How long does it take to start jumping? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 03-10-2010, 08:12 AM Thread Starter
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How long does it take to start jumping?

Just want to hear opinions and experience. If you are a total beginner how long it'll take you before you can start jumping?

I'm wondering, because on one of the local trainer sites I saw the beginners start jumping in 2nd month of lessons. Is it possible at all? Also one person I met told me he started jumping after 2 or 3 lessons and went to 3 ft in no time (before he had just once-in-while rides even without instructors). Can you have a good seat, legs and hands on w/t/c in just a month? I just can't believe in it.
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post #2 of 7 Old 03-10-2010, 09:44 AM
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I have seen trainers that rushed the jumping to make their clients "happy" - they do NOT have the seat or the control of their own bodies, much less the horses, in 2 months. The only way they could is if they're VERY talented and rode SEVERAL horses every day for that 2 months.

But the statement isn't false - after 2 months on a 'dead broke' horse a rider could go over 18 inches (i.e. jump). They might even stay on with a bucking strap or holding onto the mane. But they will be doing a disservice to themselves since there is no way they will be riding effectively.
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post #3 of 7 Old 03-10-2010, 10:30 AM
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It all depends on the rider. Some move up quicker than others and some need a little more practice. I do agree with the above, some instructors will let someone who isn't quite ready to jump jump because that's what they want. I think the best instructors would keep you at your level though, and not allow you to get in over your head.

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post #4 of 7 Old 03-12-2010, 12:49 PM
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I started over-fences when I was about a year into taking lessons. It was the barn's policy, and something they made known upfront, that students could not start jumping lessons until they'd been taking flat lessons for at least a year. . .and, IMO, that was a great policy to have.

It makes me a little afraid for the students of trainers who rush them into jumping. Or, when the trainer knows the student really isn't ready to jump but "gives in" so that the student won't just go on to another trainer/lesson barn. There are plenty of ways to develop riding ability in flat lessons while still keeping it interesting and challenging.

When I used to teach riding at a summer camp, where the girls often came in with zero riding experience, there were some parents who honestly expected their precious young 'un to be jumping by the end of the two or four-week session. A few of them even went out and bought their child "show clothes" to wear to all of the riding lessons. So, when I said "Ummm. . .your daughter is terrified of being on a horse and has zero control in the saddle. . .no jumping for a while" they were less than thrilled.
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post #5 of 7 Old 03-12-2010, 01:40 PM
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It all depends on the individual rider, their confidence, how far they progress in certain time frames, etc.

I would personally wait until I can deal with anything on the flat, you'll have plenty of time to jump after you perfect you flat work so there is no need to rush into it. It's nothing but asking for trouble IMO.

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post #6 of 7 Old 03-12-2010, 01:49 PM
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It also depends on the teaching method. My early teaching background was all Litteauer mehtod. Normally my students were trotting over cavalleti in two point grabbing mane in 6 - 8 lessons, and jumping a little crossrail shortly thereafter. By the end of 20 lessons they usually could jump a little crossrail gymnastic with trot poles in front of the first cross rail.

HOWEVER, that was on a well trained, stabilized school horse, riding on loose reins with elementary aids and maintaining two point.

Following seat and following hand and arm was taught later, riding on contact taught after that, when they could shorten and lengthen the horse's stride at all three gaits (to ensure they could get the horse in front of their leg.)

Students jumped simple courses up to 2'6" on loose reins and in two point, then progressed to riding on contact around the turns and executing an elementary release three strides from the fence, to riding a course on contact and executing an intermediate release (crest release.)

I have read lots of opinions on this board that students should not be taught to jump until they've mastered following seat and hand, riding on contact, and simple lateral work. If they are riding a horse that's only been schooled by an intermediate or advanced rider, that's probably correct.

However, I can assure you that given properly trained school horses and a established method, it's entirely possible for beginners to jump safely and non-abusively within a few months and that this early exposure doesn't "ruin" them, set false expectations or do any other damage.
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post #7 of 7 Old 03-12-2010, 09:03 PM
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Eh. When I'm teaching, it depends on the student and the horse available. Within 6 weeks (typically 6 lessons), no.

When I was teaching full time, I was managing a farm where I had total access to 20 different lesson horses. I'd start kids out with the barebones balance exercises, lunge lessons, steering, independence of the extremities, etc for the first 8 or so lessons. If one student was picking it up really quickly and had the natural ability, I'd introduce trot poles and two point for leg strengthening and coordination. I only had two students that moved on to trotting low x's in the first 4 months, but they had been very natural riders, were conscious of their hands, and were able to control their body parts separately. Also, they were on excellent lesson horses.

With students that own their own horses, it was much different. Most of my students like these I was primarily teaching them how to get the most out of their own horse, and oftentimes how to train their own horse with my guidance. I really enjoy that, helping the person feel what is wrong and showing them how to fix it (via video sessions). I frequently get on the students horse mid lesson to show them how they are riding, and how they should be riding. It's very exciting to see that lightbulb go off in their head when I show them how they look and how it should be.... lol. Usually these people have too much to overcome to work as a team with their horse to start jumping at all in the first few months.

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