Security means a secure and independent seat so that you can ride at all gaits without losing balance.
Effective Use of Aids
A good seat puts you in position to control your pony easily and effectively. Your legs and weight must be secure and in correct position.
Non-Abuse of the Pony
Non abuse means riding in such a way that you don't confuse or upset your pony, or interfere with his balance or movement.
Unity Between Pony and Rider
Means that you and your pony are united in balance as if you and he are one.
Vertical line through ear, shoulder, hip and ankle. Pelvis balanced on seat bones. Head balanced. Shoulders even. Spine straight. Weight evenly balanced on seat bones. Stirrups even.
Tilted head. Shoulders uneven. Crooked back. Collapsed him. Uneven weight on seat bones. Uneven stirrups. Elbow, knee, and toe sticking out.
Looking down. Round back. Pelvis tilted backward. Weight on buttocks. Legs ahead of body. Heels up.
Stiff, Hollow Rider
Head too high. Neck cramped. Hollow back. Pelvis tilted forward. Weight on crotch. Knees pinching. Leg too far back.
The Natural Aids
Seat, legs, hands and voice.
The Artificial Aids
Crops, whips, spurs, martingales.
Horse Jumping Faults
Reaching (taking off too far away), Jumping crookedly, twisting, getting under (taking off too close), Hanging knees, Jumping inverted or hollow, chipping in.
Taking Off Too Close or Too Far Away
May be caused by a mistake by the horse or rider. Often occurs when the horse is out of rhythm, unbalanced, or too much on the forehand during the approach.
Chipping In (Extra Stride)
The horse puts in one or more short, quick strides just before takeoff. May happen when he is off balance, going too fast, loses confidence, or gets the wrong distance.
Jumping Inverted (Hollow Back, High Head)
Usually seen in stiff, tense horses, or when rider interferes by siding down on the horse's back or restricting him with the reins. Horse cannot jump without a good arc, or bascule, and cannot fold his front or hind legs as well; this may cause him to hit the fence or knock down a rail.
Hanging Knees, Trailing Hind Legs
Hanging knees mean the forearms point down and the forelegs do not fold properly. It is dangerous because hitting a fence with the forelegs can cause a fall. Hanging knees may be caused by getting too close to a fence, or poor jumping style. Trailing hind legs do not fold tightly and are likely to knock down rails, but they are not as dangerous as having knees.
A horse who swerves across a jump, jumps at an angle, or twists sideways in the air is hard to control and to ride in a straight line. Horses that usually jump to one side may be trying to spare a weak or unsound leg an should be checked by a veterinarian.
Rider Hand and Release Faults
Hands are too far forward; above crest, reins too long; hands too far back and elbows out, hands too low; line broken downward, stiff tight hands, no release.
Reins Too Short
Causes heavy hands that cannot follow a pony's head and neck properly. Elbows get pulled out ahead of the body, and rider may get pulled forward.
Reins Too Long
Results in poor contact and control, with hands unable to follow pony's head and neck properly. Elbows may stick out, which brings the hands back and prevents them from following.
Hands Too High on Approach or Takeoff
Makes pony raise his head; interferes with his jumping effort and can make him jump flat, with a high head and hollow back.
Hands Too Far up the Mane, Towards Pony's Ears
Upsets rider's balance and contact. Often goes with throwing the upper body and arms too far forward and the legs swinging back. Very insecure.
"Dropping" the Pony
Throwing the hands forward suddenly just before takeoff drops the contact without warning. You lose all control and may lose your balance. The pony is caught by surprise and may lose his balance, stop, or jump awkwardly. This is especially dangerous when jumping solid fences at a faster pace.
"Busy" Hands that Tug, Pull, or Interfere During Approach
This distracts a pony; throws his rhythm and stride off; and can cause him to make a mistake, lose his confidence, or even refuse. This is one of the worst habits a rider can have!
Restricting Hands; Stiff Release
Hands that are stiffly set against the pony's neck stop him from using his head and neck freely when he jumps. He will soon learn to jump flat, with a high head and hollow back.