Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

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Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

Postby Lipsmackerpony88 » Tue Dec 08, 2020 7:48 pm

Thinking about taking a few hunter jumper lessons as well as get back into Dressage lessons while I attempt to get back into shape after 7 months off.

My idea is to keep things a little diverse because I take Dressage sometimes too seriously.

I had this same idea a few years back and took a working student position with an Eventer. But she was also a Bronze Medalist and L grad. So I quickly started asking for more Dressage lessons. Lol it's my first passion!

The bit of jumping I did, I think helped my riding overall. Two point definitely was good for my position and letting go a bit was good mentally and for my confidence. I do feel out of my element there.

So would taking some jumping lessons on top of some Dressage lessons help or hinder me? I know some people think it's too confusing to try different disciplines. I am wary that I don't want someone messing with my leg too much (I don't want and actually can't have a hyperflexed ankle) and I don't want to get that duck butt where your pelvis is tipped and back hollow. Otherwise, I think it could be good for me.

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Re: Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

Postby Lipsmackerpony88 » Tue Dec 08, 2020 7:50 pm

Also because I'm out of shape, I certainly don't expect or want to be thrown into a course of jumps right away. Thinking more of many laps on the flat doing two point, poles and small cross rails.

Maybe it's a bad idea not being fit. Not sure. But thinking of at least trying one lesson.

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Re: Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

Postby blob » Tue Dec 08, 2020 9:35 pm

I think cross-training can be very valuable for both horses and riders. And learning to see a distance to a fence can be really valuable for dressage work. But position stuff is often in direct conflict. It doesn't mean there aren't MANY riders who can seamlessly go from one or the other but just somethign to keep an eye out for.

One suggestion is that you might want to try to take jumper lessons rather than hunters. Jumpers ride their horse more forward, with more contact, and are often riding each stride more like a dressage rider. I've also seen that jumpers often take to dressage more easily than those with a strictly hunter background.

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Re: Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

Postby StraightForward » Tue Dec 08, 2020 9:42 pm

I don't take jumping lessons currently, but I do try to incorporate some gymnastic jumping on a regular basis. Although I do it more for my horse's benefit, I think it's helpful for the rider as well. Sometimes in dressage I think we can get a little too in our heads and jumping requires a certain level of impulsion and execution that can be missing from dressage schooling.

Could you take jump lessons from an eventer instead of a specialized hunter? I would think you would want to focus more on the functional aspect of jumping, not the aesthetics that go into showing hunters.
Keep calm and canter on.

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Re: Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

Postby Lipsmackerpony88 » Tue Dec 08, 2020 10:05 pm

Blob, yes I definitely don't want to be too stylized like a hunter. Besides the arched back, over flexed ankles, is there anything else I should watch for?

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Re: Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

Postby Lipsmackerpony88 » Tue Dec 08, 2020 10:09 pm

Straightforward, there are some Eventers (the one I worked for doesn't train anymore.) I actually used another one for awhile but she suddenly decided her calling was French Classical Dressage, without making her students aware of this change in philosophy. And so things got really wacky and confusing for me. At first I loved how interested she was in Dressage but that person probably did the most damage to my riding and my confidence more than anyone else.

Another just shattered her ankle, so not sure she can teach right now. I'm trying to think of any other eventers in the area. I think most are too far, unfortunately.

I might have to try to find a jumper like Blob suggested. I think I'm aware enough to watch out for any detrimental stuff so hopefully I can pick somebody that will be helpful and not cause any issues.

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Re: Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

Postby blob » Tue Dec 08, 2020 11:01 pm

Lipsmackerpony88 wrote:Blob, yes I definitely don't want to be too stylized like a hunter. Besides the arched back, over flexed ankles, is there anything else I should watch for?


Sitting more forward with a closed hip angle and having the toe turned out. The hunter mechanics for sitting the trot are almost opposite of what most dressage riders aim to do. I also know some hunter riders who primarily use the inside rein for half halts (I don't know if this is an official 'thing' or just some people).

A lot of the above doesn't necessarily apply for jumpers, though. Yes, the heel is anchored down and the toe typically turned out a bit more. But most jumpers don't arch their back and you'll see many of them sit into the saddle to the base of the fence and use their seat to collect or extend depending on the distance they want. If you look on youtube even at 2 or 3ft jumper rounds you'll see how much flatter their backs are, how much more they sit into the saddle, and how much more contact they take compared to hunter rounds at the same height.

Another valuable difference is that a lot of hunter riders are taught to leave the horse alone, jumpers are taught to really ride every stride, which i think lends itself better to dressage.

