Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Another attempt at jumping sidesaddle

I had some friends out riding on saturday and decided to attempt a couple of jumps sidesaddle for them. It feels like it's getting a bit better but it's still not right. I'm starting to get a bit frustrated by it because I'm feeling "stuck". I just can't seem to stay forward long enough and keep getting snapped back. Urghhh... I'm not sure if it's a muscle strength thing or if I'm doing something completely wrong or what. Maybe it has to do with how jerky Brigit's jump is. I dunno. I'm determined to figure it out though!

Here's a couple of video's my wonderful friend took. The first one is trotting in and the second is cantering in.


  1. Do you know Michelle? I pictured your jumping alot worse by how you have been describing it than how it looks in the videos. It's actually not too bad and your right leg looks rock solid unlike mine which tries to contort to some weird position!!

    From looking at your videos, it looks like you are trying to rise up out of the saddle into 2-point position like you would when riding in a normal hunt seat style.

    That could be why you are snapping back as your bum is trying to come out of the saddle like it would in a astride saddle and then it is slamming down as your horse lands. Unless you are incredibly flexible, you just cannot psyically get enough forward in a side saddle like you can riding in a normal saddle.

    Here is where the UK vs. North American seat varies. In the UK, side saddle riders kind of adopt a more dressagey seat when jumping and unless you are jumping 3' or higher, your bum stays in the saddle and you just kind of fold forward at the hips (no arching your back, just fold forward with your head up!). In one of my UK side saddle books (I think it is a Betty Skelton one), she says this and when folding as well, you fold forward but at a slight angle to the right (like as if you are trying to touch your left boob to your horse's off-side shoulder (LOL, that's how I think of it). This keeps you squared and secure in the saddle and keeps your right shoulder back. This is why I fell off jumping on the off-side as I wasn't concentrating and forgot to reverse the instructions!!

    When I first tried jumping on Hattie, I was trying to do the forward seat riding with my butt out of the saddle like how I learned to riding hunter in Montreal but then I read that little gem about your butt not leaving the saddle (unless you are jumping 3' or more), folding from the hips and angling your fold to the right and it made jumping that much easier. It's tricky as it goes against everything we have learned with hunter eq but this is what I was seeing watching the jumping at the National show this summer and those jumps were 2' to 2'6"!

    It will probably save your back too!

  2. Ouch that looks like it hurt snapping back like that!
    From what I have watched in aside jumping you can't take your butt out of the seat the same way. Maybe try and get someone to lunge you so you can figure out the balance without the reins?

  3. Well thanks! It doesn't *look* that bad but it sure feels bad!!! LoL I'm honestly not taking my butt off the saddle at all, or trying to, I'm just trying to fold way forward and stay forward.
    So you're thinking maybe I shouldn't fold forward quite so much?
    I know a good deal of my issue is from our lack of rhythm and probably not enough pace. It's an endless frustration with this mare. She's like a big accordian to ride some days, she can go from a huge big stride, down to a teeny tiny chip and pop over the fence like a deer, it's awful. Or vice versa. And she doesn't like to keep her head/neck DOWN and use it over the fence, as soon as she sees that jump, she sticks her head up and braces. Urrrghhh.... I feel like I should try galloping at a fence and seeing if that feels better! LOL

    If I can just figure out what to do, to make it so that my back doesn't hurt the day afterwards (it's the muscles in particular) I'd be happy. I have a feeling it's just going to take more practice over fences with my horse in both a regular and sidesaddle to get our pace/rhythm issues figured out AND to build up the strength to do it properly.

    Sydney, I love the idea but on my mare it wouldn't be a good idea. she's a bit of a nut when you lunge her over fences and gets faster and faster and faster. I don't think it'd be too productive! LOL I'd love to be able to do it though, it'd be nice to not have to worry about the reins. That's half of what I think my issue is, she goes from having her head where it should be, then it goes up (so I've got to shorten a bit), then we jump (neck lengthens) and I get jerked.

    I really appreciate your input though ladies! Every little bit helps! I'll keep updating you with our progress! My goal is to have this figured out by spring.