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2014-08-14
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Steps
1
Make sure it's what you really want to do, because it may be expensive and very dangerous. It also takes a lot of determination.


2
Get lessons from a qualified instructor in all basic horse riding before attempting to jump. Make sure your instructor agrees that you are really ready to jump.
3
Use all the proper equipment. See "Things You'll Need."
4
Learn to hold the mane (or buy a neck-strap), without dropping your reins, and stay in your 2-point or jumping position at all three gaits so that you don't injure your horse's back or mouth (a neck-strap will prevent this). You will also need to know your leads.
5
Start jumping on an experienced, steady horse. Get to know your mount before you try to jump. "Green horse and green rider are never a blue ribbon maker!"
6
Check your tack. Make sure that you are using all the necessary equipment and that it fits you and your horse correctly. Be especially certain to check that your girth is tight enough.
7
Do some two-point, sometimes known as half-seat or jump seat, exercises. This will help build leg muscle while going over the jump so you can stay balanced.
8
Start with low crossrails that your horse could literally step over. Don't rush into big fences or could seriously injure yourself and your horse.
9
Set up your cavaletti (or crossrail) in a straight line along a fence if possible. An average horse's stride needs to be about 4 feet apart. A pony will be about 2-3 feet apart.
10
Ride your horse over the cavaletti at a regular trot. Their hooves should step in the center in between each pole. If the horse takes 2 steps, they are too far, and if horse knocks pole with a hoof they are too close together. Do not stop or look down while jumping. EVER. Squeeze with your legs before the pole and follow your horse's movement as you lean into two-point. Don't go too far forward and let the horse get you out of the saddle. Try to just close your hip angle as opposed to standing in your stirrups. When you are going over the jump, pick an object in the distance to look at. This helps you maintain your balance. Grab a piece of mane so you don't catch him in the mouth when you land. Let the horse lift your butt out of the saddle. Let your weight sink down into your heels.
11
Once have mastered this, you may continue on to a larger crossrail. A crossrail is a jump that has two poles that cross over one another. Looks like a squashed "X". It encourages the horse to jump in the middle, where the obstacle is lower. Be sure to have ample room to approach and land after each jump.
12
Move up to a vertical. Just by hearing the name, you can probably guess that this jump is straight across. The vertical is normally set up to be taller than the crossrail; although it can be adjusted to any height. After your coach agrees and you feel confident, you could start with low courses of a few jumps.
"Approach" Make sure it's a straight line and keep your eye level up.
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Takeoff. The horse takes off a few feet in front of the fence, about the same distance away as the height of the fence. Try to get a good distance. If it seems your horse will jump long, sit tight and do a big half halt (but keep squeezing with your legs). If it seems your horse will jump short, try to extend your canter. Just try to keep your balance and sit still as the horse takes off. You will find that your body automatically swings forward with the horse. Remember to allow your horse's head as much freedom as it needs to stretch for the fence.
14
"In mid-air" As the horse jumps over the fence, keep your lower legs underneath you, with your weight down through your heels. Allow as much rein as the horse needs by letting your arms stretch forward with the movement of the head and neck as they stretch over the fence.
15
Landing. Allow the horse freedom of its head. When you're landing, keep your lower legs under you with your heels down. This is to absorb the "shock" of the landing. Don't let your legs swing back or lean on the horses neck with your hands.
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Get-Away Just like the approach, it needs to be straight. As soon as the horse is landed, you can take up more contact with the bit once again, and make any adjustments to your pace or direction before the next fence comes. (Also you will want to put some sort of leg wrap or protection on your horses leg so it dosnt go lame if it hits a pole. Polo wraps or splint boots are best)
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