How soon is too soon to start over fences?

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How soon is too soon to start over fences?

This is a discussion on How soon is too soon to start over fences? within the Eventing forums, part of the English Riding category
  • Horse worked too early?
  • How soon to start jumping horses

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  • 2 Post By CJ82Sky

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    06-16-2012, 11:27 PM
How soon is too soon to start over fences?

I have been working my horse for about nine months now, fairly consistently. She is a nine year old TB, but she didn't have much consistent or constructive work under her belt, other than some pleasure riding, until I bought her. She is doing consistently well at the walk and trot, except for minor rushing at times. Her canter work is still a bit rough, but she takes the correct leads and doesn't run around like a crazy horse. She is still not too great and collecting at the canter. I am eager to start her over fences, but I don't want to start too soon and cause unnecessary problems just because she isn't ready to tackle it yet. When is a good time to start jumping your horse?
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    06-19-2012, 09:58 AM
I would wait untill her gaits are all figured out and you can easily collect or extend before you start actually jumping....however I think it would be fine if you introduced her to pole work.
    06-19-2012, 10:35 AM
I agree with the above, and will repeat what I tend to say for all similar situations like this. Trot, trot, and more trot. And then when you think you are done, trot some more. Better canter comes from better trot, not from working more at the canter. Trot builds muscles and balance while cantering burns calories, so by focusing more on the trot, you will actually be setting your horse up for a better canter.

Limit canter to just a few strides max per ride, and focus on trot sets. A great exercise is to change diagonal every few strides (on the straight) and see if the horse stays balanced and even. If they lose rein contact, pop their head up, or something like that when you change diagonal, it indicates a weakness. When your horse can tolerate your change in diagonal every 3-4 strides with no change in their way of going, that's a pretty good indication that you have a balanced horse that is moving through their topline. Be sure to have a soft, correct contact on the bit because if the horse is leaning, than this exercise is useless. But done correctly, this is a great indication of fitness and conditioning and when your horse can move up to regular canter work, as well as starting OF.

Good luck!
MicKey73 and TrojanCowgirl like this.
    06-20-2012, 11:18 PM
Great posts above. In addition to lots of flat work, I also think you could do some pole work. If she gets rushy, it may help having poles spaced appropriately to force her to think. If she has to pay attention to where her feet are, she can't just run around and she'll learn to focus more on your cues so she's more comfortable.

Great job, by the way, for being concerned about pushing too quickly. A lot of people would have gotten bored with flat work and started jumping even if the horse isn't ready.
    06-27-2012, 11:46 AM
I would not per se jump, jump but work on ground poles, small cross rails, and cavalettis.
All of those could be put in with your ground work and help improve.
Try doing figure eights with poles, doing this can slow down gaits, improve bends, and work on hitting the middles (something I have a bad time with).
Cavalettis or cross rails can be used with poles infront. Have a slow trot in hit the middle and canter out on the correct lead.
Have fun!
    07-21-2012, 07:41 AM
Hey I start jump training all my potential eventsrs early, but not by jumping. I do lots out on a trail just stepping over logs or going through puddles, as a horse doesn't know the differance between a puddle/log/ditch out riding compared to what they see on xcountry.

For weak unbalanced horses I do lots of hill work. At least a basic flat work on a hillside for 30mins once a week. Really helps them strengthen and give them variety other than arena work. I've strengthened lots of weak thourogbreds up this way.

Like said above Cavaletti, poles etc can help but you probably don't need to specifically jump school yet

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