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

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.


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