Harley and I jumping! - Page 6 - The Horse Forum
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post #51 of 59 Old 12-11-2012, 12:37 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by PunksTank View Post
I completely understand where you're coming from. Growing up I was tortured at school and when I found horses I thought I'd finally fit in - but never did. I was always the dork who wanted to ride western and bareback in formal english riding schools. After years of switching riding schools repeatedly because of trouble with the other girls I started volunteering at a local rescue.
It was like a whole new world, everyone there was just as 'different' as me. I stopped taking riding lessons and spent every waking second at the rescue. There I learned all about the real issues happening in the equine world, I learned all about horses on the ground. Everything from dealing with physical and mental health issues - in dealing with their issues I overcame my own emotional troubles.
I decided I would never work in the horse industry because it was all immoral and all the people were nasty and mean- so I went to college for fashion design. What a mistake xD if you think horse people are catty - go to fashion school!! I struggled through 2 years with minimal horses and by the end of the second year I was so depressed - numerous other issues had occurred to make things all the worse. I gave it all up - dropped out of school and was ruined.
I went back to the rescue (I needed a place to sleep after all)- they took me in and a year later I had my own horse, I was in a healthy relationship and I started looking at the horse world with fresh eyes. The people in the horse industry aren't uniquelly unkind people - they're simply human. Humans, especially teenage girls, are really difficult to get along with - especially if you're even not comfortable with yourself, like I wasn't, there was no way I could be comfortable with other people!
Horses were different I could be me with them. I got a really awful horse-related job, where the people I worked with turned into being like family, including the blood-curdling yelling matches. In this job, the people were my family, but the horses were treated poorly - I struggled with that for a good long time before I left.
That's when I realized I couldn't live my life without horses, I couldn't have a regular job and just have horses on the side - No horses are my LIFE.
So I started looking around, what job could I do that would involve horses but not compromise my very high standards.
I finally realized, I could be a therapeutic riding instructor! Having never reached advanced levels of competitive riding I couldn't teach recreational riding beyond beginner level - and honestly I didn't want to teach those kids who had tortured me either.
I eagerly worked for a year as a recreational riding instructor while I got licensed for therapeutic work - I've been doing it now for a couple years and can't get over how much I love this career. I spend my days with well cared for horses and students who thrive with them.

I got my own horse, unwisely and untouched 8 year old draft horse xD At the rescue I had learned a great deal about training - I had NO idea how much I didn't know until I got my mare. It was appalling! I immediately educated myself in everything I could find on horse training. I read every book in every book store and library, read the internet a million times over.
Still my mare still had serious issues- I still hadn't even tried to back her, her ground work was so miserable.
I finally posted on a forum - I got BLASTED by rude and mean people - including everything up to telling me my horse was better off if I euthanized her than keeping her! I was so miserable - it haunted me I couldn't sleep and I didn't want to even look at my mare anymore.
I finally posted something on this forum, I don't know what compelled me to try again - masochism maybe?
I was met with similar aggression and rudeness, people telling me I couldn't do it and I shouldn't try. But among the masses there were a few small voices with some really good advice. And when I went back and read *without such a heavy heart* the messages from the people who were less than kind - the advice they offered was valid - they just said it in very harsh ways.
The few kind voices had made a world of difference in me and my horse's life - we have come so far together now and are working on mounted work together. I even got a pony too! I'm using the same methods that they taught me here, and having equally exceptional results. I am more than thrilled.

My point in telling you my life story is to say, I've been there - but the thing I've noticed in all your posts is the same problem I have - I focus on the negative and ignore the positive. We get offended and mad about the slight negative jabs here and there, that we don't even see or acknowledge the positive, constructive advice that really could make a world of difference.
So please work hard at focusing on the positive, because that is what will last - that is what will make the difference (if you let it). The little negative bits only matter for a short time, it's the good stuff that matters!

Sorry for the novel :)
Wow. Thank you SO much for posting this!!! It makes me feel soo much better! Thank you thank you thank you!!!

<3 Harley James <3
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post #52 of 59 Old 12-11-2012, 12:43 AM
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Haha I'm glad my novel was helpful :P
You're on the right path - it's so easy to be dissuaded and pushed down. It often feels like the whole world is up against you. But you know you and your horse are working together (even if sometimes they're working at a different pace ;P) and you WILL make it through. Try not to take things too personally, focus on the positive!

I'm gonna PM you something in a sec - be ready! :)
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post #53 of 59 Old 12-12-2012, 02:08 AM
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Welcome to the wonderful world of jumping :)

Firstly, remember not to rush things as both you and your horse are learning, together. This can be a very positive or negative experience for you and/or your horse, and I'm sure you'd like it to be a positive one.

So, start small. Make your two-point (over fence) position as strong as you can, before you begin jumping actual jumps. This way, you're able to strongly support and help your horse. Begin by working on two point at trot and canter (even walk!) Stretch your heels down, lift yourself gently out of the saddle and move your hands up your horses neck to give with your hands. Then, move onto doing this over poles on the ground (trot or canter poles), making sure that you still keep a stable and supportive position. Moving onto small crosses and going up from there.

