With a few simple tweaks you can improve your position with ease

With a few simple tweaks you can improve your position with ease

Training Academy 2015: Perfect your position

By Imogen Johnson

15 July 2015 16:30

Welcome to your online Training Academy.

This month, in Your Horse magazine, our expert Russell Guire of Centaur Biomechanics (www.centaurbiomechanics.co.uk) tackles rider position in all three gaits. Here he also has some great advice to help you improve your position. Read on to learn more and to check out his handy training videos  scroll down to the bottom of the page. 

Perfect you jumping position

Russell explains:

A common problem I see is riders riding with their stirrups too long and the end result is you struggle to stay in balance. Simply shortening your stirrups a hole or two will really help you maintain a good leg position and you’ll feel more secure too.

The jumping position can be split into four stages, and for each phase your position will be doing different things.

1. Preparation
This is the stage where you’re turning to start your approach to the jump. As you turn the corner towards the fence maintain your usual canter position. Watch you don’t drop your inside shoulder as you turn. Otherwise your horse’s quarters will come in and his balance will be compromised.

2. Approach
You need to stay lose in your knees so you can absorb your horse’s movement. It’s common to see riders who tip their upper body forwards two to three strides before the jump. Important to remember your horse naturally carries 60% of his weight on his forehand and by us tipping forward we’re adding more weight which makes it difficult for your horse to use his shoulders and jump cleanly. You’re also risking having a stop or a pole down as your horse struggles to use himself freely. Horse needs freedom in his shoulders to jump the fence. Horses can feel a fly land on them, so are influenced by our body position.

3. Take off
On take off keep a little bit of distance between you and your horse’s neck. Avoid dropping your upper body too far forward, instead allow his wither to come up to meet your chest.

4. In the air
Pivot from your hips allowing your upper body to go forwards while still maintaining your core. It’s common to see riders exaggerate the folding forward when the movement is quite subtle. Your contact needs to stay elastic and allow your arms to follow the head and neck movement as your horse jumps.

5. Landing
As you land it’s important to maintain your balance, and not collapse forward. Think about keeping your head up and your legs on to help support your horse.