An Exercise to Teach You to Wait For Your Horse to Jump
The single most common bad habit a jumping rider can have is that of jumping ahead of their horse! Sometimes it is so subtle that you are not even aware that you are moving while your horse is trying to lift his front end for take off. And even when it is subtle - it greatly affects the horse!
A horse begins his jumping effort by rocking back on his hind legs and pushing upward with his front legs to lift his forehand. If the rider on his back is tipping forward as he is trying to do this, it really makes his job harder! Some horses still jump remarkably well with this handicap, but many are negatively affected. A rider leaning forward as the horse is about to take off can cause the horse to be less able to rock back on his hind legs. Which means the horse is less balanced, and more on the forehand. This can cause him to be slow or untidy with his front legs, and will make him jump lower and flatter than he might otherwise. It also usually means that he lands in a canter stride that is unbalanced and on the forehand.
Here is one of many possible exercises to help to teach you not to jump before your horse does: (Click on Article Title above (in blue) to read full article)