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Re: Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

Postby Lipsmackerpony88 » Thu Dec 10, 2020 7:35 pm

Honestly I don't think physically I can really get my heel too deep nor turned out. And arching my back would absolutely wreck it! So any instructor is going to have to just work with what I got haha! But I hear you I will try and find somebody not too heavy into hunters. Honestly I was thinking of just occasional lessons because obviously my focus is dressage :)

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Re: Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

Postby Ryeissa » Mon Dec 21, 2020 10:33 pm

Hmmm...maybe if you are less of a wuss than I am....LOL....
I am very very lucky that my trainer does both. I have learned to maintain my dressage while in a jump saddle and doing things. I have a fear of jumping so when I tried it with a regular HJ trainer my horse quickly regressed and braced, and I felt even more unsafe so I stopped doing those lessons.
I have both dressage and jump saddles. I find it HARD to switch between though they both fit me. It's great to challenge yourself to do new things.
For me, I do cavaletti in my dressage saddle in a half seat. This is how i compromise. I also longe my horse over jumps sometimes and I have had a friend jump him "for real".

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Re: Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

Postby Lipsmackerpony88 » Tue Dec 22, 2020 3:31 pm

Ryeissa, I'm a bit of a wuss with jumping too. It's funny, I ride unknown horses all the time, and I'm fine. One time I got bucked off 3 (or 4? Can't exactly remember) times in one ride, and was fine confidence wise. Although I didn't ride that horse again (I got on to walk but never went back.) The horse had back issues that were not disclosed to me until after.

But put out a little crossrail and my blood gets pumping. I've never had any problems, I've never even had a horse refuse! My fear comes from two things. I feel completely out of my element. My experience jumping has always been brief and never in depth. So I feel like I just don't know what I'm doing. And as a Dressage rider, I want to know every detail ha ha!! I do not know how to see a distance and never feel like position is where it should be. I really have NO clue.

Another reason is I'm either riding my own green horses (who have all been great) or I'm riding a horse that instructor tells me has a bucking problem. Or gets really strong over fences. I just want to learn on an old steady eddy lesson horse.

So we will see. I am supposed to have a lesson next week. I tried to make it clear my goals and what I'm looking for. My biggest thing is my position, but in the past I never had a problem going back and forth. If I just truly hate it, even with a slower approach, than I will call it good! I just think pushing myself is good and right now this is the only way I can. I wasn't planning on doing it forever, maybe just got 2 months or so. and then maybe while I'm trying horses while shopping I can be a little more comfortable and jump in saddle as well!

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Re: Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

Postby chantal » Tue Dec 22, 2020 5:58 pm

So maybe an instructor who is an eventer would be better for you than a hunter jumper person. They understand how we need the two disciplines to work together. My jumping instructor is an eventer. And my dressage instructor has a French Classical background and I love her. None of the toes out, heels in stuff and her position is to be envied. I truly try to channel her, when I ride, her core is incredible.

I was hesitant too, poles and gymnastics are fantastic. And if at all possible, see if you can find a steady eddy to ride once in a while. For the past couple of years I was lucky enough to have a Irish draft mare to foxchase and clinic once in while. She also does dressage so we got along perfectly. She took great care of me, but, I also had to ride with tact and not pull on her mouth, she would buck if she objected to you. Mikey and I have come a long way in 2 1/2 years. You can see my first year or so in the Young Horse Forum, Training goals for my 4yo. We were literally led down our first line of gymnastics (yes poles on the ground) by the instructor. Those pics are in there, he was such a gangly 4yo. Bit by bit, patience and work. It's coming.

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Re: Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

Postby Ryeissa » Tue Dec 22, 2020 6:46 pm

Yeah, I think if you have experience like Chantal when you are younger it really helps. My horse is a great jumper but very prone to JUMPING if you know what i mean?

I agree the eventers tend to have a better background (my trainer is an eventer and trains to a high level in dressage) and more apt to support our dressage basics.

As an aside, I had to use my jump saddle for quite awhile while I was saddle shopping and I do 95% dressage. It was super good for my horse and I didn't miss out on anything- I was schooling mid levels and it was just fine. A proper trainer will help use the same muscles for collection and have the back lifted no matter the saddle type. I just had my stirrups a bit lower than if I was jumping, but I tend to like a bit shorter leg than some so it works.

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Re: Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

Postby chantal » Wed Dec 23, 2020 1:11 am

"A proper trainer will help use the same muscles for collection and have the back lifted no matter the saddle type. "

This!!

I do think my past helps, plus me being an adrenaline junkie and racing bikes and being a mountain biker. Seriously, my biking friends made me suck things up more than I would have on my own and jumping is similar. And I wouldn't have done the biking stuff as well without my riding background so there's that. Balance is so important.

