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How To Stop Your Leg From Sliding Back in the Air Over Jumps

Submitted by member: Joy

Hi! I recently have been feeling like my leg is always sliding back over jumps. Are there any exercises that you can tell me that might help this issue?

Answer by Julie Winkel

First of all I would check your stirrup length. Often times it’s easier to control your lower leg and keep it on your horse with shorter irons. I am always in the habit of jumping a hole or two shorter than when I flat. Depending on the height of the fences I sometimes raise them even more for bigger jumps. I feel this gives me a stronger base, more control of my leg and better balance.

One of my favorite exercises is to set two jumps next to each other at right angles. Then I practice figure eight-ing the two jumps at a canter. This forces me to stay tall in the air and land in my heels to prepare for the turn. I also focus on not pinching with my knees in the air, as this forms a pivot, creating a swinging lower leg!

Another exercise I like a lot is trotting in and out of a line, with two rails at takeoff, set at 4-1/2′, 9′-cross rail-then 34-1/2′ to rails at 4-1/2, 9- cross rail, then 34-1/2′ to four rails set at 4-1/2, 4-1/2, 4-1/2.

julie winkel exercise over jumps

Basically this exercise is all trotting and the cross rails can be raised to steeper cross rails or taller verticals as you master this. The exercise is wonderful at forcing control of your leg and upper body at take-off, flight and landing, as you must be in balance and have control of your lower leg so you can be organized on landing for the downward, in front of leg, transition back to trot. Hope this helps. Good luck!


Click here for Bernie’s “Quick Tip for Riders to Keep Their Boots From Slipping in the Saddle”

Video Recommendation:

riders position over jumps

Form Follows Function Over Fences
Cynthia Hankins
In this topic, the second in a series, Cynthia Hankins, shares with us her insight into some of the common bad habits riders inadvertently acquire – this time over fences. In addition to pointing out these habitual position flaws, Cynthia demonstrates the correct, classical form stamped by the American Hunter/Jumper Forward Riding System. Make sure to watch Cynthia’s first video in this series, Form Follows Function.
Running Time:  13 minutes and 18 seconds

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Julie Winkel

Julie Winkel has been a licensed Hunter, Equitation, Hunter Breeding and Jumper judge since 1984. She has officiated at prestigious events such as Devon, Harrisburg, Washington International, Capital Challenge, The Hampton Classic and Upperville Horse Shows. She has designed the courses and judged the ASPCA Maclay Finals, The USEF Medal Finals and The New England Equitation Finals.

For more information, visit her website:

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