Crazy Stunts with Olop - Jumping Backwards - Part 3
 By Polo the Weirdo   •   23rd Jun 2012   •   11,002 views   •   14 comments
Horse Jumping Backwards

What was my revolutionary idea, you ask? Well, it came to me one day when I was riding with a friend, without the supervision of either my mother or my instructor, as usual. I decided that if I was going to try riding backwards, I ought to take extra safety precautions. But what to do, what to do...?

It took me longer than I’m proud to admit to think of the most simple of solutions: A saddle.

Riding a horse is easier with a saddle? Well I never! And here I thought saddles were just for decoration! Sarcasm aside, I finally did think of trying a saddle, and low and behold, suddenly the world was full of possibilities! With the stirrups a few holes longer than my usual jumping length, I found that I could suspend myself over the pommel, keeping my weight closer to Olop’s withers to help balance myself. It was remarkable how easy the whole thing suddenly became!

I set up a small jump, popped over it, and found that I was able to keep my balance, and regain it on the other side! I gradually worked up to an upright of 85cm (~2'8") that day, and I have to admit, it left me feeling far more positive than I had been before!

Horse Jumping Backwards

On my next attempt, with proper supervision, I was ready to really test the limits. By this point I was starting to develop some sort of position for jumping backwards, rather than just clinging on for dear life. It passed the point of a dumb stunt, and slowly began to morph into a fine skill. I gradually discovered that the dynamics for jumping backwards are so utterly different from normal jumping that I had to disregard everything I’d ever learned, and find my own new method of riding.

I found that I have to keep my weight closer to Olop’s neck, point my toes down over the jump to help keep my balance, and shift my weight back on take-off. I’d approach the jump with one hand on the reins, and the other poised above the cantle of my saddle to catch myself if I should lose my balance.

Over the jump, I had to stretch my hand with the reins backwards to give Olop her head (I always ride with my reins long anyway, to make absolutely sure I don’t catch her in the mouth). And on landing, I’d quickly catch my balance by pushing off her rump with my other hand to get my weight central again.

With these new techniques, I worked my way up to my first jump of really substantial height: 1,05m (~3'4").

Horse Jumping Backwards

We made it safely over that jump, but I could feel with my unbalanced landing that it was to be our limit for the time being. I called it a day at that.

My next ride, with some more practise, I managed to work up to 1,10m. Any higher, and I knew there was a chance Olop wouldn’t lock on to the jump on her own; and since I knew I didn’t yet stand a chance of sitting a run-out, I decided to leave it at that for height. Just 10cm short of my goal, but I figured it was close enough.

Instead, I started working on something different: oxers.
We popped right over 90cm the first day – but it was more difficult to sit than I anticipated. With the oxers, Olop approaches faster, takes off further back, and throws a bigger jump – while with the uprights she’d been approaching carefully to the base, and throwing a neat, small jump to help me out (Bless her little heart) but with the oxers, she needs the extra ‘oomph’.

Horse Jumping Backwards

Now I had to get used to jumping at speed. It took a couple more rides to grow accustomed to it, but when I did, I soon worked up to a height of 1,10m over an ascending oxer as well as an upright.

Read on in Part 4 to hear about my next challenge...
Summer Rain  
Really good! Olop/Polo sounds like such an amazing little horse
  23 days ago  •  9,731 views
Deep as Rhubarb  
Really awesome! You jump higher backwards than I do frontwards... :P
  23 days ago  •  9,762 views
Wow. I wish I could do something like this one day.
  22 days ago  •  9,773 views
Olop is an amazing horse:) I know my Jolie would absoloutely pitch a fit if I ever tried that one her!
  22 days ago  •  9,953 views
Double Spur Ranch  
  22 days ago  •  9,728 views
Hopeful Haven  
Wow. You inspire me.
  20 days ago  •  9,956 views
Deleted Accounts  
wow your amazing!
  20 days ago  •  9,753 views
Let It Ride  
Awesome!! Extremely cool!
  20 days ago  •  9,733 views
Warped Faith  
Gosh you're just too amazing! Why must you be such an awesome rider!!??!
  20 days ago  •  9,722 views
Bright Horizon  
I'm sure you get tons of these comments, but you are truly an incredible rider, and you deserve much more recognition than you get!! =)
  19 days ago  •  9,744 views
Sapphire Flames  
wow..that's so cool! :D
  18 days ago  •  9,714 views
Thats amazing!!! That horse is very bright!
  17 days ago  •  9,947 views
and pretty
  17 days ago  •  9,947 views
Haha I can't even jump that big forwards!
  May 15, 2013  •  9,578 views
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