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Re: Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

Postby Lipsmackerpony88 » Wed Dec 23, 2020 3:17 pm

@Chantal, trying to find an Eventer. It's tough right now, two I was trying to work with are both recovering from surgery (intense surgery.) And I don't have a horse right now (I'm in horse shopping hell.)

I have a lesson scheduled with a hunter jumper barn, but they used to be Eventer focused. We will see. Honestly this would just be a minor thing, with Dressage as my main focus. I doubt I will even continue jumping lessons all year. I doubt I would ever want to do anything over like 2'6" lol

You and your young horse look like a great pair having a blast! You are a lovely rider too. Is there any certain position challenges you've had from going back and forth? I own both a jumping saddle and dressage saddle. Although right now I'm catch riding so I ride in whatever is available.

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Re: Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

Postby Lipsmackerpony88 » Wed Dec 23, 2020 3:19 pm

@Ryeissa I can see that. I'm not too clumsy over jumps, I just never feel like I know what I'm doing. That's why I'm hoping for a steady eddy to learn on in lessons.

And totally agree about doing low level dressage in a jump saddle! I'd rather do that than ride in a Dressage saddle that's doesn't fit me or the horse!

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Re: Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

Postby chantal » Sun Dec 27, 2020 12:37 pm

I think all lessons, meaning good instruciton, will add to your education, condition and seat. I think it's a great idea and hopping on a schoolie has great benefits. I rode schoolies for years between other mounts and learned so much from them. And they can really shine with an experienced rider as well. You can learn something from every horse, but you already know that.

Position issues, I may struggle with my lower leg position a bit, but I feel like that's more of a result of being dressage only for 30+ years. And my upper body needs more strength between the gymnastics and over bigger jumps but we are getting there. I love that DH take's pics, I pour over them and am probably over-critical. My upper body either too far back at the beginning of poles work or too far forward. And rein length needs to be shorter I'm finding for poles. I don't think it's hurting my dressage position, I do take weekly dressage lessons but hubby doesn't usually come out to photograph that. He's working and it's not as exciting. Did I answer your question? That was kind of a brain dump, only one sip of coffee so far this morning. :lol:

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Re: Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

Postby Lipsmackerpony88 » Sun Dec 27, 2020 4:15 pm

Chantal, tht perfectly answers it! I am most worried about it hurting my Dressage position, but I don't think it will. I'm okay with a mediocre position in a jump saddle as long as it is stable enough to be safe ;)

I'm posting a bit of an embarrassing video of me in a jump saddle (on a young horse I didn't know.) I definitely always feel a little out of sorts at first and it jumps saddle I just always feel slightly unsure about where I want my body to be. Plus I hadn't ridden in 7 months (I lost a horse to Wobblers.)

I had to laugh at my attempt at two point because that really was a moment of let's see if I remember how to do this! So that was part of my inspiration for doing this. for one I think cross training is both so good for both horse and rider and I want to be at least competent enough to do it. And I want to have a level of comfort when I am trying horses and all different types of saddles. I'm writing and everything from dressage saddles to endurance saddles!

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Re: Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

Postby Lipsmackerpony88 » Sun Dec 27, 2020 4:16 pm


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Re: Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

Postby StraightForward » Sun Dec 27, 2020 4:52 pm

I think you're doing a good job there!

Trying green horses in unfamiliar saddles is hard! When I went to World Cup in Omaha, I drove out and tried two green horses that had been started western. They thought I would prefer English though, so they threw the owner's ancient, slick Crosby PdN (not even pencil rolls!) on the first horse over a thick western pad. That was an awfully precarious feeling, especially on a horse who had been trained into a low headset. For the second horse, I said please just put the western saddle on her! Another time I tried a 3 year old that had like 10 lifetime rides, and the owner had a really fancy jumping saddle like a Devacoux (sp?) or something, and I just could not find my balance point in it. Bless that young horse for doing all she could to stay with me.

It is important to ride in the right jumping saddle though. I only rode in dressage saddles for several years, then I bought a Thornhill 24K close contact and couldn't ride in it to save my life. I blamed my own skills and fitness, and eventually sold it. Later I bought a used Albion Legend CC and felt instantly balanced and secure despite it not having any deeper seat or bigger rolls or anything. So I don't think taking jumping lessons in a poorly balanced saddle would be helpful beyond maybe making it easier to try horses in random conditions. In the end, it might make you take on some positional issues, excessive gripping etc. to compensate for a badly balanced saddle.

