I encouraged a young Pony Clubber to hold her mane at a rally a couple of weeks ago because she wasn’t folding forwards over the jumps for long enough so snatched her pony in the mouth when he put any effort into the jumps. Holding her mane kept her hands forward, and most importantly it improved her timing because she could feel the pony’s neck coming up after the jump, so pushing her back into an upright position, thus teaching her the timing for folding over jumps.
I just wish I saw more instructors encouraging young riders to hold the mane when learning to jump.
When I was little and learning to jump we were always told to “hold the mane halfway up your pony’s neck”. A phrase I would hear repeated with the next generations of children as I led th over jumps, occasionally with the addition of “look at the bunny rabbits waving to you in the field” to get them to look up.
When I started my apprenticeship I was amazed that none of the instructors used this analogy. When I started teaching myself I often got strange looks when I suggested holding the mane for security when learning to jump. After all, I cringe whenever I see a rider restricting their horse’s jump by not allowing with their hands.
Today, to my delight, I was reading one of my coaching books and it had a whole section on holding the mane while learning to jump.
The author advocated putting two bunches…
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