Jumping Basics

Riding Level 3: Jumping position and small courses

For Level 3 Riding you will need to:

13. Trot poles to a small jump showing good position and mane or crest release.


14. Jump a small cross-rail course (18” high) of 2 jumps and 1 or 2 sets of poles.

x-c posture
This rider's shoulder, knee and stirrup form a perpendicular line to the ground.

When we are looking at 'good position' over fences at this level, we do not expect perfection.  We do want to see that you are balanced and confident in the stirrups and that you can usually maintain your position without jumping ahead or being left behind.

Body Alignment

jumping ahead
This rider is showing faulty position by pinching with her knees, allowing her lower leg to slip back.  She is also jumping ahead of the horse's motion.

Just as when you ride on the flat, when you jump your stirrup leather should form a perpendicular line to the ground, as will your shoulder, knee and toe.  This, along with a heel that is below the level of the toe, gives you a solid base of support.  A common error is to grip the horse with the knees, which causes the leg to swing back and the rider to tip forward.  Your hip angle should close when the horse takes off, and open again as he lands, so that your upper body remains in balance through the arc of the jump.  Keep your eyes and chest up, and a flat or slightly hollow back.

Crest release
This rider is showing good position and an excellent short release. Her rein is long enough to give the pony its head, but still maintain control. The rider's head and chest are up, elbows in, and the centre of gravity is over the stirrup irons.


'Release' is the term used when a rider allows a longer rein to free the horse's neck for a jump.  There are several types of releases, and for this level we want to see either:

  • A mane release. The rider grabs some mane just in front of the withers to steady the hands and upper body.


  • A crest release. The rider presses her fists into the horse's neck on either side of the mane.  At this level a short release is preferred, where the hands are just in front of the withers, rather than a long release, where the hands are about halfway up the neck.  A long crest release is a perfectly valid form of release, but is not generally necessary at this jumping height, and tends to make inexperienced riders prone to jumping ahead of the horse's motion.

At this level we don't want to see the advanced technique of automatic release – with the rider's hands free of the neck and forming a straight line to the bit – even if you are capable of doing it.


As you ride your short course, we want to see that you plan your turns and changes of direction in advance, leading with the head and eyes, and giving wide, generous paths to the fences. If your horse canters away from a jump on the wrong lead you should bring him back to trot to correct it before making your turn.  It is also acceptable to trot all or part of the course at this level.

Friday Clinics

Once more we are offering a variety of special clinics related to the Mounted Combat Program at Red Colt throughout the summer.  Clinics start up this Friday June 12th and continue through August with a variety of instructors and topics, from 6:00pm – 7:30pm each week.  Some classes may run a half hour longer if there are more than four participants.  Each clinic is $60, or you can book four sessions for $180 — a fabulous four for the price of three deal!

Fridays, 12 Jun – 21 AugMounted Combat Workshop
6:00pm – 7:30pm (may run longer)
Red Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op, 12320 No 2 Road, Richmond
cost: $60 each, or $180 for four

19 June – Mounted Sparring
Instructor: Devon Boorman
Prerequisite: Green Spur or permission from instructor

Engage in drills to improve your technique and accuracy, then take those skills to slow work and full speed mounted longsword sparring under the guidance of our Maestro d’Armi, Devon Boorman.  Up your game for Carosella 2015!

26 June – Mounted Games
Instructor: Kate Landels
Prerequisite: Riding Level 1 or equivalent

Work on speed and accuracy with Prince Phillip Games Master-level rider Kate Landels.  In this one and a half hour session you will learn tricks of the trade for better pickups, hand-offs, targeting, mounting and dismounting, and will also have a chance to practise the mounted games featured in our playdays and tournaments.K&G flag

Kate Landels has been riding mounted games since 2009 and has represented the BC Lower Mainland twice in the Prince Philip Games National Masters championships, bringing home the trophy in 2012.

3 July – Prix Fiore
Instructor: Jennifer Landels
Prerequisite: Riding Level 1 or equivalent

Prix Fiore is a riding test that includes jumps and sword work.  Keep an eye out for more Prix Fiore workshops this summer to practise your drill manoeuvres.In this one and a half hour clinic riders will practise pas-de-deux and quadrille dressage movements along with tandem jumps and choreographed sword work.  For more information on Duello’s proprietary Prix Fiore discipline see this post from last year.

10 July – Cross Country
Instructor: Jennifer Landels
Prerequisite: Riding Level 2 or equivalent

Take your riding from the confines of the arena to the exhilaration of the open field.  Work on your pace and galloping position to a variety of cross country jumps, just as Xenophon recommended!new jump

17 July – Dressage for Mounted Combat
Instructor: Stephanie Laversin
Prerequisite: Riding Level 1 or equivalent

Dressage is the basis of all riding, and Mounted Combat is no exception.  In this one and a half hour session, coach Stephanie Laversin, head of Fraser Valley Mounted Combat, will help you hone your half-halts, achieve better bend, and sharpen your lateral work with an eye to the movements most useful for combat.

24 July – Introduction to Classical Riding
SherryInstructors: Sherry Leväaho
Prerequisite: Riding Level 1 or equivalent

The first of two clinics with Sherry Leväaho of Leväaho Classical Horsemanship.  Details to come!



Jennifer Landels heads up Academie Duello's Cavaliere Program. She has been swordfighting since 2008, and riding since before she could walk. She started the program as an excuse to combine those passions.
Read more from Jennifer Landels.