It's time to jump, folks!  Realize that if left on their own, horses will walk a half a mile out of their
way to avoid a simple 1 1/2-foot jump.  To get them to jump, you've got to do your part.
Jumping probably began long ago because horses were a primary means of transportation, and to
get from here to there, they had to be able to negotiate obstacles.  Today, we will jump for the pure
fun of it.
But you do not have to jump.  In fact, many of my adult students don't jump.  They stick to dressage
and other types of riding that require no jumping.  Those who do jump, however, find it challenging
and exciting.  Moreover, many equestrian competitions require jumping to some degree.
In teaching you to jump, I'm going to proceed much as I did with cantering: one phase at a time.  But
first, make sure you feel comfortable negotiating trotting poles and cavalletti as well as jumping from
the trot, which you learned during your trail class.  If you don't, keep practicing those basic
maneuvers and postpone this lesson.
For your introduction to jumping class, I've lines up an exciting mount for you.

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.

Jumping Safety
In learning to jump, your chances of falling off you horse triple.  You must protect yourself.  Follow
these very important rules:

  •    Wear a jumping vest.  I highly recommend them, just in case you take a spill.  They help
    protect your torso; some have pads that also protect your shoulders.

  •    A correctly fitted, ASTM/SEI-approved helmet is a must!  You can no longer borrow some ill-
    fitting helmet.

  •    Don't jump if empty cups remain in the jumping standards (the upright or vertical end
    poles).  The cups, which hold the horizontal poles you jump, are often made of metal.  If you
    fall off and hit one, it could leave an ugly injury.

  •    Never jump a jump you aren't comfortable with.  Expect your heart to beat a little faster while
    you're learning to jump, but don't let anyone force you into a jump you feel is too high.

Stirrup Length
For jumping, you want your stirrups shorter than usual.  Your crotch has to be able to clear the front
of the saddle, and your joints will be better able to absorb the shock of the landing after the jump.
To check your stirrup length for jumping, stand up in the saddle at the halt.  With your heels, down,
your crotch should clear the front of the saddle by about two inches.
Woodland Horse Center
16301 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20905
301-421-9156          fax: 301-421-9049