The other day I popped my jump saddle on Annabelle and we went for a little "flat jumping" session, just riding between markers and over a few ground poles, more in two-point. My biggest position issue right now is lateral balance, and I think riding in light seat/two-point is a good correction for that, not having my seatbones and thighs to catch me if I start slouching to the left. You can always drop your stirrups and stretch your thighs down a bit on walk breaks to avoid getting too scrunched up.
Keep calm and canter on.

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Re: Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

Postby Ryeissa » Sun Dec 27, 2020 8:57 pm

I think you look great! Its hard to try new horses and be in an unfamiliar place. Looks like you will do just fine if you choose to do some more HJ lessons!

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Re: Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

Postby Lipsmackerpony88 » Sun Dec 27, 2020 10:43 pm

@Straightforward oh gosh I hear you on having a balanced saddle! I have a hard time even more in Dressage saddles actually, as far as riding in other people's tack. I'm so not educated on the biomechanics but I think it had something to do with my femur length?In jumping saddles, I definitely find some flaps are not right for my femur. But I feel like I can fake it better in the that over a Dressage saddle that doesn't fit. And some of the twists in a Dressage saddle can be killer. I definitely have a narrow pelvis/tighter hips because of my connective tissue disorder. If all is correct, then I do prefer the dressage saddle and that type of seat. I also get crooked and collapse on one side so I think some two point will help that a bit.

I had to laugh at the jumping saddle on top of a western saddle pad!! That must have felt crazy! Oh my gosh, horse shopping lol!!

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Re: Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

Postby Lipsmackerpony88 » Sun Dec 27, 2020 10:46 pm

@Ryeissa oh thanks. It so tough after having the better part of the year off! My last lesson (dressage) was in like February lol. I am looking forward to starting dressage lessons again and I really hope the Hunter jumper lessons just keep a sense of light heartedness for me after losing my young horse. I just take dressage so seriously that sometimes it nice to just dabble in something in a casual way. We will see!

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Re: Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

Postby Ryeissa » Mon Dec 28, 2020 8:10 pm

Lipsmackerpony88 wrote:@Ryeissa oh thanks. It so tough after having the better part of the year off! My last lesson (dressage) was in like February lol. I am looking forward to starting dressage lessons again and I really hope the Hunter jumper lessons just keep a sense of light heartedness for me after losing my young horse. I just take dressage so seriously that sometimes it nice to just dabble in something in a casual way. We will see!

yeah, I find it harder in a different way. things come up faster. I think it depends on if you can turn off your student brain. I can't do that at all.... :lol:

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Re: Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

Postby Lipsmackerpony88 » Mon Dec 28, 2020 11:23 pm

@Ryeissa ha! I can agree there! I guess it's more that I'm less invested in jumping where as with Dressage I'm practically obsessed. lol. If I am a mediocre jumper, eh, oh well I tried!

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Re: Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

Postby chantal » Tue Dec 29, 2020 4:39 pm

LSpony88 (does that work? :lol: ), you look good and I love your hands. Your body may get a little confused at first but tell your instructors to keep after your postion. Correct muscle memory is so important. I've told mine I don't take offense at the nitpickyness (hmmm, sp?), it will only help in the long run.

SF-I tried a ton of saddles to find the right jumping saddle with enough security for baby me. Obviously baby horse doesn't care :lol: Truly flat saddles were an absolute no go, and my horse's trainer had a old Dover jumping saddle that I still covet, not expensive but oh so comfy. But not for sale. I went with a Black Country GPX. A barnmate lent me her BC Wexford which was like riding in a couch, comfy but limiting if you wanted to jump in the future. Perfect for us starting out 2 years ago though. We may modify the jumping saddle a tige though, Susie Coffey has some ideas. But it was made for my guy and fits both of us really well.

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Re: Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

Postby Lipsmackerpony88 » Tue Dec 29, 2020 4:48 pm

@Chantal thank you! I feel like I'm one of those riders that can change my position a lot and easily, it finding what I want to stick with that's more difficult if that makes sense. I'm a nut about my position in any saddle, so sometimes I also try too hard! I'm finding that watching videos of myself really helps it all click. Watching videos isn't always pleasant (ha!) but the benefits outweigh the initial discomfort of seeing myself on video.

I'm supposed to have a "jumping lesson" this Thursday. Obviously I doubt I'll be jumping then (or I hope not lol) but we will see how me and this instructor gel. I really tried to convey to her that I really wanted her to treat me like a rank beginner.

