Age and jumping
 
 

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Age and jumping

This is a discussion on Age and jumping within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • How high should i jump my 4 year old pony
  • Should 4yr old ponies jump

 
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    09-08-2010, 12:10 PM
  #1
Uma
Foal
Age and jumping

So I have always thought that you shouldn't jump a horse or pony until their knees have completely closed. And once you do you shouldn't start too high, you should work on progressive heights and jumping.

I know one person who is a successful hunter/jumper rider with a lot of experience. They have their 4 year old pony out in the rated show ring jumping 2'6" successfully. They made the comment that the ponies knees aren't closed yet.

Another successful hunter/jumper rider with a lot of experience has her 4 year old thoroughbred cross not jumping higher than 2' at the moment. She is working on gradual teaching without to much strain on the horse.

One of the riders though made the comment that 2'6" is the perfect height to teach a horse to jump because the striding and take off points are similar to what they would be once the jumps start getting higher. You have to ride anything lower than that in a different way and when it's lower the horse learns to see the jump and ride to the jump differently.

So my question is what are your opinions? How high is too high? Is 2'6" appropriate?
     
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    09-08-2010, 03:20 PM
  #2
Weanling
Personnally height is determind by the height of the horse. A pony that is 12hh shouldn't be jumping very high. Where as a horse that is 17hh can jump much higher. I believe that you should work your way up from ground poles up to the height you want to school at (which should be a little higher then you want to show at). Working at cross rails and lower jumps shouldn't affect the ability of the horse when you increase the height of the jumps.

You want the horse to learn how to adjust to different jumps. Plus if you do get into trouble it isn't as dangerouse at the lower heights.
     
    09-08-2010, 03:34 PM
  #3
Yearling
For one, 2'6" is definitely not the same striding as higher jumps...say 4'..but its close to 3'-3'3". I personally think its best to start young horse out with small jumps then progressively work your way up. But I think you can work up faster to 2'6" then stay at 2'6" for a while before getting any higher.
     
    09-08-2010, 03:38 PM
  #4
Started
I have a friend who consistently competes her 4 year old Warmblood at 3'6.. that, to me, is too much for his age.

Next year my boy turns 4 and I will be starting him over small jumps, won't take him over anything bigger than 2'.
     
    09-08-2010, 03:45 PM
  #5
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uma    
So I have always thought that you shouldn't jump a horse or pony until their knees have completely closed. That is correct - a general rule of thumb is 5 years of age. And once you do you shouldn't start too high, you should work on progressive heights and jumping. That is also correct as the horse needs to learn HOW to jump (technique) before it can handle LARGE jumps.

I know one person who is a successful hunter/jumper rider with a lot of experience. They have their 4 year old pony out in the rated show ring jumping 2'6" successfully. They made the comment that the ponies knees aren't closed yet. They obviously do not care if the pony/horse stays sound - get it out there, get it jumping then sell it where it eventually breaks down. Many idiots, disguised as trainers (or just calling themselves that), do this.

Another successful hunter/jumper rider with a lot of experience has her 4 year old thoroughbred cross not jumping higher than 2' at the moment. She is working on gradual teaching without to much strain on the horse. This is smart. Hopefully the horse is smaller and thus more likely to have attained it's adult height. I prefer to lunge my horses over smaller jumps to teach them to jump before I ever get on their backs.

One of the riders though made the comment that 2'6" is the perfect height to teach a horse to jump because the striding and take off points are similar to what they would be once the jumps start getting higher. You have to ride anything lower than that in a different way and when it's lower the horse learns to see the jump and ride to the jump differently. This is BS.

So my question is what are your opinions? How high is too high? Is 2'6" appropriate?
See my opinions above.
     
    09-08-2010, 05:24 PM
  #6
Started
In my opinion, no horse should be jumped before the age of 6. It makes more sense to me to play it safe and make sure the horse is completely mature before you start asking anything strenuous of him.

I loath the "knee closing" rule. A horse's "knees closing" has nothing to do with whether or not he's ready to jump (or barrel race, or whatever you want to do). Horses mature from the bottom up, which means that their backs and necks are the last to develop. Chances of damaging their legs are much less than the chances of hurting their spines. A horse's legs could be done growing, but the growth plates in his back may still be immature, and in that case, he's not physically ready for serious work. Keep in mind that there are growth plates on every bone behind the skull, and every one of them should be fused before a horse goes near a fence.

I knew a lady that broke her 2 year old, jumped him at 4, and the horse went lame with Navicular Syndrome at age 6 and could never be ridden again.
     

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