It’s graduation season, and change is everywhere. Do you remember the first time you graduated to jumping your horse? Hopefully the first jump you faced was a small crossrail and was done intentionally, but some riders have other stories.

6609723265_f24c5d30b8_zWhether you knew it or not, your graduation to jumping was a big step in your riding. Providing your first jump was performed on purpose and under the supervision of your instructor, it signified a lot about the progress you had made as a rider.

Your First Jump Meant You Had Good Balance

To the non-rider, jumping looks next to impossible. A horse leaps into the air and the rider stays balanced not only in the saddle, but leaning over the horse’s neck so as not to interfere with his jumping effort? Attempting a jump meant that you had developed the balance you needed to stay with your horse’s motion no matter how that might change over a fence. That’s no small feat.

Your First Jump Meant You Understood Your Horse

There are many ways that a jump can go wrong. If either the horse or rider lack confidence, the horse may refuse the jump. If the horse’s striding is off while approaching a fence, the jump will be forced and awkward. A missed timing on the rider’s part could result in a fall.

When your instructor told you that you were ready to jump, they were also telling you that you understood your horse enough to be able to navigate a fence with him. Staying with the horse’s motion is a big part of jumping, and you needed to understand how your horse’s striding works when riding him over a fence. You also understood how to react to your horse while riding, and how to deal with the unexpected situations that so often pop up.

Your First Jump Meant Your Horse Understood and Respected You

Jumping excites many horses, and sometimes horses can get strong and a little “creative” on the landing side of a fence. By sending you over that first jump, your instructor believed that, upon landing, your horse would listen to you and do as you asked him.

Your graduation to jumping meant that a whole new world of riding was available to you. Whether you headed for the hunt field, took off for eventing, focused on the speed of showjumping, or perfected your technique in the hunter ring, that first jump opened up countless avenues. What has your journey been like since your first jump?

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