Horse is terrified of jumps??

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Horse is terrified of jumps??

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    09-29-2009, 07:38 PM
Horse is terrified of jumps??

My black Irish Cob, Ebony was a nervous, skinny wreck when I got her! I fell in love with her way of trying so hard and how she wouldn't trust anyone or anything. She wouldn't canter but would race around trotting at 100mph round the school. Three months later she trusts me 100% and is managing to trust all new people and things. She's put on loads of weight, she's no where near as jumpy as she used to be and she just loves human company. She looks the picture of good health, she seems happy and she now canters as soon as you give her the aids! Though being so unbalanced she can't canter on the left rein without tripping constantly and falling over on occasion. There's so much more work I can do with her but there's one problem I just can't get past. I want her to learn to jump but she just won't!!
She is absolutely terrified of poles, the more coloured the worse they are. And the blocks for making the jumps are sure to kill her in her opinion!
There is one pole that's basically wooden with only little faded marks of where there were red stripes on it and she doesn't seem so scared by this one but I take her over it and she stops and tries to run out then I force her over it and she walks or leaps over it and then bolts the other side. I really want her to jump but I just don't want her to get scared of jumping. More than anything I want her to enjoy jumping as much as I do. Also I can't jump one wooden pole for the rest of the time I have her! I want to have her ready for some shows by next summer but at the moment I see horses jumping pink, red, blue, yellow etc. jumps and it just feels like such a hopeless dream!!
I would be so grateful for any advice! Dressage is fine but schooling gets boring for both of us and I know if she just enjoyed jumping we'd be a great team, she's got the right build for jumping but I don't think she's ever going to jump at this rate!!
Prisca-Zia xx
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    09-29-2009, 08:08 PM
Groundwork would help alot!
But first i'd say you need to work on flatwork, especially if she is so unbalanced!
    09-29-2009, 09:57 PM
When I got my warmblood he had already been jumping cross country, however he didn't last because he "didn't have the heart" as the trainer said. What that really meant was that he had been pushed so hard that he was scared of even a pole on the ground. He wouldn't go within 6 ft. Of one. I knew I had to start all over with his foundation work and basically rehabilitate him as far as jumping. I did TONS of approach and retreat with a single ground pole, never ever pushed him, and once he crossed it he actually went catatonic--that's how much stress he felt. It was very sad, but I just let him know I would never, ever push him when he said he wasn't ready. Approach and retreat, approach and retreat......this will be your best friend in building her confidence! Today, he will jump 2'6 confidently and stays emotionally collected the whole time.
    09-29-2009, 10:28 PM
I know nothing about jumping, but the approach, retreat method works well for a lot of things the horse is scared at. Research more into the approach and retreat as Spirit suggested =]

Here is a helpful link to get you started:

Training ~ Approach & Retreat
    09-30-2009, 03:52 PM
I will definitely try the Approach and Retreat method! Especially as you have a success story to back it up!!!!
How did you actually go about doing it? I mean did you walk up to the jump stop your horse then carry on walking then go back get a little closer, stop your horse then walk away etc.??
Thank you for your answers :) xx
    09-30-2009, 04:35 PM
You get off the horse and lead it from the ground.
You start with poles laid on the ground.
You walk the horse in hand over the poles
You insert one coloured pole on the ground
You raise the poles off the ground in very small increments
You do the same exercise on the lunge line

Then one day - when all is going well - you mount up and do it all again at the walk - the horse will step over.

You lay the poles on the ground and you walk round them, through them, over them. You move them so that the gap between the poles varies.

Hopefully you'll get to 1 ft off the ground.
You rig the poles up so that there is a high end and a low end.
Then you raise the poles to 1ft 6 and you "jump" the poles at the trot.
The you raise the poles to 2ft and again you jump the poles at the trot.

Then one day, when all has been going well, you bring into the arena a friend on her horse and she leads the way and you jump the poles at a gentle canter whilst following her.

In other words, you take things step by step, slowly and surely. And at the beginning you walk by her head to show that the hob goblins aren't going to get her.

