We all screw up sometimes…

We’ve been picking on dressage a bit lately, so today we’re going to give some attention to jumper riders instead.  One thing that is disturbingly common in the jumper ring is people (and horses) trying to do a whole lot more than they’re capable of!

I (Jumper Girl) get it.  I really do.  I get that this is an outtake video and showing the worst of the worst at your barn.  I also get that jumping is fun.  A hell of a lot of fun!  Way more fun then spending hours at a time working without stirrups, doing transitions and serpentines and leg yields and all those other things that make your seat and leg more secure and your horse more responsive.

But can I let you in on a little secret?  Jumping is even more fun if you do the other things first.  I promise!  Correct that swinging lower leg and stop pinching with your knee and all of a sudden you won’t lose your balance so easily!  Get your horse responsive to transitions, especially within a gait, and it will be way easier to rate him and adjust your distance to a fence.  Hell, just train your horse to move straight and forward first and jumping will come a lot easier.

Then maybe people won’t give you such a hard time about your bloopers video.  For one, there won’t be nearly as many of them and, more importantly, they won’t be the result of such blatantly bad riding.  There will still be screw ups; nobody’s perfect, but at least they won’t happen again and again and be so painfully predictable.



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Posted on November 26, 2011, in Misc Horsies. Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. Yes, everyone has bad days – but if all these riders are at the same barn it is time to fire the instructor and find someone to teach them how to ride and STEER before they start jumping. The horses that jumped in this video deserve sainthood.

  2. I was particularly amused by the girl on the cob who apparently just didn’t know what ‘straight’ meant. To be fair, though, it IS a blooper reel.

  3. Soo much throwing of shoulders at fences!!! Yikes!!

  4. The horse bouncing around on its hind legs at the beginning of the video scared me. Good heavens, if your horse is giving you a ride like that, forget the jumps and just work on making it around the arena without temper tantrums for the rest of the day!

    • I (JG) just jumped my horse for the first time in almost 2 years yesterday. He’s had various soundness issues, is semi-retired now and I had given up on jumping him. For all that I love jumping, we only do it once everything else is in place! I had a couple little jumps set up in the ring for another horse and took him over them on a bit of a whim. But only because he was moving well, was responsive to my aids and ’cause he kept eying them up like, “Can we? Pretty please?” He was so excited about a 2′ vertical, it was hilarious!

  5. I do dressage but my riding school teaches some jumping, on the lower schooling level. So far I’ve only worked with ground poles. On day I asked my trainer: When are you going to let me do jumps? He gave me a sheepish smile and said: When I’m sure you’re not going to fall.
    He’s a great trainer, though. Will not let a student try something they’re not prepared for. I wish there were more trainers like that. Then you wouldn’t be seeing people who can’t even steer trying to jump.

  6. I had to be able to do a sitting trot (with and without stirrups) very well before I was allowed to learn to canter. Then I had to be able to sit the canter AND stay in two-point with AND without stirrups before I was able to start jumping. As impatient as I got as a kid, that foundation served me so well as I started moving from ponies to horses and made the transition from hunter/equitation to jumpers. It’s something I never forgot and will always be thankful to that trainer who made me sit the trot for what felt like hours on end.

    Oh, did I mention that she would also put the pony on a lunge line, take the stirrups off the saddle, and have me knot and drop the reins and post? This lady didn’t go to shows, taught out of the barn in her backyard, but man, she was an incredible horsewoman. I miss her dearly.

  7. I wish I’d had that kind of instruction. I was forced over cross rails before I could canter at ALL.

    Then I had a frightening fall at the age of 5, and was forced to get right back on and keep jumping. Nobody worked with me as I developed more and more fear of jumping. I did it because my parents would not allow me to change barns and at that barn, you jumped. Period. (You also beat horses. If you wanted to continue to ride there. But what kid has the maturity to give up pretty much the only thing they enjoy?)

