Jumping can be an exhilarating way to exercise your horse and it takes a lot of skill to successfully negotiate a fence that is in front of you. Something that may help is to know the five phases of a riding a jump. These are the approach, takeoff, flight, landing and getaway. During each phase, there are certain things that you should be focusing on, both for your riding position and for your horse:
- Approach – this is the phase where you are making sure that you are on a straight line to the fence and that you have the appropriate speed and energy required for the jump. You should maintain your three-point position and during this phase, you judge the distance until takeoff. Your horse should be in balance and listening to your aids so that you can adjust the stride length if necessary. Your horse’s head will lower slightly as this is how they will see the jump and workout the takeoff point.
- Takeoff – this is the phase where your horse will leave the ground by pushing off with their hind legs underneath them and tucking their front legs under their chest. You will move into the two-point position, lifting out of the saddle slightly and bending at the hips, keeping your core strong with your hands on your horse’s neck so that you don’t pull on their mouth.
- Flight – this is the phase where you and your horse are in the air over the jump. You should maintain your two-point position and be looking straight ahead. If your next fence is on a curve, you can begin to guide your horse in that direction by opening your rein and looking in the direction of your next fence.
- Landing – this is the phase where you and your horse land on the other side of the jump. You should remain strong through your core to make sure that you don’t collapse on your horse’s neck on landing. Your horse will land on both front legs, and use that energy to propel them into the first stride after landing.
- Getaway – this is the phase where your horse travels away from the jump. You reestablish the balance and energy of your horse, making sure they are again listening to your aids, so that you can either jump another fence or continue riding away. You can stay in your two-point position or you can return to a three-point position.
When you are starting out jumping, you can practice these phases over a pole on the ground or a cavaletti. As you get more experienced, you can change to a small fence, then making the jump bigger or adding an additional jump to your line. For safety reasons, you should always make sure there is someone with you when you jump and you should talk to your coach or riding instructor about introducing jumping to your training.
The takeoff and landing of a jump can put additional strain on your horse’s joints, so it is wise to feed a high quality joint supplement. Ranvet’s Flexi Joint Plus is a premium 6-in-1 joint supplement, which contains Glucosamine Sulphate, Chondroitin Sulphate, Manganese, Vitamin C, MSM and Curcumin. Flexi Joint Plus is a PELLETED joint supplement with a delicious apple flavour, so it’s a super palatable and can help support your horses joint health and function.