The horse is not colour blind but it is nowhere near as much frightened of colours as you think it is. There is something else which it is frightened of and perhaps it is you.
Do you jerk its mouth?
Do you point it squarely at the jump?
Have you got a friend that can jump the horse for you?

You,ve got a whole winter to practice this jumping - I am sure you will be able to go jumping next season. Don't fret but be persistent and patient.

Irish Cobs could fly if they had even more hair on their backs.

Of course we are forgetting that just maybe your Irish Cob is being an Irish Huzzy - mares can be like that.

Barry G
    09-30-2009, 05:09 PM
I will try this too!
Although I think she might be very confused about why i'm walking her in hand in the menage but I will try this!
No I don't jerk her mouth. I've tried having a good contact, no contact etc.
I generally point her straight at the pole though a friend suggested I try to incorporate the pole into a shallow loops but this made her more scared because she didn't see it until she was pretty much on top of it!!
And no I don't have anyone who can jump her for me. She is a difficult horse to ride and although i've let some of my friends ride her they've never been able to do anything with her because i'm the first person she's ever trusted and so she only really trust me. We kind of have our ways in which we go about schooling etc. and she knows if it's someone else riding her and just bolts around the school. There is only one other person who could jump her and she broke her ankle last week riding a friend's horse!
Also I want to be able to say i've got her to jump. I brought her as a challenging horse to work on myself and so I really want to sort her out without anyone else riding her!!
But thanks so much for the step by step guide!! I really prefer advice that I can work through without wondering if i'm doing it right!! So thank you xxx
    09-30-2009, 11:00 PM
What I did was started on the ground. I sent my horse out on a circle and as he approached, if he wanted to stop I let him. The reason I SEND the horse to the pole is because a lot of times a horse will follow you, but that doesn't mean he's confident. Horses are natural FOLLOWERS, so sometimes they will FOLLOW you anywhere, but to build his self confidence, you must SEND him to the obstacle. I let him stand there, assessing things, then asked him to back up, then reapproach the pole. If he wanted to stop again, I let him. If your horse does this, DO NOT push him. That will ruin all his confidence. Allow him time, watch for licking and chewing and his curiosity to grow. If he wants to go forward on his own, allow it! Just remember, this is about his confidence, it's not about the jump! You must allow him time. I can not stress this enough.
    10-01-2009, 09:57 AM
You should be able to get an American style training halter - it is string based and works on the poll and the nose.
It will give you more control than a typical British flat head collar.
You'll need a 4 foot length or more of leading rope.
Don't ever wrap the rope around your hand - the lighter the touch the better. In the end, use just a few fingers. Let go instantly if need be - she is not going anywhere.

Walk her round a few times, get her to follow you at the shoulder with the slightest pressure.

Wear boots - your feet are precious and each foot of hers weighs 3cwts

Walking at her head, gives her the sight of you by her side - facing the hob goblins together - but be careful of her feet.
Talk to her constantly - just a normal tone, no shouting. And as the other lady said - take it steadily and easily - no forcing. And no whips.
Just stop and wait if necessary.

Make a board for the rosettes.

Barry G
    10-06-2009, 05:41 PM
Thanks for all your advice!! I will be using all of your suggestions!!!
Last thursday I tried some ground work. I had just a bridle on her and we tried walking over a pole and doing a couple of other things. After taking her over the pole a couple of times she really seemed to get her confidence from me and was just following me over it. Then she relaxed a little too much and wasn't picking her feet up. She kicked the pole and went ballistic!! She started cantering off but I turned her towards me and made her circle so she stopped. Every time after that whenever I asked her to go over the pole she would bolt like this. It was really disappointing because it had felt like we'd made a breakthrough but i'm not sure now.
As I say I shall keep trying!! :) I think I still need to learn to push her less because I wasn't giving her the option not to go over the pole!
I might try some free schooling some day and see if she will go over the jumps without being made to! I've tried lungeing her but she's so unbalanced and she won't leave my side on the right rein!!

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