10 May 2008 14:36
I'm currently jumping 3ft6 on my horse and hoping to go higher, but my mare trails her back legs over jumps. She often knocks jumps with a trailing back leg, and this is extremely frustrating, as she has a good jump otherwise. Is there anything I can do to get her to pick up her back legs over jumps?
By Your Horse
Show Jumping Rider and Trainer Carol Mailer replies:
Firstly you must try to work out why this is happening. There are usually three reasons for careless back legs:
● You aren’t using enough leg as you take off to encourage that bit of extra spring.
● You’re giving the supporting contact away once you’ve left the ground.
● You’re anticipating your landing and coming down too early, shifting your weight too soon while your horse’s hindleg is still over the jump, and encouraging the horse to put down too early.
The right sort of grid will help you overcome all three problems. Build a bounce grid of fairly acute cross poles, on a slightly shorter stride than the normal. Give your horse a bit of a nudge as she takes off over each cross while remembering to maintain a supporting contact. To produce more spring it’s vital that you maintain a consistent contact.
When you’re doing this better, and it will take lots of practise to get it right, make the last cross in the line into a double cross (see photo), both the same height. Gradually pull it out wider, not higher, so you can practise hovering a little longer over the fence. Any improvement will be gradual and will depend on how consistent you are, but it will work.