he gets too excited XC... tips for first event? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 12-21-2011, 07:59 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Australia
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he gets too excited XC... tips for first event?

We've not ridden cross-country like a course yet or anything but my god when I take Monty down to the pony club grounds and do a little xc training it's a mission to control him. If I just let him go, he's usually ok after a few strides, but that's at trot, and I'm worried that if I canter he'll gallop.

But there's an event coming up that I have been planning on entering for absolute ages. I'm planning on entering in the lowest grade and hoping he decides it's boring enough that he's going to listen... E grade is only 18 inches high and doesn't have any of the really scary jumps.

Anyway. Question is, what will help keep him under control in the jumping phases, especially cross-country? He goes nicely in a French link snaffle on the flat and 90% of the time I can control him in it training at home or down at the grounds but that's because 90% of the time we only jump single jumps and only from trot. If we go for a course he gets more and more excited and forward.

My coach is ALWAYS telling me to just let him go and trust in him but I can't do that, he ends up galloping which scares me to death partly because I don't like feeling out of control and partly because I had a nasty fall off him from a gallop and I'm no longer comfortable going that fast even if it's intentional.

His current setup is just a French link eggbutt and a flat cavesson, I have a flash converter and strap but it makes no difference at all. He listens much better over bigger fences than little ones which says to me it's a respect issue regarding the fences, rather than excitement.

My plan for the event is to just trot the jumping phases and I know I can force him back into a trot from a canter if I have to, can force him to a halt if needed, in the snaffle, when he's excited/strong... but that's at home and/or training over a single fence at a time, AND I hate being that strong with him. I have no idea what he'll be like on a course.

He is BRILLIANT on the flat, we have no issues there and my coach doesn't believe it's a problem with our flatwork. It's just purely a jumping thing.

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post #2 of 5 Old 12-21-2011, 09:49 AM
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if he is like this DO NOT show him. you need to work on gaining control first.. even if the class you're entering is small xcountry is no joke and w an uncontrolleable course can cause a lot of damage to u and the horse. you need to go back to basics and work on jumping one fence and then when he's bored with that you add another fence and work on dressage moves or turns in front of the fence so he does not anticipate them and listens to you.. once you can do that safely(two jumps) and under control you move to three jumps.. rinse and repeat until you can do a whole course.

You NEVER EVER take an uncontrolleable horse + the addition of a scared rider to a xcountry course.. it is a recipe for disaster
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post #3 of 5 Old 12-21-2011, 07:07 PM
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I completely agree with foxyroxy. If you're only jumping single jumps from a trot at home there are a few things you need to do, absolutely work on your dressage, work on transitions and get your horse listening to you, and of course like foxyroxy said keep adding more jumps until you can do a course safely and confidently. If you're scared to jump and worried about how he'll be on a course than you most definitely need to practice courses at home. Just start working on getting your confidence back until you can canter relaxed over a small jump/course. Without confidence you could permanently scar yourself and your horse if you bring him to show you're not prepared for.

You also mention that you have never really ridden a cross country course either, again this could really shake your confidence if you don't know how your horse is going to act especially with the setting of xcountry, so you should at the least school some stuff similar to xcountry fences at home, and if possible try to go out and school (with your trainer) at an actual course.

If it's a show you want to go to, try going to a dressage schooling show or do some flat classes at a h/j schooling show, just to get your horse out and about and this may give you some idea of how he'll be at a show setting...although this personality can change when jumping is involved :p

I'm sure there will be some better answers but I hope this helps somewhat.

Good luck! and when you get to your first event post some pics for all of us (I'm a sucker for pics) and let us know how awesome and confident you rode!!
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post #4 of 5 Old 12-21-2011, 10:53 PM
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I have to agree with said above. If you feel scared, worried, nervous... anything negative about two of the three phases, it might be a good idea to really work on your control and bring your horse up enough to be able to easily manage a course.

Yes you can trot the fences on XC... but what is your plan in SJ where the fences are only strides apart?

You may want to spend a lot of time riding out... working on your flat out of the ring so that you and your horse learn to use your dressage outside of the ring. Once you can confidently control your horse out in the field at all gaits, then you're ready for an event (even one where you might just trip over the fence).

If your horse says no, you either asked the wrong question or asked the question wrong

And God took a handful of southerly wind, blew His breath over it and created the horse
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post #5 of 5 Old 12-22-2011, 06:40 AM Thread Starter
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I'm not particularly worried about the SJ as I'm a lot more experienced in that and I know I can force him down if I have to. Cross country is harder because he gets hot with large open spaces ahead of him, and therefore harder to control. I want to bit up for this one event, just for the xc, but my coach wouldn't be very pleased with me.

We ride out often, and he's the same out as he is at home. Great on the flat, can be a tad forward in canter but nothing unmanageable, and one or two small fences no problem but give him anything resembling a course, or too much room to run, and he wants to be OVERTHERENOWPLZKTHX - comes from being a higher-level eventing horse where he had to basically gallop between fences to make the time.

I'd just let him go but if I do that I'll be eliminated for dangerous riding, plus having had a very nasty fall from him from a gallop I'm just not comfortable taking him that fast.

I'm actually more nervous about the dressage than the jumping and I know 100% that I can control him on the flat if he's getting hot. It may not be pretty but I can do it. I just have absolutely zero experience riding tests and have trouble remembering them.

I said I HAVE ridden ON a cross-country course and jumped several of the jumps. I've jumped individual jumps up to C grade height on cross country and individual jumps at 3'6" over showjumping-style fences so I'm not at all worried about height. I just don't want to end up galloping.

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