I've been jumping my three year old for awhile. I don't want to hear that he's too young, that's not why I'm here. He was getting lazy to my leg so I used spurs on him, and once he was responding better I stopped. Lately.. I don't even know how to describe it. He knows how to do these things, but just doesn't do it. I'll have a jump set up maybe 2 and a half feet up to three with a pole one human step in front so he doesn't take off and go straight up. He'll try to step over that and then go over the jump. Any advice??
Here's a recent video:
(Please excuse my horrible eq I did my best /: trained myself)
Honestly, I think you need to back off on the jumping for awhile and stick to trotting and cantering poles. Your horse does not look very balanced on the flat and does not appear to know what he's doing over fences. If you keep pushing him you run the risk of ruining him for jumping forever. I would practice trotting and cantering poles and practice shortening and lengthening his stride before you go back to jumping fences.
And, kudos to you for training yourself....for not using the "I don't have a trainer" as an excuse.
I've been jumping for a while and it certainly looks like your guy has the physical ability, but I agree with gypsygirl. It seems after watching the video that you have more confidence in your guy than he has in himself. As difficult as this is to apply in daily riding, we cannot "make them see" the potential we see in them. It looks like he gets a little hot to the jumps, which will cool down with proper training and saddle time. Flatwork is absolutely key, and is fundamental to running flawless courses. I would spend a majority of time on flatwork....have it down COLD, and throw in some jumps to keep his mind fresh. Let him tell you the height he's comfortable with. If it's a xrail right now, it's a xrail right now. Allow him to build his confidence in himself, and he will automatically build his confidence in you and vice versa.
Have you tried free jumping him? Sometimes it helps build their confidence if they learn to boldly and confidently free jump before jumping with a rider, and it may help build his confidence. I agree he needs more flatwork under saddle, but if you want to keep him working on the jump, I suggest in alternation with the flatwork do some free jumping or even lunge jumping over small rails and obstacles. Make sure to keep it easy at first and then build the demand as he shows mastery. As he learns he can jump freely on his own, he will be less worried about jumping with you as it is harder for them to find their balance jumping with a rider, especially if they are not yet comfortable jumping on their own.
You're asking too much of this horse too soon. He is not developed to be jumping let alone jumping these heights. This is why people wait until 5 to start jumping. Horses need a solid foundation on flatwork before jumping. You also need to do a lot of ground pole work to get timing down before asking to jump. You're going to do a lot of damage to this horse at this pace, physically and mentally. You're horse is developing bad habits and can end up a rearer. Stop this now before it gets worse and the horse flips over on you.
I'm not a jumper, and I often defend a chair seat, but my mare would get really irritated if I rode her like that. Your balance is wrong on the flat and that can't be a good sign for jumping. I suggest getting a good book on forward riding, or getting on the jump forum and asking for advice on your position. You can't teach the horse what you don't know.
I did a few screen captures. I'll delete these from my photo account in a week or so, but here is what I was seeing:
I won't get into the "hes jumping to young"(though he is, especially at that height).
But to be completely blunt and to the point. You have no sweet clue what you are doing and both you and your horse are going to be killed by eachother if you don't get coaching.
You are dropping him at the jump, you are dropping your eye and you have NO idea how to spot a proper distance, which leads to straight up in the air jump.
You need do do A LOT of pole work. And A LOT of gymnastic work. If you refuse to get a coach(which I think will make you flat out stupid) to help you learn to properly jump then at least get the book 101 jumping exercises, read every single book and article you can find by George Morris and put a helmet on your head.
And just in case I haven't said it enough. GET A COACH!!!! Jumping is a very dangerous sport and you can get killed if you are not riding properly. I foresee a very deadly accident in your future with this horse if you don't get coaching from someone who knows how to jump PROPERLY.
This horse has inadequate foundation for jumping this height. You are bringing him in too fast and he is being asked to jump too high for his ability and he has NO IDEA where his "spot" is.
Such a shame. The horse is willing and athletic and could be a very nice jumper someday because of it... but by bringing him along too fast without a solid foundation on the flat he is off balance and trying to do his best.
He rushes the fence.. head up.. back hollow and then is too close.. steps into the ground pole because his rider has not helped to put him where he won't need to get in so close.. and then cannot possibly clear the fence.
Teaching yourself is fine.. but this video is a good example of what that can lead to.
Take this nice horse back and out of jumping. Get him calm and balanced on the flat.. transitions up and down.. collections and extensions (at the trot). Get out the caveletti and have him jumping 12 inches on an X fence at the end of trotting over caveletti. When he is calm doing that, add a second X jump one stride after the first jump. Keep things low and slow.
Help your horse and back off on the higher jumps. He is a nice one and worth it.