Need to stay a step ahead

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Need to stay a step ahead

This is a discussion on Need to stay a step ahead within the Eventing forums, part of the English Riding category

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    09-28-2010, 10:54 PM
Need to stay a step ahead

Last year, I started jumping my then 7 year old OTTB. He was into it, but I was having trouble finding my balance, compromising his, and produced a dirty stopper. Fast forward one year, my balance is back, the dirty stopper is long gone and we're starting to hit our groove. Due to the insanely hot summer, all we did the past 3 months was play around in the hay fields and trail ride in the woods. The result is an overly muscled monster. Thank goodness this horse does not have a mean bone in his body. Over the weekend we did a hunter pace. To say he was bold to the jumps was an understatement. He thought he was freakin Seabiscuit and jumped everything in sight like he'd been doing it all along. My trainer who was in part of our team was very impressed with how well he was using himself.

The reason for this post is that I need to stay a step ahead of this horse. He's extremely smart and knows the second that mommy isn't quite sure of what to do up there. On Saturday, he got himself on a jumping high about half way through the pace. I had to skip some jumps until he calmed down and then was able to jump and skip jumps as necessary to keep him under control. A few times when we were cantering along, he attempted tried to break into a gallop. I kept my cool, kept my contact supple and soft, and just sat back until he came back to me. While it worked, I'm concerned that, if he gets 5% more opinionated, a really big buck might be coming. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to work with my newly forward horse before it becomes an actual problem?
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    09-29-2010, 12:02 AM
I don't know about jumping, but I work a horse kinda like that on the flat. He just builds and builds (especially in the canter) until he's out of my control. And the hard part is, I can pull his face to his chest and he's still driving with that darned rear end. I REALLY have to use my body to get him to slow down.

I've just learned to pick my battles. Some days I'll sit there at the slow trot for 10 minutes before he calms down, THEN move him into a canter, which I still have to shut down before he gets too quick. The last few days I've ridden him, I've just had him working at the slowest paces possible to get him out of that hot mindset. He's a crazy little sucker ;)

I have no idea what to do about the jumps and such becuase I've never jumped, but that's my method with those too-smart, too-hot boogers. I don't know if this would even help you lol, but I feel like posting it. It's too late :/ I kinda feel like I shouldn't be advising you because you always give amazing advice and seem like a better rider than me, but whatever.. Lol.
    09-29-2010, 12:24 AM
Originally Posted by Eliz    
I kinda feel like I shouldn't be advising you because you always give amazing advice and seem like a better rider than me, but whatever.. Lol.
Please, post advise away!! I just have a teaching talent. If I could ride as well as I explain things, I'd be much further along. Puck definitely falls into the category of trucking along with that big hind engine. I like to travel at speed, but Saturday was the first time I'd ever jumped at speed. He just suddenly feels so strong, I need all the tools in my bag I can get. I was really impressed on how he jumped all the fences in stride on Saturday. None of that having to balance him before the fences stuff. I don't want to shut down his boldness to the fences, but don't want a runaway train either. (Not that it's gotten there. That's what I'm trying to prevent) He's forced my hand on how much micromanaging a rider should be doing on an XC course. I'm all for giving him the reins as long as he's willing to hand them back when I need them, but that's a perfect world, isn't it?
    09-29-2010, 12:32 AM
Lol I know what you mean! I hate hanging on a horse's face but it's impossible not to with some! Well hopefully you can get someone here to help you, I wish I jumped! Good luck!
    09-29-2010, 12:44 AM
Green Broke
Ask release, ask release, try not to use constant contact as he will just learn to lean on the bit. Keep your head up and your shoulders back, if you look down it places your weight at the front of the saddle, you don't want this, especially on an OTTB as forwards means GO GO GO! Also, it deep in the saddle, not only does it make it hard for him to gallop, it will put you in the right spot if he does put in a sneaky buck.

P.S. Eliz, the last paragraph of your response cracked me up, kind of reminded me of how I feel when I am sleep deprived, a little rambly! (no offense)
    09-29-2010, 01:06 PM
Haha none taken, it does just go on and on about nothing. Eek :)
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