I’ve watched people do everything from start square one and barely jump the horse to teaching a horse to jump and everything in between, yet every time they were looking the same way; lost confidence in their abilities.
The most important point to consider is that if you have the right tools and experience, you will be able to successfully build your confidence and become the rider you want to be.
I believe that, if you are going to take your horse on the track, it’s vital that you are confident and capable, even if it means that the horse is a little out of shape or you might have to practice on the ground before you are ready to get on.
Learning to jump is one of the most important skills that you will ever have
A good rider will feel comfortable jumping because he knows how to get in and out of the saddle. Many jumpers don’t even use stirrups because it’s too hard for them to stay in the saddle.
Your horse’s jumping needs to be based on your weight. If your weight is too light you will over-ride the horse’s balance and run the risk of him pulling on his lead rope.
The key is to calculate how much of the horse you are on and teach him how to carry that weight. You will have the most success if you learn to ride a horse with your weight in a soft seat.
If you lean back too much, you are going to make a sloppy jump and your horse will become unsteady.
When I teach riders to jump, the first question I ask them is, “How much of the horse’s weight do you feel on you?”
Their answer will depend on their size and horse. I like to ride the horse around the arena until I get a sense of how much weight the rider is on him and they can tell me how light or how heavy they feel on him.
You must understand how much of the weight you are carrying and how the horse will respond. You must have confidence in yourself to achieve success.
Most of the problems that come with jumping a horse start with the rider’s lack of confidence. We get in the saddle and start our ride, but after a few strides, we get nervous and wonder what we are doing.
It takes time and practice to gain confidence in the skills that we will be teaching the horse.
It’s not easy to sit a horse that is two or three strides off of a canter circle and ride the horse around without losing the same amount of weight every time we get into the saddle.
The horse must learn to carry the rider. If he cannot feel the weight of the rider, he will be uncomfortable and not as responsive to our cues.
The key to gaining confidence in riding is to become more aware of your body
By not focusing on the horse, but more on your own position in the saddle, you are taking your mind off of the horse and putting it into the present.
Every step you take is the stepping stone that is going to help you gain confidence in your ability to ride the horse.
The more awareness you have of the weight you are carrying, and the better you feel in your seat, the more you can give your horse to make him respond and balance him as he jumps.
The best way to build confidence in jumping your horse is to make sure you are doing everything the right way.
There are many mistakes that people make, and they just think they are doing it right. The first mistake many riders make is riding when they are nervous, not focusing on the horse and just watching him go around in circles.
Most of the problems we have when riding horses when we are nervous are because we don’t know how to communicate to the horse what we want.
If we are in a stress position, we are more likely to push or pull on our horse’s mouth and the horse is less likely to respond to your signals.
The next mistake is to use the wrong leg
Most of the time a rider uses his right leg first and then tries to make his right and left hooves meet.
I see this most often when I am riding with a little girl on her pony. If you think about it, the proper leg for jumping is always the left leg.
The most common mistake is not concentrating on what the horse is doing.
If you ride in the center of the ring, your horse will jump the entire arena, but if you jump out of the center of the ring, your horse will jump a circle that is more challenging and then jump around to get around the pole, which is a lot less challenging for him.
If we do something the wrong way, we should correct it so we can do it the right way, and that is the best way to build confidence.
If the horse jumps straight, then put him straight, if he jumps around, put him round.
Jumping straight is not going to build confidence, but it will cause a horse to be nervous.