How can I get a horse to go over a jump alone?

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How can I get a horse to go over a jump alone?

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  • 2 Post By Chevylover96

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    12-30-2012, 11:08 AM
How can I get a horse to go over a jump alone?

So as many of you know I recently bought a 3 year old standardbred mare who is not broke to ride. Since I'd like to to be able to jump someday, I wanted to test out her ability with free jumps. She was very nervous even just to walk over a pole with me, but she did it, and she got a lot better so I switched it to a raised pole, she did it with me without much effort. However when I try to get her to go over even just a pole by herself she is a nervous wreck and just won't do it. I've only had her 4 days so I'm not concerned, I'd just like to know how you guys would get her to be more confident going over things alone?
She didn't know anything when I got her except basic grous manners like how to walk on a lead, cross ties and she did know how to pick up her feet but she was horrible at it, she's getting better though! So now she knows how to lunge, but she is still learning so she doesn't know all the cues, she just knows that noise+whip in air means go faster, and voice command means go slower, she just learned yesterday so she picked up on it very quickly! She also now knows that I'm not going to hit her with the whip (she was trained not so nicely to race!) and that the lead rope around her legs and all over isn't a big deal. She seems to be a natural at yielding, I walk to her back end with intentions of asking her to move her hind end then she does, I was very happy with that. We need to work on backing up as well, but she is coming along nicely, considering more than half the training sessions is spent rolling and bucking and jumping to let off some steam, as sh doesn't have a padock to go to yet. (each training session is about 30 minutes!) and she's only been there 4 days, everything is very new to her! She is very settled into the arena now, unless another horse comes in to work, in which case she is jumpy, but very interested in what they are doing. Back to my original question how should I get her more confidant about going over poles on the ground and eventually jumps alone? Thank you! And don't worry I have had lots of people giving me training tips at the barn I'm at (whether I wanted them or not lol) but they know nothing about jumping since they are a western barn, so I can't ask!
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    12-30-2012, 11:09 AM
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    12-30-2012, 11:42 AM
I would slow down a little, if she has just learned to lunge, lunging over poles should not come until she has all of her basic commands down and has built some muscle and is able to balance properly on a circle. Introducing poles and jumps now will do nothing but confuse and over face her. Spend a few weeks just on the basics. Get her really listening to your commands and body first. Once she is confident, comfortable and balanced lunging then introduce a ground pole. If she has the basics down really well and listens to you there should be no issue with the pole she will hardly know its there, eventually move up to a couple of poles for her to trot over, not right next to each other with a few strides between. Work your way up to where she can trot over a few at a time all together and then make a very small x. The middle should be only a few inches off the ground. If you have done the previous steps properly this should be no big thing.
The most important thing to remember is that she is a baby and has a very short attention span. Throwing too much at her all at once is going to do nothing but make her not want to learn. Take is slow. Lots of horses don't lunge over poles for months if that is what it takes for them to lunge properly first. Just relax, take your time and remember she's only 3 you have lots and lots of time to teach her. Don't over face her all at once!
    12-30-2012, 01:08 PM
A gal stopped by yesterday evening and we discussed how her young standardbred was coming along. She was a bit surprised how the horse didn't know how to step over a small log. Because her training had been all about racing, that was likely the first leg she'd ever seen. She gal started by having her walk over thin branches, thin boards, letting the horse deal with it then gradually worked the obstacles until she could handle a log. She didn't rush the horse at all, wanted her to be comfortable about all this stuff that was new to her.
    12-30-2012, 01:18 PM
I'd slow it waaaay down. How long has she been off the track for? A lot of race horses are trained "not so nicely", but also remember she is a race horse, she's never had to step over a pole before. I would start with only walking her over the poles in hand and save the elevated poles and lunge poles for later.
    12-30-2012, 01:20 PM
Ok, before I give you tips - Just because they are western, doesn't mean that they don't know anything about English.
I would try to Put the jump somewhere, ad first get a long (maybe a 22 foot line) rope to attach to your horse's halter. Then I would stand somewhere near - but not too close or too far away - and make your horse go in circles. When he gets to the jump, just keep him going in circles like the jump isn't even there. If he goes around it, that's ok. It will take some time for him to go over it. And whatever you do, do not force him to go over it - otherwise he might think it's scary and then he definitely won't go over it.
I've done it with my horse before a few years ago, and it did work.
(By the way, I'm a western rider.. I know how to jump.)
    12-30-2012, 07:37 PM
I agree that you should slow it down for a bit. You can keep things short, and loung her for a bit and let her get used to doing that and trusting you. You may even try joining up with her if you have access to a non-flooded round pen. (The one at my barn floods after heavy rain, haha). I have been working with a 12 y/o OTTB at my barn that I wanted to jump so I've learned a few things that may help you. First:
1) Keep lounging her on the line for a few weeks, even if she seems to be doing ok now, don't rush her. Keep reinforcing that she is being a good girl and doing it right. (Remember to keep the "right thing comfortable, wrong thing uncomfortable" mentality).

2) Lounging aside, to get her used to going over poles now, continue to hand walk her over ground poles as a separate lesson from lounging. This will help to let her know poles are not scary and she has no problem picking her feet up just a bit higher to walk over them. The important thing to remember right now is to keep these two lessons separate.

3) Assuming she continues with what sounds like amazing progress, based on what you've said, then next combine the two. First use only one single ground pole. If you are working in an arena (as opposed to a round pen), place the pole directly in her path. For example, if you work her along side the arena wall (as opposed to the middle), then place the pole on the wall, directly where she is forced to step over it. Start at the walk and then work your way up the gaits.

4) If she handles this well, you can raise the pole on blocks to have it be only a few inches off the ground. If you have jumping blocks, lay them flat on their sides. If you are using standards instead, I would put it on the lowest hole, or find some other means of proping the pole up only 2-3". Again start at the walk and work up. Remember to still place the "jump" in her path so she cannot decide to avoid it. If she gets scared and tried going around, use the whip to direct her back and slow down back to the walk.

5) If this goes well, you can make an X. I would still keep it very, very small. Less than 18", even. Maybe prop the jumping blocks on their side and use two poles to make an X. Still keeping the jump in her path, place two more poles as a "runway" to the jump, forcing her to go forward. /X\ <---- Like that. The two poles are both on the same side of the jump, one before, and one after. It is to help direct her over and to keep her from dodging out. It can be high or low, depending on what scares her or how much she dodges. Eventually you can take these runway poles away and let her just go over the jump. If she knocks the jump over at any point, that is ok. The OTTB I was working with literally plowed through it. I was worried he injured himself, but the next go-round he completely over jumped it. It ended up being a good thing because he learned jumping INTO the jump and knocking it down is not nearly as much fun as simply going over it.

Hopefully that helps! Best of luck!!
    12-30-2012, 11:13 PM
Does she know how to send back and forth between you and a fence online?
I send my horses over barrels/logs that they jump online for me.....I'm sure if I worked more they would do it off line too but I started with teaching them how to send from one side of me to the other first....
    01-01-2013, 05:16 PM
To update, I sat on her bareback today, walked and backed her up, it was her first ever time with someone on her back an first ever time with a bridle on. I love her so much, she amazes me everytime I see her! :) <3
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