Sally Cousins’ Weekly Training Tip: Three Jumping Positions

We are delighted to introduce Sally Cousins as our newest guest blogger, as she shares her wealth of knowledge with us in the form of weekly training tips. We hope these nuggets of information can be integrated directly into your program at home and can influence the way you ride and train your horses. Be sure to check out both the Sally Cousins Eventing website and keep up with her on Facebook.

Photo by Kasey Mueller

Photo by Kasey Mueller

From Sally:

When I jump, I use three different jumping positions — two point, three point and sitting fully in the saddle. I decide which one to use depending on the conformation of the horse, the experience of the horse and the type of fence I’m jumping.
If I am jumping a horse that is built or carries itself downhill, I will use the three-point position so I can use my body to help the horse within his balance. If I’m riding a brave jumper that goes uphill,  I may ride the horse in a more forward or two-point position.  On a horse that my be inclined to stop or is just green, I will sit in the saddle in the approach so I can be behind him if he starts to back off.
The type of fence also determines how I use my body in the approach; the taller the fence, the further back I keep my upper body. This gives the horse more support in his balance without just using the reins. If I am jumping an honest horse over smaller jumps, I will often keep my upper body a bit more forward in two point.
If I am jumping a fence that has a sloping face to it, I will often use two point since the horse’s balance does not need to be adjusted as much. To jumps without height, such as ditches, banks down or going into the water, I will stay sitting in the saddle because if the horse peaks, it will quickly drop its eye, and it is easy to find ourselves out of balance and too far forward.
I know that many riders feel strongly about what is the right jumping position to use, but I think it is important to be able to use all three. I have found that on one cross-country ride, I have used all three on the same horse. Most importantly, if  your horse is jumping confidently and performing well, you are probably riding it just right!

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