Horse jumping can be a terrific technique to help your youngster develop their abilities and acquire confidence during their riding sessions. However, it’s essential to keep certain safety precautions in mind.
First, ensure you get your child to the riding lesson on time. Classes run on a schedule, and if you’re late, it can also cause other students to be late.
If your child is anxious about jumping, kids horse jumps can be a great way to help them rebuild their confidence. Whether nervous about their first jump or rebuilding trust after an injury, taking it slow and working on the basic skills is essential.
Start by putting a line of ground poles across the arena and approach in a regular working trot. Keep repeating until you feel that your horse softens and is very relaxed.
As your horse becomes more confident, you can put small fences at the end of your line of poles.
You should also train at a lower difficulty level than you usually ride to give yourself and your horse time to get used to the course and develop good technique. Doing this will help your horse gain confidence and build a solid jumping position, which can be vital for their safety when riding on a show course.
Jumping requires coordination from your horse’s head through your legs and arms, and it helps to develop this skill early on. Practice jumping exercises in coordination with your flat work lessons, and build them slowly until you and your horse gain confidence together.
Start with small jumps high enough for you and your horse to get secure, such as poles and wavelets. Trot and canter over these, focusing on keeping your seat securely in the saddle.
Next, try a simple cross-rail fence. The cross rails give you and your horse a center point to keep you straight before and after the jump and help you gain a sense of rhythm and balance.
Once you’re comfortable riding a cross rail, add other fences. It is a good exercise for developing the horse’s suppleness and adjustment and training them to listen to your rein cues as you turn around each wall.
Increase Muscle Tone
Horse jumping is a great way to increase muscle tone. You’ll use many muscles as you do in a squat but on a moving target instead of on a bench!
As well as building your leg strength, horse jumping strengthens the core. It’s critical to remember that this movement employs your body weight and engages all the major muscles rather than being a weight-training exercise.
The most apparent muscles toned in a horse jump are the inner thighs (quads) and glutes. These muscles exert pressure against the horse’s side, improving its speed and balance.
You’ll also use your legs to put ‘leg on,’ which involves applying pressure with the lower leg and asking the horse to pick up speed without moving the rest of your body. Using your legs in this way is another great way to build muscle and also makes you more aware of what your strengths are doing.
Help Your Child Establish Healthy Habits
If your child has a horse they are comfortable with and is ready to learn the basics of jumping, incorporate it into their riding lessons. It will provide them with small steps in their education and help them get to the point where they feel they can take on bigger jumps and challenges.
In addition to building confidence, horse jumping helps children develop a wide range of physical skills that can transfer to other sports. These skills include balance, coordination, core strength, and flexibility.
Balancing on a moving horse’s back requires using the abdominal, lower back, adductor (inner thigh), pelvic, arm, and shoulder muscles.
Aside from the physical benefits, horse jumping also improves a child’s mental health by helping them build quick reflexes and hand-eye coordination. This activity also gets kids outside and into the fresh air, which is essential for their health and well-being.