I’ve got young riders who recently learned jump position at their lesson. I kept hearing how they should bend their knees but keep their toes pointed up and keep their behind over the saddle. Is there a way to practice this position at home?
Or are there any other ways to practice for young riders? I know other sports have drills and training but I’m not sure where to start with this.
The jumping position or 2 point or forward seat involves the rider being centered over her feet. The stirrup leathers are perpendicular to the ground. If you draw a line from the stirrup leathers, the knees, head and shoulders are in front of the line and the hips fall behind. As the rider approaches the fence, they should let the horse thrust them out of the saddle and their hip angle should open. The riders body should look like a question mark.
There is much discussion lately regarding toes up/heels down. Everyone tells you to do so, but why? Yes, it should help keep the weight in your feet and have a secure leg, but riding without stirrups will teach a rider that better than anything. I see lots of riders with heels down who still have a swinging leg. As long as the leg is secure and the heel is not up, I am ok with it being level. Sometimes, especially with equitation riders, you see the heel down being pushed down to an extreme.
The rider should have their weight toward the pelvis and enough weight in the stirrups to keep them secure in the seat and their position and not tossing them too far forward. It’s common to see riders “jump ahead” of their horse rather than letting the horse carry them out of the saddle. That is when you see hips too far forward, sometimes over the pommel.
Hip joints are so important! They connect the lower leg, which should be still and the upper body. They should be flexible, opening and closing as needed.
I like having kids on a lunge line, bareback or a bareback pad. Have ground poles and then cavaletti’s set up and let them get the feel for where their body position should be.
The USPC Manuals are great reference, especially the D manual for beginners.