Horse scared of jumps? - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By alyssajacques
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post #1 of 7 Old 11-13-2013, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Lower Mainland, British Columbia, Canada
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Horse scared of jumps?

So, my horse whisper is scared of jumps, some times she will go over them, sometimes she refuses.. Any tips on how to get her used to them? How to train her to jump? Should I consider getting a trainer? Or perhaps riding lessons?

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
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post #2 of 7 Old 11-13-2013, 08:04 PM
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Is she scared or are you?

If she sometimes goes over them, it would suggest to me that you may be nervous and subconsciously telling her not to jump. Are you worried that she will refuse when jumping?

I would get a trainer or a few lessons as an extra set of eyes will tell you where the pair of you are going wrong and give you tools to fix it. :) Good luck xx

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post #3 of 7 Old 11-13-2013, 08:08 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2013
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I will begin looking for a trainer soon hopefully, will have to talk to my parents about it of course.
It's not that I'm afraid of jumping, it's just me being more afraid of falling off, getting hurt again and loosing my confidence to ride all over again..
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post #4 of 7 Old 11-13-2013, 08:08 PM
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A few thing to consider are you sure she is scared or just refusing. If she is scared she would snort, her eyes would be big, body tense. Refusing on the other hand looks like dodging out to one side or the other, stopping short in front of the jump, bolting ect. I would recommend a trainer and lessons since you asked. A lot of times horses will start refusing to do something one because they can, two because their rider makes it uncomfortable for them, three something is causing them pain when they do it.

I like to start out on the ground and get the horse comfortable on the ground with whatever I am doing before riding. Start small and work your way up, if your horse will go over a pole a few inches off the ground start there. When she is comfortable raise your poles a bit higher. If you trail ride look for logs to jump on the trail, mix it up a bit. Don't drill and do the same thing over and over, change up your routine and keep things interesting. But if your in question about your skills and knowledge get a trainer to help you.
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post #5 of 7 Old 11-13-2013, 09:21 PM
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You should absolutely get a trainer and stop jumping her until you do. She's developing bad and dangerous habits.
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post #6 of 7 Old 11-13-2013, 09:25 PM
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I wouldn't go so far as to say refusing is a dangerous habit, then again a dirty ditcher can be quite hazardous to ones health lol.

A trainer is your best route (as you've acknowledged) My mare, Fi, drives me nuts. She has to look at the jump as she goes over, we did have a major break in our trust when she got hung up in a tarp that I apparently fed her to (in her eyes ;) ) But in due time she gets better, but the initial "shock" of new jumps, though she has yet to refuse, is still a bit frustrating. She's inquisitive, but slow to process.

In the meantime, try lunging her over ground poles or smaller jumps to get her accustomed. Groundwork will also establish trust with you, so if there is a trust issue, this will help it (not fix it in one day of course) along with a trainer... You'll be back on the road to smooth sailing... in the saddle of course ;)

Also, thinking about falling off is making you lose the battle and show your confidence issues, which in turn could be the root of her refusals. Remind yourself that you "will not fall or fail" stay positive. You can't think of what "could" happen, it is very detrimental to one's success (or failure). Trust in your ability to ride your horse, jump what you are comfortable with, and gradually move out of your comfort zone as your trainer sees fit. It's funny (for me) because I prefer jumping 2ft with Fi, but in lessons I can easily jump nearly 3ft without hesitation. Guess it shows how much I trust my trainer.

Good luck!
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Last edited by Hang on Fi; 11-13-2013 at 09:28 PM.
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post #7 of 7 Old 11-13-2013, 10:39 PM
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I can tell you how to get her used to jump or anything else without instilling bad habits like stopping to look at them.

Start trotting big circles going along side of ever jump you have. Do not go straight toward an of them. When you do, you are asking her to make the decision whether to stop and look or go forward over them. Just keep going past jumps, both on your right and on your left. 'Leg yield' toward the jump as you go by. DO NOT let her look at them. Teach her to listen to you instead of looking at each jump. DO NOT ride her up to any jump (or anything else for that matter) with the sole purpose of 'showing' her the scary thing. This only reinforces that it is scary and that she should stop and look at everything she questions. You want her to stop trying to look at things out for herself and to start listening to you. You need to be respected enough and she needs to be obedient enough for her do whatever you ask -- including going over any jump.

Horses are 'creatures of habit', not great intellect and reasoning. To stop and look at everything just teaches horses to be fearful and to stop and look at everything.

You can take horses that booger at every jump and in a few rides of leg yielding over past each jump, they just ignore the jumps and travel straight alongside each one, completely ignore them.

You can move and change the appearance of the jumps by leaning stuff against them and throwing blankets and pads over them. ONLY when a horse is completely solid for going past any and every 'new' jump, is the horse ready to go over them. ONLY when the horse goes forward in a straight line and stays obediently between the rider's legs and reins is the horse ready to go forward over any jumps.

When the horse is obedient to everything the rider asks, start jumping by trotting over crossed rails. I like to lean tires against and throw blankets over crossed rails before going on to anything else.

Read the 'sticky' article I wrote on Training A Fearless Trail Horse. Everything in it applies to making a fearless jumper. This is how we train a fearless trail horse!

If it were me, I would do all of the above before you get a trainer. This foundation will make everything you do afterward MUCH easier to get done. Your horse will be a lot better broke. Every horse needs to be obedient to the rider's reins and legs and needs to go forward when told. Everything new thing comes a lot easier after that.
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