How do I achieve the perfect jumping position?

  • Four-star event rider Coral Keen provides one H&H forum user with some helpful advice on how to nail the perfect jumping position

    Q: Help with my jumping position: “How on earth can I get the correct jump fold position? For whatever reason, I ride defensively and almost lock myself into a standing position, although giving with my hands. I’ve been having lessons, upon lessons, upon lessons, and yet while I’m jumping, I’m not getting any fold from the hips or hover over the saddle to get the perfect position. At 39, am I too old to get it? Do I need hypnotherapy to erase this habit? I’m getting increasingly fed up that I can’t do it coming into a jump. I’m chuffed to pieces that I’m now competing, but I want to crack this position although I’m desperately unsure how to.”

    A: “I think that there’s a large amount of ‘muscle memory’ going on here. Pilates might help to make you more loose in your hips and I would certainly recommend trying that to help.

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    “When you’re hacking out or in the school, spend time in the jump position both while trotting and cantering to practise it and also to try and teach new muscle memory — it doesn’t have to be only when jumping that you attempt the position.

    “Repeat, repeat, repeat! This will help build that new muscle memory and go some way to erase the previous memory. You’re never too old to improve on things so do just keep practising.

    “If your horse is happy — and he must be because you’re competing — then don’t worry too much about things because it will come with time and lots and lots of practise. Break the habit by consciously practising.

    “In the meantime, don’t beat yourself up about your position — take a look on YouTube at Annette ‘Nettie’ Lewis; she had quite an unorthodox position and was hugely successful. I do hope this helps. Above all, enjoy the relationship you have with your horse.”

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