    A couple of years ago my trainer put out trotting poles to work on a horse’s gait and I *froze in the saddle*. At trotting poles. I suspect I could easily get over the phobia with this trainer, but at the barn I’m at now, jumping lessons are separate from dressage and I simply can’t afford both…and don’t want to give up the dressage.

    • It sucks that you were forced to ride at that horrible barn and I can’t believe your parents actually made you stick to it!

      I had one experience with trotting poles, with a substitute trainer. He told me to kick and look straight ahead at the last poll. He failed to point out that I had to kick before EACH poll. As a result, horse tried to walk over the last poll and we both came close to landing on our faces. That trainer didn’t stay long at my school. My riding school is mainly focused on dressage but the schooling tests require some lower jumps as well as a dressage and grooming/tack test, so we are schooled when lower level jumps when the trainer think we are ready. So far I’ve worked only with ground polls, except for that day with the trotting polls. That little incident did not discourage me but it made me see just how much I still need to learn about jumping.

      • Problem #1: My parents didn’t have the time to drive me to another barn. I could walk to that one.

        Problem #2: The head instructor managed, somehow, to completely brainwash my normally very savvy father. He STILL TO THIS DAY BELIEVES THAT HORSES HAVE SUCH THICK SKINS THEY BARELY FEEL IT IF YOU BEAT THEM. To this day. He’s never ridden a horse and has rarely handled them, but he’s right on that and I’m wrong whenever it comes up. I’m still ‘too soft’ with horses. (Funny how I can perfectly handle a dominant, tough-minded, ranch-bred gelding…okay, I do smack him one every so often, but only when he asks for it :P).

        The two things I am most angry with her for are convincing my father that animal abuse was okay and the time she told me a pony I was very fond of had been sold because she didn’t want to ‘trouble’ me (I was 14 and had already lost a grandparent) with the truth that he’d broken his pelvis in a freak paddock accident and had to be destroyed. Okay, sure, I’d probably have burst into tears on the spot, but who freaking cares?

  8. I’m thinking that trainer deserved to have her skin tested for thickness, don’t you?

  9. I was asked to instruct at the local PC recently. I got the beginner/intermediate group and one girl could not hold a two point, heels were up, swinging lower leg, hunched through the back and on a green horse. I made my whole group warm up in a two point to make sure I’d have no deaths *never looks good on any resume* and the girl turns to me and says “you can’t do two point in cross country, or on my horse, if you want to see two point you can get on it yourself”. Two of the students I give private lessons to and the look on their faces was priceless, you could see them mentally warning the other girl to shut up now.

    Needless to say she spent a whole jumping lesson trotting over trot poles. I was very scared for her safety if I allowed her to jump and she got angry when I told her that.

    I event, but all my horses school mostly on the flat or over small grid patterns. I rarely jump very big outside of competitions, I believe its better to fix the big and small problems over smaller jumps or on the flat, I’m not perfect, I could make my own blooper reel, but me and my horse can get out of a lot of bad lines without casualties. That video is scary, and reminds me a lot of the PC girl with the ‘I know better’ attitude!

  10. This “blooper reel” reminds me of a terrible demo derby of horse-flesh and stupidity!! If this was random, and the same people weren’t featured repeatedly then I would agree that everyone has a bad day… however there is no way that you can seriously say that all of these people are riding at one barn, over milk crate jumps that are WAY too big for their swinging legs, eyes looking down, crooked approaches, death-grip hands and disconnected seats are just caught on “off days”!! I bet this is the rule, not the humiliating exception. Yes, perhaps there are many days when mean Mr. Gravity doesn’t bitch slap them, but I suspect the horsemanship there is never exemplary unless the video depicts the day that everyone “irished-up” their coffee and chased it with a shot!!

  11. OMG That was so fast and furious I’m struggling to believe it wasn’t all trick riding of some sort. So thankful they haven’t pulled the video so we can all keep watching. I bet with some professional help and riding theory they’d all be very good, and less bruised riders.

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