It looks like your bracing on your horses mouth a little (I'm sure this isn't done knowingly). Try to relax, even if you're subconsciously tense, it'll make your horse believe there is something to be worried about and take away from the fun. It looks like over the jump you move your hands into your lap instead of away from you, this is causing your contact to become tighter instead of softer. So, remember, hands go forward over the jump. :)

Whilst you cannot afford a trainer, fair enough, many people cannot. Maybe you could ask family members to put money towards the occasional lesson, etc. This way, someone can physically see how you're going (there is so much you can learn from people on the internet). Good luck, you've got a lot of work to do, but, remember safety always comes first. Take things slowly and don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

** PLEASE remember though, that if you want jumping to be fun and rewarding for both you and your horse. You need to make sure it is comfortable and safe for your pony aswell. Good luck!
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post #54 of 59 Old 12-12-2012, 02:43 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much!!!

<3 Harley James <3
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post #55 of 59 Old 12-12-2012, 11:16 PM
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I have read through most of this and I just have a comment from the peanut gallery. When people were giving you advice to get a trainer, stop jumping, etc. you took it like 'why are these people attacking me, I don't want to be a professianal, I am not looking to win at anything,...' I just wanted you to know that I completely understand where you are coming from because it doesn't seem like anyone explained it to you. They were saying those things because the things that you have been thinking of as " for people who show' are really not. They are the rules for ANYONE jumping, not because of looks, or for show, but because it is the only way to not harm you or the horse. Rather than trying to be mean, they were really only looking out for you and your horse. I can assure you that everyone saying that has seen MANY occasions of self taught jumpers on here, usually asking for a crituqe. I can say confidently that 99% of the time both the horses and the riders are in danger because of it. Most people on here never reccomend jumping without lessons for this very reason. Again, everyone wanted you to either stop jumping or take lessons not to 'be the best' but just so that you could continue to have fun but do it SAFETLY. Everyone on here has said pretty much the exact same thing, everyone has just used different word choices. I know to you it haden't seemed like you were putting your horse in danger at all, but really that was not the case. I do think that with time, you could definatly make it completely safe(I know you probably have already been working in the right direction) Good Luck:)
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post #56 of 59 Old 12-14-2012, 02:44 PM
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JMO take it for what it's worth. I don't see anyone being snooty or snobby, I see a couple of riders that are respectful riders in jumping and want to see you get your confindence back and be safe. I know you said you have no interest in showing and can't afford a trainer, non of them are saying IF you jump you HAVE to show they are just trying to make sure you are aware of how unsafe some of the things they see are. I wouldn't want to see you get hurt and loose all of the confidence you have been trying so hard to recover. Nor do I want to see your horse hang a leg and injury themselves. I think if you can see that and take it for what it's worth you are in headed in the right direction!
I see a rider that needs to work on two point in walk/trot/canter so for a more soild leg. With a soild leg you will find that it will be easier to control your horse before and after the jump and free up their back while jumping. I know you said that horse runs out on jumps but if you had a stronger leg you could push his forward and gaurd your rein so he can't run out rather then hanging on his mouth, whether he is hard mouthed or not. It will also make it easier to ride a run out or refusal if that does happen. Where your leg and seat are now I would be worried that if your horse refused or ran out you would come over his head. I would hate to see someone who is working SO hard on gaining confidence back loose it do to a fall! Once again just my two cents. Cheers and happy riding!

OT- I understand working your tail off to provide for your animals. I am in the same boat and 19. :)
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post #57 of 59 Old 12-14-2012, 10:33 PM
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Hi there. :)

Like you, I'm a 19 year old who works my tail off to keep my horse. I work at the barn four+ days a week, and I am also a full-time college student. Because of it,I can't afford lessons. I am a 100% self-taught English rider and have been riding for about ten years.

I'll tell you what I do to make riding for myself and my horse as safe and enjoyable as I can. I read, a LOT. I read about flat work, jumping, training, anything. I read a lot about lightness and connection. I also do a lot of watching. I watch videos, other people ride, and audit lessons when I can. And of course, I stalk Horse Forum.

There is nothing like hands-on, direct teaching from an instructor, but some of us have to do what we have to do, and make the best of it.

So, I suggest you do the same. Consider subscribing to Dressage Today or Practical Horseman. Tons of good information in those.

Like I said, I am completely self-taught and currently own a coming five-year-old Thoroughbred who I have had since she was a yearling. I saved and saved and saved to afford two months training for her so she could have a great start. Since then, I have been reading, watching and listening to get us to where we are now.

Here we are today, jumping 2'3 for the first time, only the third or so time we have cantered a fence.


We aren't perfect, but for a young horse and a self-trained rider, I think we are pretty great.

