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Jumping out of the arena

Hope Ross wrote:
> >O Angie was talking
 You get them headed the
> >same direction 100 other horses go and nothing will stop them.

That's the method we used with my field hunter after he schooled for a
while in the pasture at home.  We took him to his first hunt and pointed
him at the fences that everyone else was popping over.  He looked at
them a little, but he wasn't ABOUT to be left behind.  By the end of the
day, he was quite solid over 4'!  (The first big fence, he jumped with
his head between his knees, trying to take a good look!  Very strange
sensation, seeing the front of your horse disappear in mid-air over the
fence.  You only hope that he remembers to look up and land gracefully.)

>  Out of curiosity -- what
> "gear" are you usually in when approaching a jump?

At the beginning, we always trotted the little cavalettis and low (24")
"fences".  As they got larger, we approached in a collected canter. 
Once Samm was more accomplished, he could hit it at a full hand gallop
and do fine.  He was gradually improving his ability to judge the
distance and space his strides so that he came into the fence at a good
spot for take off.  In the hunter ring, I'd walk the jump spacing and
"tell" him to shorten or lengthen to be able to hit the ideal spot for a
take off.  That was a non-existant luxury in the hunt field.

  The only time
> Dixie's jumped with me was straight up in the air when I was riding
> side-saddle -- the lack of leg on right side was spooky, don't you
> know!

That's how I got involved in riding sidesaddle.  Somebody bet me that
you couldn't jump aside.  I learned to ride english, then jump, then
jump aside one summer, and never looked back.  I always got such a kick
out of the judges' faces in the ring when I entered sidesaddle.  I fox
hunted aside for a while too - you use a very different set of muscles
in the right leg when you are aside.

The biggest concern that I had jumping aside was you couldn't easily
bail out from a sidesaddle.  You could be trapped in the saddle during a
fall.  I used a break-away apron over black breeches so that I wouldn't
be hung up by skirts.

If you aren't familiar with jumping, see if your trainer will let you on
an accomplished school horse for a lesson or two first.  You need to
find your place on the horse before you try to teach your greenie.  You
can instill some horrible habits in the horse if you are out of position
or rough on his mouth over the fence.

Linda Flemmer

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