The First Jump!
You're going to start with cross rails, which is an X jump, formed by crossing two poles. Magic's
actual height off the ground during the jump will be about 18 inches.
Some instructors don't like to use this type of jump for beginners. If the approach isn't dead
center, or the horse jumps either left or right of center, the height may be too much for some new
My theory is that using an X jump teaches students and horses to aim for the exact center of the
jump. In fact, I use X jumps almost exclusively for teaching beginners. Students not only find them
less intimidating than other types of jumps, but ultimately realize the horse is actually jumping
higher than the center of the X, which can build a beginner's confidence.
But this is my way; you should start out with whatever jump your instructor deems best.
A Note to Your Instructor
You might be wondering why I want the student holding
onto the mane. Because this is a small jump, the horse
won't extend very far over the jump; there's no
crest release necessary. Crest release will come into play
once the horse starts basculing, or arcing over the top
of the jump. Holding onto the mane helps keep beginners
a bit more secure until they get used to jumping.
A compact, almost black, attractive little pony, Magic was gelded late in life and still thinks he's a
stallion. He just loves the girls. He neighs hard and prances around his stall anytime a mare walks
by, and he'll try to get amorous if he's turned out to pasture with a mare. He'll also try to fight with
horses three times his size. He's so aggressive around other horses, in fact, that he has to be
turned out alone.
For riders, Magic provides a lively mount. He's fast, agile, and a fantastic jumper despite his size,
which is why I've assigned him to you for this lesson.
Since you're riding Magic, I'm going to tell you the truth about ponies. Yes, they're certainly cute,
and some people consider them smarter than horses. Contrary to popular belief, however, being
small does not make them nicer. In fact, many of them can be difficult to handle.
You've already read that Magic acts up around other horses in the field, which means you should
keep him away from other horses when you're riding. If he can get into a scrap, he will. Apart from
that, you'll find him well behaved, and he'll give you a great ride.
|Woodland Horse Center
16301 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20905
301-421-9156 fax: 301-421-9049