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Re: Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

Postby Ryeissa » Tue Dec 29, 2020 6:52 pm

Lipsmackerpony88 wrote:@Ryeissa ha! I can agree there! I guess it's more that I'm less invested in jumping where as with Dressage I'm practically obsessed. lol. If I am a mediocre jumper, eh, oh well I tried!


yeah, keep us posted and have fun. I can't turn off my "you are teaching the horse" brain, even on a trail ride. I'm getting better though. I guess that is what being in a serious program year round will do to you.....LOL....... helppppppp :roll: :lol:

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Re: Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

Postby Lipsmackerpony88 » Tue Dec 29, 2020 8:12 pm

@Ryeissa, I can relate to that ha ha. But I'm hoping I'm on some old, steady eddy for these lessons! Focus on myself ;) we will see how it goes. I'll update!

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Re: Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

Postby Lipsmackerpony88 » Thu Dec 31, 2020 10:44 pm

Well I had a hunter jumper lesson today! Overall, I had a great time. Even did a very small course of "half crossrails," just one side of the pole up.

Position wise, she said overall it was pretty good. She did want my heel deeper but not overly flexed (which I can't do anyways.) She wanted my elbows bent and chest more open. Honestly heard a lot of the same stuff I do in my Dressage lessons lol.

Overall it was kind of nice to ride an old school horse and do some different! I enjoyed it and think I will go back for some more.

I'm also hoping to get back into consistent dressage lessons soon but that's proving to be slightly difficult despite multiple efforts. It will happen but I think with the holidays and everything, I need to be patient.

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Re: Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

Postby Lipsmackerpony88 » Sat Jan 02, 2021 4:24 pm

Oh well I discovered I had some bruising on my knees. So obviously I was pinching a bit! I bruise extremely easily so I don't think it was as extreme as it sounds but obviously there was pinching at my knee!

I'm not surprised because 1. I was having a bit of a hard time getting my lower leg on the horse with his shape and 2. The saddle was very flat and an old school hard type.

I'm thinking we need to shorten my stirrups a bit next time and I need to turn my toe out a little (I really didn't at all) and think of opening my knees slightly.

It's funny because I ALWAYS am told my position is basically good in any type of saddle but I always feel that there are things happening that I need to work on. I think it's just subtle.

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Re: Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

Postby Ryeissa » Tue Jan 05, 2021 4:19 pm

Fun! I am glad it worked out.

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Re: Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

Postby Lipsmackerpony88 » Thu Jan 07, 2021 3:59 pm

Having another lesson today. I am trying that horse again this weekend so I'm going to see if we can not do too much two point so that I'm not wickedly sore this weekend :p

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Re: Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

Postby Lipsmackerpony88 » Thu Jan 07, 2021 11:43 pm

Lesson number 2 was so much fun! I'm glad I did this. It's not the same fun as dressage but it is a good time. We messed with my leg a bit so that I wasn't pinching with my knee.

We did ground poles, cavaletti and a small course with cross rails. I honestly do believe that what I'm doing now will only help me in Dressage.

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Re: Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

Postby chantal » Tue Jan 12, 2021 12:41 am

Sounds like it's going well, yay!

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Re: Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

Postby Ryeissa » Tue Jan 12, 2021 4:49 pm

super! It's a great skill to have. My horse loves jumping and it really helps the dressage

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Re: Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

Postby Lipsmackerpony88 » Fri Feb 05, 2021 3:24 pm

Well I'm 6 lessons in and having a good time. My goals are super low and not ambitious at all with it. I would never want to go over 2'6"!
I keep thinking "it's a real bummer I can't keep doing this forever." Which seems pretty silly. While it would never be my focus, I certainly will cross train and can take occasional jumping lessons in the future. I think I just finally found the right instructor to help me enjoy this.

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Re: Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

Postby Elise's Equines » Thu Dec 30, 2021 6:03 am

Cross training can be very helpful, I do dressage but have done some jump lessons on the side. I have gained really good body control from the jumping but it can get a little confusing so I recommend doing more dressage then jumping if that's your primary discipline. :D :D

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Re: Taking hunter jumper lessons too?

Postby Lipsmackerpony88 » Thu Dec 30, 2021 3:44 pm

Elise's Equines wrote:Cross training can be very helpful, I do dressage but have done some jump lessons on the side. I have gained really good body control from the jumping but it can get a little confusing so I recommend doing more dressage then jumping if that's your primary discipline. :D :D



Absolutely! I haven't updated this thread in a while but I did take jumping lessons with that instructor until about May I think? I had bought my baby horse and of March. Then summer hit and it was kind of a struggle as he was 45 minutes away in training so I really didn't ride much at all.

And the last few months have been focused on dressage but we are starting to introduce him to cavaletti and tiny tiny crossrails after lots of pole work.

Now I'm going to take some lessons with that jumping instructor on some school horses again to get me back in tip top jumping shape .


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