Show jumping: how to become a better rider.

Best way to ride a jump-off.

So you’re wondering how to ride a jump-off? Always wanted to ride that good solid round, and of course with a very short time? There is nothing like the feeling of a good jump-off. Being a team with your horse. Using a good technique with a happy confident horse. You don’t want to galloping a round and just being lucky. It’s possible in the lower classes but impossible in the higher classes (1.20m and more).

For those who are wondering how do I know? I’m rider by my self. Riding show jumpers for living. Every day I have the luck to ride 10 or 12 horses, young and experience horses.

So how to ride a good jump-off? First you need to have a clear round, if you want to know how you can ride a clear round in show jumping please read my other article. Some tips for you to be a better jump-off rider:

1. Before the first fence

So you’re clear and ready for the jump-off. Make sure you ride your horse well up into the bridle. Ride with leg to your hand. And have a nice powerful counter but make sure to keep in the same rhythm.

2. Start and Finish

Don’t forget to pass the start and finish lines. Sometimes you don’t have to cross the start to get by the jump. This means also for the finish line after the last jump. Try also to ride your distance forward to the first fence. It can safe you seconds!

3. Shorter lines

Before you walked the course, you probably walked also the jump-off. If you didn’t do, shame on you! Look for the shortest lines that are reasonable to do. Without risking too much. Maybe there is a line in the classic course on 5 strides back. In the jump-off you can make 4 strides forward. It is one less stride that can safe you a lot of time. But don’t forget; with riding forward you take a little more risk. With 4 strides forward your horse is also become longer and makes easier a fault on the fence, especially when it is a vertical.

4. Quick turns

Quick turns and angle a fence steeper. This part depends on the riders- and horse experience. If you didn’t do this before or practiced this, don’t do it. Why? A lot of inexperienced horses fail with a steep angle of approach. The last thing you want is that they refuse to jump. Keep them relaxed and practise it first at home. Best way to do is with a show jump trainer.

5. Gallop more

A normal horse gallop is 3,5 meters. If you make it 4 meters it takes less time to ride the course. But by doing this keep in mind that the horse need to be underneath you! So don’t make the horse longer but make your stride longer. If you have some problems with making your stride longer, try only to ride more forward after the jumps. Then in the corner you collect your horse again and ride normal. Riding your horse forward into your hands. Don’t forget to support your horse in the corners.

6. Let your horse jump

Keep your hands and body as still as possible. How stiller you are the better your horse can jump. If you pull with your hands or moving to much with your body, you disturb your horse. Look at the jump to the next jump. Most of the time your horse lands on the correct lead. And that saves time because you don’t have to do a flying change.

One thing more I want you to know. Most of the time if I ride the young horses I try to school them. There are 4,5 or 6 years old and need to learn a lot. They need to jump correct and relaxed. If they are older, we can cut corners and ride shorter lines. Don’t rush it too much, first it need to be correct and then you can ride fast!

Good luck with your jump-off!

show jumping jump-off horses