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Are You Giving Your Horse Enough Release Over The Jumps?

Submitted by member: Joyce

Hi! I have quite a few shows coming up and I need some help on my jumping position. I understand that I am supposed to have my arms out in front of me when I am jumping, but usually, I end up tucking them under me and not giving a full release. Is there a way I can fix that, even when jumping small cross rails, for practice? Thank you!

Answer by Bernie

I would suggest that you focus on practicing the two point position in the trot on a daily basis for the next few weeks. Make sure your leg is in the correct position to support you. A good indicator is the stirrup leather which should be perpendicular to the ground with your heel well down. Push yourself daily to hold this position longer and longer, but don’t push it to the point you get tired and lose the correct position.

This will greatly improve your strength and balance, thus making your seat more independent from your arms. In turn this will make you more solid over fences and enable you to work on extending your arms enough to allow the horse to use his neck fully.

If you are not releasing enough, then exaggerate the release for a couple weeks by using the long crest release. When you are comfortable with this and more secure in your position you can graduate to the medium or short crest release.

Video Recommendations:


The Progression of Releases
Karen Healey
Karen Healey and her demonstration riders present the various releases used in the jumping disciplines. Karen shows us what releases are suitable at the different stages in a rider’s development, from a beginner “reach up and grab mane” release to the most advanced following hand or automatic release. She discusses the advantages certain releases have and some common faults rider’s can make when incorrectly used.
Running Time:  22 minutes and 55 seconds

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correct arm in the air over a jump

Building Blocks to a Great Position: Part 4 Jumping Phase with Zazou Hoffman
Bernie Traurig
Bernie teams up with Maclay winner, Zazou Hoffman to illustrate his progressive system to develop a solid position for all jumping disciplines. This video outlines exercises that enhance proper techniques over fences, highlighting connection with your release over the jump.
Running Time:  17 minutes and 35 seconds

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Bernie Traurig

As a Horseman, Bernie is renowned for not only his riding talents but for his teaching and coaching gifts. As a competitor, Bernie has represented the United States Equestrian Team both at home and abroad on many occasions and reached the top of the sport in all 3 of the International Equestrian Olympic disciplines: Show Jumping, Dressage, and Eventing.After amassing 60 years worth of training and riding techniques and experiences with thousands of horses, Bernie is driven to give back to the sport that has given him so much fulfillment and success.

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