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 jumpers.
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
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.
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