I ride? When I try to think about folding I feel like I’m just throwing myself forward over the jump. I just wanted an outside opinion thank you! :slight_smile:

Do you have pictures?
If not, where is your bum in relation to the saddle? I am imagining you bringing your seat too far forward, but I might be misunderstanding.

First thought is that your stirrups are too long.

Second thought is that you are trying to emulate a “look” that you see when people jump bigger/rounder, when you are jumping smaller (and perhaps on a flat jumping horse). You probably are doing too much if you feel like you are throwing yourself over the jump.

Do you ever jump bounces or without stirrups?

I don’t have any pictures I can easily share at the moment sorry :frowning: But yes my seat does tend to move more forward in the saddle going over jumps. I was just told to try to move my hips farther over the center of the saddle to make my two-point less upright. And yes to bounces no to without stirrups. My position definitely looks better during bounces than it does going over a single jump. I was just curious whether it was my height or lack of practice (or a combination of both) that was causing me to be so upright over jumps even when other riders would “fold” over the same jumps at the same height.

When you get to the jump literally don’t move anything but your hands. Get in your two point but don’t move. Your hips shouldn’t move forward or back from their original position over the saddle, but rather be about three inches higher

So for some background information: I’m a lean tall rider with very long legs and a long torso (about 5’7-'8). …[/QUOTE]

5’7"-'8" is not that tall. You want to work on folding (good position) now because it is easier to be correct as you are learning than to correct your form later. I would also encourage you to check your stirrup length (shorter is better than longer for jumping) and then practice your balance on the flat with a focus on your hip angle.

[QUOTE=Release First;8295412]
5’7"-'8" is not that tall.[/QUOTE] Actually is kind of is, especially for a woman. And while having long legs is great for riding, a long torso, eh not so much. There’s so much to hold up! And 15.3 isn’t that big. I don’t know what kind of body type the horse has, but if it’s slab sided, then it’s even more difficult because you don’t have much to wrap your legs around and stabilize yourself with.
Jumping with one hand on my hip made a huge difference. Try it to a single, reins in one hand, or in a gymnastic. I have a friend who stood up in her stirrups over jumps and she finally got folding over by thinking, belly button to pommel. Maybe, close the drawer with your bum? Remember to close your hips over the jump, like there’s a hinge there. Imagery can really help correct technique.

I am 5’10 I have never thought of myself as being particularly tall.

No matter what your height is, you are not supposed to “fold” over a jump. You are supposed to stay over the horse’s center of gravity and let the horse come up to you.

People nowadays think they have to do the jumping for the horse. That is both fallacious and bad technique.

At 2’6" most horses are not jumping so much as they are taking a high canter stride. If you think you need to “fold” you will be jumping ahead of the horse and disturbing his balance.

Truly, let the horse do the jumping and concentrate on your job which is to stay out of his way so he can do his job well. Staying out of his way involves your leg (supporting, not driving), your upper body (balanced and in tune with your horse AND your arms/hands.

The job of your arms is not to support your upper body (although it seems to have become their primary job nowadays). The real job of your hands is to give the horse the freedom to jump well, and also to be in a position to stay in sync with him upon landing.

If you can do this while giving a generous crest release (which simultaneously supports your upper body) then it is a win/win. But it is really your base of support and your core muscles which should be taking the responsibility for your balance, while your arms and hands take responsibility for communicating with your horse.

I am 5’9", with a long torso and I ride a 15.3 mare.

I don’t think the tall upper body, in comparison to the not so long horse neck, CAUSES jumping ahead, but it certainly makes it harder for the horse than a tiny person jumping ahead on a long necked horse would!

The jumping ahead is a tendency many of us have. I find I’m much more likely to do it if I let the horse get behind my leg and have some instinctive feeling that I need to “jump for her”.

Over those 2’6" fences, you really don’t need to do anything with your upper body. I try to concentrate on staying still, looking straight ahead and keeping my hips soft and letting the horse’s momentum put my body where it needs to be. Grids do help to get the feel of staying still and over the center of the horse.

Fortunately, this mare is not a stopper, so if I do mess up and jump ahead, with my long body, she’ll jump, but she’ll fall on her forehand on the other side, as I’ve upset her balance. Entirely my fault. Many horses will stop if you put them in that situation and it’s a good way to become a lawn dart, so it’s a problem that needs to be solved over small fences before moving to bigger ones.

I’m 6’ with a very long torso and I struggle with this mightily.

The most useful thing I’ve been able to keep in my head while trying to balance finding the distance, being straight, keeping impulsion, being straight, seriously being straight, (my horse is green! :eek:) is belly-button to pomel. It’s the most visual thing for me. For some reason, butt back does nothing for me. I agree with BigBlackDog (usually the case btw) that you sort of have to experiment with what works for you.

+1 that shortening your stirrups may help this a lot without your even thinking about it.

But I think a photo would be really helpful, as I doubt you need to do much at all with your upper body at 2’6" as long as you’re giving your horse a release and staying balanced. In other words, you may not have a problem at all, just look a bit different due to your build and proportions.

I learned this year being at a different barn; many people jump ahead and it’s not because you are tall. You need to be in more of a squat position… and follow the horses mouth with your hand not your shoulders.

Practice weighting your heels with a stable lower leg. Your saddle must fit you and the horse and your stirrup length must be appropriate to be able to do the above.

Your trainer should be able to work with you on this. A lot of 2 point exercises.

Same size rider here, same issues. I tended to sit up too early (defensive rider after 10 years riding a horse with a gnarly buck after jumps).

Do two point work at the trot focusing on staying deep in your heels and centered over the saddle. Two point over poles at the trot. Get in the two point a stride or two out to make sure you’re “where you want to be” before the jump and hold it a stride or two after the jump. Once you’re centered and strong in your 2 point, it’s easier to close that hip angle appropriately.

If you’re strong and centered in the saddle, just defensive constantly (I rode a lot of stadium fences like XC jumps), these are what helped me.

Grabbing mane help “pull” my upper torso down and keep it down, and I’ve found that if you’re already riding with an open hip angle, you’re more likely to hit the horse in the mouth on the landing side (at least for me).

Using extremes: if you have a saint of a horse, get your hunter on and try to lay on the neck, or get in a deeper two point than necessary for a smaller fence for less saintly horses. If you’re on one end of the spectrum, while it will “feel” extreme, it will not look that way. (And don’t actually lay on the horse’s neck, but that’s the imagery you want to envision when you make your body do it).

AND! Remember, jumping is just flatwork in the air. You still want your hips to be over your heels; you’re just closing that hip to follow the horse.