You can do anything you want when you have elastic arms and an independent seat, according to Bernie Traurig, a USET veteran. He shared his experience and talked more about how to be in balance with your horse on the approach to the jump, over the fence, and on the landing. Moreover, he teaches about the connection with the mouth on the flat and over fences.
Step 1: Connect at the walk
Start by having a following arm in the walk. Try to keep a straight line with your arms from the horse’s mouth to the elbow. Develop a feeling of contact and elastic arms that follow from the shoulder joint. Establish contact at the walk and focus on the motion of the horse’s neck.
Step 2: Maintain contact at the canter
Practice the contact at the canter. With your hand and arm follow the motion of the neck, and pay attention to the width of your hands.
Step 3: Master the automatic release
The most advanced release is the automatic release which is the connection in the air. Every rider should start practicing this release as soon as he is secure with the position in the air.
Step 4: Work from an independent seat
Use a very subtle direct feel with the ring finger if you are working on a more educated horse. Take extreme care to follow through with your arms softly during the flight phase. Open the rein if you are working on a less educated horse.
Step 5: Stay with the motion
Stay with the motion of the horse at the moment of take off. Take John French as an example. He is always in balance with the horse and with the motion at the take off.