Tips to Start Jumping/Poles? General Advice

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Tips to Start Jumping/Poles? General Advice

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    12-04-2010, 10:52 PM
Tips to Start Jumping/Poles? General Advice

(Posted here because I am a Western rider looking into an English event; didn't exactly know where to post it! Haha)

So I've been thinking and I think that small, easy jumps would be a fun exercise to mix things up with my Ben and Creampuff. I don't mean any dramatic walls that Show jumpers leap, but more like the jumping you see here. I do have access to a Hunt Seat. I know I need to "start small." Creampuff, all summer, has been jumping poles laid on the ground about 6" high. Ben, too, only more often with lesson kids and even the adults.

I'd like to get involved in showing. Ben would do good with barrels (his fastest time so far has been 20 seconds!) -- Creampuff would too is she would only settle a little bit -- and I think Creampuff would excel is just about anything. Both are Quarter Horses. I'm also looking to involve Creampuff in pole bending, hoping that the multiple activities will help keep her mentally stimulated enough to behave.

I just don't know where to start them from there. Creampuff is a magnificent ride, very responsive and excitable; however, she bucks when she begins to canter and may start when she's in the middle of one. She's one of "those" horses that you have to know inside and out in order to have an inkling of what's going on.

However, this is my issue: Another volunteer rides Creampuff, practically ruining her. He rides her at a tight rein when he goes any faster than a walk (fearing she's going to buck or rear on him again). He kicks when he doesn't need to kick. He's loud with a deep voice and sour attitude, even toward Creampuff.

When he rides her where the barrels and jumps are set up, he takes the aforementioned actions and works her hard. He won't give her air, walking her after a good run. He doesn't pat her, or so much as give her a treat after he dismounts. He only wants to run: so she bucks. This would be another issue to work around: keeping him off her or keeping her settled in a way that she won't act up for everyone else as she has in the past (biting, trying to kick).

On multiple occasions the same "man" (well, he's actually 17 and far from a man if you ask me, in terms of morals) has made Creampuff's cinch so tight I couldn't wriggle my finger under it. But, since she never sees who does this to our horses, my boss doesn't know who it is and thus can't fuss about it. Multiple head from our herd has become "cinchy" and sore. One other horse is so sore you can't even lightly stroke his girth area without being met with pinned ears.

I've told my boss, Di, about how this man rides the young mare. She has said, since Creampuff is a new horse and we need her in the line up, if he wants to ride her like that than he shouldn't ride her at all. This hasn't proven true for my forgetful boss, who lets him ride anyone he wants.

I don't know how I should approach it. I have been tempted to detach myself from my darling mare. But seeing how filthy (I mean mud literally caked in her fur) after she is "groomed" by another volunteer and seeing other people work her in a way to get her riled up in a bad way, I just can't bring myself to "abandon" her.

I see how she looks when I approach, the gleam in her eye that says: "Finally, something enjoyable." Creampuff will let me work with her as I have with no other horse: playing with her nose, kissing her face without moving her head, rubbing the "crusties" out of her eyes (you know, "eye boogers"), checking under her tail and moving about all around her in a way that most mares would say "GTFO" in the cruelest of ways. I can call her up from the pasture by whistling the tune of her name, and each morning I'm greeted at the fence by perky ears and shining, fresh eyes.

I trust this mare with my life, and so I can't just "ditch" her because I'm frustrated with one of the other so-called "horsemen" at the barn. Any advice as to how approach all of these issues, especially the "mental conditioning," would be greatly appreciated.
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    12-04-2010, 11:09 PM
To start jumping, I started over poles on the ground and practicd my 2-point over really tiny jumps and made my ways up to 1.20m on Tess. I have never had a lesson so I don't know how others would go about htis but, if your horse is a little worried about the jumps, set them up in their paddock and turn the hores loose in the paddock, just for them to get the general idea that the jump isnt a trail monster that's going to eat it! Then start lunging over the small jump. Then once the hores has become accustomed to this, its now time to hop on board and go over a small jump over and over again until the horse is no longer worried about it and you have the correct seat. Now as you said you are a western rider, assuming you have a western saddle, you are going to have a REAL hard time jumping in a western saddle. So I would buy/borrow a jumping or all purpose saddle.

Now about Creamy, that is very sad what is happening to her, but you need to remind her that getitng ridden isnt all work and run!, take her on a nice relaxing trail ride everytime you ride and don't sweat/rev her up. But knowing me the little rebelious 14 year old I am, I would confront the man and tell him that he is treating this poor mare like a machine and she doesnt deserve it. And as you said that when he was riding her in the paddock with jumps and barrels, she would most likely associate barrels and jumps with work, so walk her around calmy talking to her and not doing hard work, keep the voice low and work to a minimum.

I really hope that I ahve helped and havent gone on with gibberish! I seem to always do this! Jop Creampuff is ok :(
    12-04-2010, 11:19 PM
No gibberish at all, Tess! With the saddles I mentioned, we do have one jumping saddle and a couple all-purpose English ones I could climb into. It also works into my favor that my boss, Di, used to show in jumping events. She could serve as my "mentor," and perhaps a "mock judge" to get me ready for showing experiences. (:

And with Creampuff, well, I tried. I rode her out there, only wanting to walk, with a friend of mine (Sarah) on her Gypsy [gelding] while some other workers ran the patterns. We would pause to chit-chat in a corner; while Gypsy stood calmly and eye-stalked some grass, Creampuff began to sway (sidestepping a little, but not in a dangerous way) in place. I've come to the conclusion that, due to a mixture of young age and previous poor treatment, she's insecure. So I'm also looking into trust-building exercises to show her that, no, I'm not going to suddenly change and begin to mistreat her or work the lathered sweat out of her.

Since I didn't want to push her too hard and make her life more miserable, we walked around for about another 5 minutes before I dismounted and took her back to the main paddock for a drink and rest. Working past this "sour behavior" with a green, misinformed rider and a stubborn mare will be my biggest obstacle. While she's willing to work and very much a "pleaser," if you ask in a mean way she'll metaphorically spit in your face.

With a new indoor arena in Covington, Indiana, I hope to really work on this. It won't be the paddock I mentioned before (which is a pasture where we turn her and her pasture mate out for the night; it could be associated with the hard work suddenly being thrown into a "safe, relaxing place").
    12-04-2010, 11:34 PM
Thats really aabout poor creamy :( why not turn her out in the paddock with the jumps and barrels? Or I would do basic groundwork in the paddock with jumps and barrels before I ride in there. But I just remember somthing :you need to become her leader before you become her friend. Let her learn to trust you before you do too mch with her. How old is she?
    12-04-2010, 11:37 PM
I'm not sure of her exact age. But judging by her teeth and general temperament, I wouldn't be surprised if she isn't 10 yet.

She's turned out with the barrels and jumps; it's just where she eats. There's a separate pen we could put them in, but it's a rather small space and my boss doesn't like the "danger." She's not afraid of them, per say, but more unwilling to work for that much because she's never benefited from the past. "Why work if there's no good in it for me?"
    12-04-2010, 11:38 PM
Oh sorry. Lol. Im outta ideas at the momet :(

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