The point of this is to let you know that, even without lessons, you can become a safe, confident rider. Don't let other people get you down! As long as you work hard and are determined, you can become a fine jumper. Keep your head up, and keep working! Take videos and pictures whenever you can and get critiques. Wade through the ugly comments and focus on the constructive ones.

So, here is my critique of your video.

You need to lighten up your seat. It seems like you have a great full seat canter; now just work on that half seat! I am working on that same thing. I love full-seat but hate riding in half-seat. I think I'm a dressage rider at heart!
Also, work on some inpulsion from your sweet horse. Do lots of transitions to get him up on his forehand and working from behind.
Even though the jump is small, work on having a bit more fluidity in your hands.
Also, maybe try to build some jumps. A length of sand-filled PVC is a cheap and easy way to make poles. Be creative with jump standards! Anything that will support a pole but also allow it to let the rail fall will work, so long as a hoof or leg can not get caught it in. Upside down buckets are great!

Sorry for the VERY long winded post. Cookies for reading my life story!
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post #58 of 59 Old 12-15-2012, 12:47 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Sunny View Post
Hi there. :)

Like you, I'm a 19 year old who works my tail off to keep my horse. I work at the barn four+ days a week, and I am also a full-time college student. Because of it,I can't afford lessons. I am a 100% self-taught English rider and have been riding for about ten years.

I'll tell you what I do to make riding for myself and my horse as safe and enjoyable as I can. I read, a LOT. I read about flat work, jumping, training, anything. I read a lot about lightness and connection. I also do a lot of watching. I watch videos, other people ride, and audit lessons when I can. And of course, I stalk Horse Forum.

There is nothing like hands-on, direct teaching from an instructor, but some of us have to do what we have to do, and make the best of it.

So, I suggest you do the same. Consider subscribing to Dressage Today or Practical Horseman. Tons of good information in those.

Like I said, I am completely self-taught and currently own a coming five-year-old Thoroughbred who I have had since she was a yearling. I saved and saved and saved to afford two months training for her so she could have a great start. Since then, I have been reading, watching and listening to get us to where we are now.

Here we are today, jumping 2'3 for the first time, only the third or so time we have cantered a fence.

Cantering 2'3 - YouTube

We aren't perfect, but for a young horse and a self-trained rider, I think we are pretty great.

The point of this is to let you know that, even without lessons, you can become a safe, confident rider. Don't let other people get you down! As long as you work hard and are determined, you can become a fine jumper. Keep your head up, and keep working! Take videos and pictures whenever you can and get critiques. Wade through the ugly comments and focus on the constructive ones.

So, here is my critique of your video.

You need to lighten up your seat. It seems like you have a great full seat canter; now just work on that half seat! I am working on that same thing. I love full-seat but hate riding in half-seat. I think I'm a dressage rider at heart!
Also, work on some inpulsion from your sweet horse. Do lots of transitions to get him up on his forehand and working from behind.
Even though the jump is small, work on having a bit more fluidity in your hands.
Also, maybe try to build some jumps. A length of sand-filled PVC is a cheap and easy way to make poles. Be creative with jump standards! Anything that will support a pole but also allow it to let the rail fall will work, so long as a hoof or leg can not get caught it in. Upside down buckets are great!

Sorry for the VERY long winded post. Cookies for reading my life story!
Thank you SO much! I as well am mostly self taught. I have been started WTC by a trainer and everything and have learned mostly basics, but the rest is mostly self taught other than the ONCE IN A BLUE MOON lesson. I think riding is mostly just common sense. Biomechanics, balance, and science. BUT you have to in turn apply the skill! Thanks for your post. You and I are really alike in the sense of not being able to afford lessons. It may seem like BS to a lot of folks on here but as long as you have the will to do it, you can if you apply yourself! You do what you do with what you can!

<3 Harley James <3
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post #59 of 59 Old 12-30-2012, 04:59 AM
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Hi I was wanted to say I know exactly where you're coming from as well. I'm self taught as well! I did have a trainer when I first started for about year but she divorced her husband and moved to new york. Its a very long and complicated story. She was strickly a saddle seat,hunt seat person so she hated jumping. So when she left I decided I really want to jump! Lucky for me she didnt own the propery where my horses are so i didnt have to move them! For the last two years i've been working my butt off to get my confidence back at the canter (i fell first time canter my horse because said ex trainer didnt teach me how to sit it right) so I could jump. When I posted on here I got blasted like you did for not having a trainer and not knowing how to canter properly. People were saying your gonna get you and you horse hurt. Just like they have to you! There was a pretty big blow out between me and another girl on here in that thread. Looking back now its all pretty funny because I've come such a long way! Jumping is actually helping me get confidence back at the canter! Lucky I've also had my cousin to help out with position and stuff because she's an eventer. The only thing I really noticed that needed work in video is your two point! Dont feel bad cause I've been jumping for a year and I'm still working on mine!
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