Can a TB Mare's Explosive Jumping Be Corrected - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 01-26-2012, 10:59 AM Thread Starter
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Can a TB Mare's Explosive Jumping Be Corrected

Just purchased a 11 yr old TB Mare (never raced) for my 11 year old daughter who has been riding for 4+ years, hunter/jumper, currently jumping 2'. Daughter has ridden mare here at the house, we took her for one private lesson at daughter's training stable and this past Tuesday we took mare to her first group lesson. Daughter hasn’t really jumped her much yet (at least not at any significant height) and in her lesson was asked to jump a 2’ brush jump (oxer w/ shrubs in the middle). Mare balked at the jump initially, then my daughter took her back around and completed the jump. It was pretty ugly--mare exploded when she got into the air. I really don’t know how my daughter stayed on, aside from her having the correct positioning, heels down, although she came out of the saddle and lost her stirrups. She took her around again and the 2nd time was less severe than the first, but still somewhat of an explosion. They did a few more jumps (another oxer and a gate) and it was better, but there was still a lot of energy.

Current trainer said that the mare is most likely going to continue jumping like this. That there can be some tweaking to make it “better” but it will always be explosive. The lady we purchased mare from seems to believe different. Mare is currently on a trial period. My daughter has fallen numerous times before…I understand that is going to happen…but my concern is the explosiveness of the jump and if it will, or can, get any better or if it was just the “newness” of the entire atmosphere.

That being said, my daughter has jumped her here at home, but only up to 15” jumps. There was one in particular that I remember that had a lot of energy, but did fine with it and they continued on course.

Long story short—I would like your opinion on whether this horse (an 11-year old Thoroughbred Mare) can be trained to jump without all the energy?

Current trainer believes it will not change; the lady we purchased from said it can.

The pros for this mare are numerous…she’s been great with everything else we’ve done with her (trailering is a work-in-progress, but we do eventually get her to load). She has great ground manners, gets along in the field with our others, was absolutely incredible with the vet and farrier. She’s a gentle mare, but it a bit anxious at times.

The mom in me is taking over, so I need other opinions. I want to be able to watch my daughter train with her new mare and not be worried about an explosion. My daughter's not fearful...but her trainer voiced concern and of course I am concerned. Any input would be appreciated.
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post #2 of 4 Old 01-26-2012, 11:08 AM
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IME, the kind of jumping you're describing does improve with training and experience. What you can rely on is that this mare's reaction to new and unusual fences will probably always be a little more energetic than familiar fences. She won't be a good candidate for show circuits where you're not allowed to school in the ring beforehand for some time, most likely.

What's more of a concern is that your current trainer doesn't feel that it's correctable. She has first hand experience with the horse, so her opinion is paramount. Also, if she doesn't believe it's fixable, she's unlikely to devote time and energy to the exercises and approaches that will help the problem, that's just human nature. How does the current trainer feel about the mare in general? Does she like her otherwise? Does she feel like she's a good fit for your daughter? And what are your daughter's riding goals?

Overall, my reaction to your story is that this mare might be a nice horse, but probably isn't the ideal first horse for an 11 year old. IF your current trainer was on board with the idea or bringing her along, I might feel slightly warmer about the idea, but a first horse for someone coming off of school horses should be a safe and steady confidence builder, not a challenge.

Last edited by maura; 01-26-2012 at 11:11 AM.
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post #3 of 4 Old 01-26-2012, 11:10 AM
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Horse-pucky--CAN'T be changed!! It's gonna take a lot of work. I suggest a few exercises to start with. I do agree with age suitability but NOT that the horse cannot be changed.
1) NO rails in between the standards--JUST a groundpole.
2) Ground work over jumps. It's probably fear that is creating the explosion.
3) After a Good MONTH of JUST groundwork in and around standards--do your riding in an arena with NO jumps for a month--ride through the "ground jump" at a walk. Good hunters/jumpers have long been expected to be able to jump small hurdles at the walk.
4) Approach and retreat. School her to only go over the groundpole jump when you wish, which will NOT be every time. Maybe every third time, then every fifth time, maybe only once in a session--totally random order and school without going over the groundpole the remainder of the session.
5) PLENTY of Dressage to establish a good bond between horse and rider, and for confidence and obedience. If this mare works out for your daughter she'll likely take to 3-day, and the horse has to pass a Dressage test there, so ANY time spent is well worth it--THIS is where 3-day people like to skip.
Its LOTS of work but unless this mare is closing on 20yo you can turn her around. =D
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post #4 of 4 Old 01-26-2012, 11:16 PM
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If your current coach thinks that it cannot be changed, you need a new coach imo. It can be changed, many horses do it and it can be corrected. But you need someone who knows what they are doing and explanation over the internet likely wont be enough.
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