Jumping is one of the many exercises that riders demonstrate on horseback. Jumping competitions take a variety of aspects into account in judging the skill of both the horse and the rider when jumping. While most horses naturally complete small jumps, a horse must be trained to carry out specific motions when jumping with a mounted rider on its back. Learning the proper techniques for how to jump your horse is a very enjoyable and rewarding experience. However, minor mistakes in form can lead to injury to both you and your horse. Therefore, jumping your horse should be something that both you and the horse take the patience to learn properly.
The first step in jumping a horse is to choose an appropriate horse. Some horses are more natural at jumping than others. Typically, horses with more height are better jumpers. If training a new horse, always ensure that the horse you are attempting to jump is well broke to ride. Never choose to jump your horse if it does not willingly carry a mounted rider. If you are learning to jump a horse, use an experienced jumper for rider training.
- During the first stage, begin slow and low. The horse will walk over the cavalettis that are placed on the ground. Continue with the horse stepping over the boards until it walks and steps with ease.
- Begin to move the horse faster over the cavalettis. However, the cavalettis should remain flat on the ground. The horse should trot and even canter over the boards without losing balance before the cavalettis are moved to a higher level.
- Once your horse successfully canters over the cavalettis, it is time to move them up to a higher level. Begin with the boards around six inches from the ground. At this height, the horse should once again go through the speeds of walking, trotting and cantering.
- It is now time to move the cavalettis up to around double the height, twelve inches from the ground. The process of walking, trotting, and cantering at this height should be carried out successfully before attempting to actually jump your horse.
- When the horse is ready, begin cantering your horse up to a low jump. When the horse jumps, lean up from the saddle and give the horse a loose rein. Many riders hold on to the horse's mane at this point.
Once the horse masters jumps at a low level, attempt jumps at higher levels.