Racing away after jumps - The Horse Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 Old 02-26-2012, 09:39 PM Thread Starter
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Talking Racing away after jumps

The lesson horse I'm currently riding tends to race away after jumps. After going over a jump, he lands in a position where he is no longer on the bit and is therefore not very responsive to rein aids; he becomes very difficult to bring back to a controlled pace. This also happens after flying lead changes.

He has recently improved greatly, and the reason is easy to spot. I checked over his tack one day as I was tacking him up and realized that his bridle was much too tight around the ears. It simply did not fit. I talked to my instructor and we found a spare bridle that fit much better. The change was incredible after that. He became much more responsive and so much happier. Last week I took him over a full hunter course with lines and diagonals and managed to keep control of him the entire time without him racing away at top speed. That NEVER would have been possible before.

However, his jumping still remains an issue. Although I can keep control of him, I sometimes feel like I am being too hard on his mouth. I've discovered that the way to keep him at a good pace after a jump is to ride up to the jump with my hands slightly farther up the neck that normal (though not pulling on his mouth). I half-halt to gather him as I establish my pace, however I don't once I am aligned with the jump, as not to upset his striding. Once I go over, I immediately collect him with a slight upwards half-halt after the first stride so that he does not have a chance to change the position of the bit in his mouth. I then follow with as many half-halts as needed to collect his pace afterwards until it is controlled and even (which is usually about 2 more). I find that when he puts his head down he prepares to get off the bit as soon as I release all rein contact, such as over a jump.

Sometimes I feel like I'm pulling TOO much though. I feel like all these half-halts and all this pulling on his mouth must really bother him. Also, I've had him gallop away with me twice before in the middle of a jump-filled arena, and it's pretty scary moving that fast and seeing jumps pop up everywhere you turn, while the horse I'm on is irrational and panicking. Even worse, he's gotten injured both times. Nothing too serious, but still. That was before I switched his bridle, so I know things are a lot better now for me and for him, but I think I still worry about it sometimes. I know I don't really trust him that much.

So I guess I have two major questions. 1. How can I keep him from racing away after the jumps and getting off the bit while not using too much rein, and 2. How can I build up a better trust relationship? He needs to be able to trust me (he does already, considering he's one of those horses who only responds to people he likes and trusts, but I don't think he trusts me 100%) and I need to be able to trust him.

Thanks, everyone, and sorry for the really long post!!

Coda...
-----In riding horses, we borrow freedom-----
~Love Life~
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post #2 of 7 Old 02-26-2012, 10:29 PM
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If he rushes away from the jump, stop him and back him up to it. Then continue in the pace you want. Do this EVERY time he rushes from it. If he continues on in a pace that you want, let him go and make a huge deal out of it - pats, treats, anything you do to let him know he has done it right.

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post #3 of 7 Old 02-27-2012, 05:35 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Chiilaa View Post
If he rushes away from the jump, stop him and back him up to it. Then continue in the pace you want. Do this EVERY time he rushes from it. If he continues on in a pace that you want, let him go and make a huge deal out of it - pats, treats, anything you do to let him know he has done it right.
Sorry, I'm a little confused. What do you mean by 'stop him and back him up to it'? If he's rushing away, I can't just stop him directly after the jump. And even if I could, it would be very dangerous and he could get hurt because his momentum would be going forwards and I'd have to practically rip his face off with the bit, and he'd probably trip badly. And if I try to stop him after a few strides, it would take a while to bring him to a complete halt, and I can't back him up across the entire arena. Plus when he rushes away, he takes control of the bit and I can't just 'stop him' because I have to regain control; usually I do that by circling, sitting back, and using half-halts. Also, what good will backing him up into the jump do? I don't think he would understand what this process would mean; I feel like it would only aggravate him and frustrate me.

I don't mean to be rude (sorry if I'm coming off that way), I'm just confused about what you mean. I've never heard of doing this before. Would you mind explaining further?

Coda...
-----In riding horses, we borrow freedom-----
~Love Life~
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post #4 of 7 Old 02-27-2012, 06:10 PM
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Do you know how to one rein stop? I would ORS the second he started to pull, and then back him on up.

By backing him up to the jump, which is essentially where he started rushing from, you are showing him that the rushing ahead is just going to result in more work - backing is harder than galloping forwards. Do you ever remember your mum or your teachers telling you to "go back and walk" if they caught you running inside? It's the same theory - rushing won't get you out of doing what you are meant to.

It's not just the extra work of backing him up that helps change his attitude. Once you are back where he started rushing, he should have backed enough that he is fairly calm again. You then can continue on in the manner YOU want, not the manner he wants. This shows him what you want of him instead of him rushing.

My final tip would be to stop jumping him for a while, and work on his manners. Work on getting him to stop every time you ask. If you can't stop him within a few strides after a jump, there are issues that need to be addressed.

Mods, grant me the serenity to see the opinions I cannot change, courage to change the ones that should change, and the wisdom to spot the trolls.
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post #5 of 7 Old 02-27-2012, 06:27 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Chiilaa View Post
Do you know how to one rein stop? I would ORS the second he started to pull, and then back him on up.

By backing him up to the jump, which is essentially where he started rushing from, you are showing him that the rushing ahead is just going to result in more work - backing is harder than galloping forwards. Do you ever remember your mum or your teachers telling you to "go back and walk" if they caught you running inside? It's the same theory - rushing won't get you out of doing what you are meant to.

It's not just the extra work of backing him up that helps change his attitude. Once you are back where he started rushing, he should have backed enough that he is fairly calm again. You then can continue on in the manner YOU want, not the manner he wants. This shows him what you want of him instead of him rushing.

My final tip would be to stop jumping him for a while, and work on his manners. Work on getting him to stop every time you ask. If you can't stop him within a few strides after a jump, there are issues that need to be addressed.
I might try this. I usually can stop him a few strides after a jump, it's only when he rushes away that I can't. Although, since I switched his bridle he has not been rushing away. The problem is that I know the moment I lose focus he will do it. He still becomes forward and headstrong the first few strides after he lands the jump, and I have to immediately collect him to stop him from booking it away.

What my question was was how to keep control of him while not using too much rein. However, if he ever rushes away again, I'll defiantly keep your advice in mind. Thanks

Coda...
-----In riding horses, we borrow freedom-----
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post #6 of 7 Old 02-27-2012, 07:53 PM
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have you ruled out pain ? Rushing away from a jump always makes me think either pain or they are getting hit in the mouth or back over the jump.

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Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. ~Albert Einstein
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post #7 of 7 Old 02-27-2012, 08:16 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by gypsygirl View Post
have you ruled out pain ? Rushing away from a jump always makes me think either pain or they are getting hit in the mouth or back over the jump.
Pain was, and out of memory probably still is, a definate factor. I can tell you that for certain. I kept noticing he seemed to be in a lot of discomfort and by the end of the ride he had become extremely aggravated, so I checked over his tack. Like I said, the bridle was a huge issue. It was extremely tight around his ears and the top of his head. I'm surprised no one noticed sooner. I told my instructor and we switched the bridle. It was a huge difference, and I could tell he was a lot happier.

However, his ears are still a little sensitive. He's not head-shy, but it bothers him to be touched in that area and he's still hesitant to allow someone to put on his bridle.

I really try not to pull on his mouth over or after jumps. I try to just use half-halts, but I never use that as I'm approaching the jump so that I do not upset his striding. I use half-halts immediately after the first stride of the jump because I've learned from experience that failing to collect him asap will result in him galloping away. But I still sometimes worry that I'm being too hard on his mouth.

What should I do?

Coda...
-----In riding horses, we borrow freedom-----
~Love Life~
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