mental challenge with jumping - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 02-10-2013, 10:03 PM Thread Starter
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mental challenge with jumping

I have a rescued jumper who has past jump injuries and was handled possibly harsh by past owners. He has been cleared by the vet and chiropractor to do low jumps. Will jump over the jumps by himself but not with a rider. I have his trust but i am still lacking something. Any ideas on how to go about training to build his confidence.
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post #2 of 8 Old 02-10-2013, 10:09 PM
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How long have you had him?
What have you tried?
What sorts of jumps?

need a lot more info
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post #3 of 8 Old 02-10-2013, 10:34 PM Thread Starter
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mental challenge

Hi there! I have had Monte for 6 months. He is 12 and was on the show circuit here in Florida. He had some severe injuries, broken bones, cuts, etc. while he competed. He was abused physically and mentally (I'm sure) and starved down. Monte is a warmblood at 17 hands and when I got him he weighed 940 lbs. I started with the basics getting him to come to his name, extra long walks with grazing breaks, long grooming sessions daily and all the basics to gain his trust and respect. The jumps are 2 feet simple English jumps over normal pvc pipes. We play a game called follow the leader where I run and jump and he follows, at a safe distance, behind me. I run and jump over the jump and he does the same. He likes this game and follows me with every step I make from the figure eights to stop, walk and trots, to almost every thing you can think of. When I ride him he is great and very gentle. He is great until it comes time to jump. He either avoids the jump and starts acting up, like not wanting to listen any longer, or he takes the jump and tries to buck you off. It takes about 30 minutes to a hour to get him back on track. He has been cleared medically and the doctors think he is having like a flashback or something. Any suggestions besides time to get him past this.
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post #4 of 8 Old 02-10-2013, 10:41 PM
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Wow! He sounds like a great horse if he trusts you so completely to follow you around like that and even over jumps! Have you worked him over ground poles or tried smaller x jumps? 2 foot is a lot to expect given his past circumstances. I am no horse trainer, but I would think you should retrain him to jump the same way you would train a horse who has never jumped before.
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post #5 of 8 Old 02-10-2013, 10:50 PM Thread Starter
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mental challenge

Yes, Monte is a great horse. You have a great point on retraining him. I have landscape timbers, 8 of them, laid out and we go over them during "follow the leader". I think I will try jumping very, very low jumps tomorrow and see if that might be the solution. Reprogram him. I thought that 2 feet was simple to him compared to what I was told he use to jump. But yes maybe ground zero you might say is where I need to start. Thank you.
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post #6 of 8 Old 02-11-2013, 10:27 AM
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I completely think he's been traumatized! The fact he has such a major reaction to jumping and it takes you that long to get him back on track speaks HUGE of bad things that have happened to him!!!! If jumping is something that you want to do with him then take it S-L-O-W!!!! Have you tried him out of the ring? See if he has the same reaction to jumping something on a trail ride or in a field. I would try a very light hand before and after the fence ( try not touching his mouth over and on the other side) and stay off his back on the other side for at least a stride of two. If he jumps it then do something constructive when he lands. After staying off his back for a stride make him do a circle or a figure 8, do downward and upwards transitions. Give him immediate jobs to do that he is good at and you can praise him for. I would definetly try out of the ring first. KEEP US POSTED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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post #7 of 8 Old 02-11-2013, 10:43 AM
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I've been working on getting through a mental block my mare has. When I had her years ago she would jump like a dream. Loved it. But when I moved away I don't know what happened, I suspect she was ridden in a harsh bit and caught in the mouth a lot. She had just completely shut down. I couldn't even get her to walk over a pole on the ground when I started riding her again.

When I ended up doing is the same as you are, playing follow the leader. She will follow me over anything including jumps.

When it was time to work under saddle I would just put poles in random places around the arena and we would walk and trot over them, eventually cantering. I made sure to make a big deal out of going over the poles. I carry sugar cubes in my pocket while I ride. So when she went over a few poles I would stop and give her a sugar cube.

Once she was confident with this I would put up a small cross rail and have the poles, trot in front of the cross rail, past the jump and praise. Then trot over the cross rail. The biggest thing is making sure its not a big ordeal, you don't make a big thing out of prepping to go over the jump. Its just "okay lets go" as you trot around. She goes over the jump and I keep her going over some poles then take a walk break, sugar cube.

It was a long drawn out proccess that took me a few months. As time went on I would add more cross rails, bump them up to small verticles and keep going. I would cut back on the sugar cubes obviously, she would do a grid then get one when we went back to walk. Then worked up to courses.

I just had to make sure every time she did it correctly there were big praises. Also I know a lot of people will roll their eyes at this, but I refused to smack her with the crop when she stopped. I would just go "okay fine" I would stand her in front of the jump for a minute let her realize its not a monster then circle away and she always would go over after that. Now obviously if i'm getting some dirty nasty stops that are just simply "no I don't want to" I would give her a tap with the crop and go right back at the jump.

The most important thing is make sure you are 300% commited. No second guessing, no letting yourself go "ugh hes going to stop I just know it". You go out, keep your leg on, keep your eyes up and focused on something on the other side of the jump and commit yourself and your horse completely. Because of his lack of confidence he needs his rider to be confident. Another thing is don't go into two point two strides away. You go into two point AS he is taking off and release over the fence and keep the release until all 4 feet are on the ground. You need to guide him and hold him into the fence but never ever ever catch him in the mouth on the landing or your progress will go back a step.

Like I said it took a long time but a year later I have her confidently jumping 3'3 jumper courses and we are going to start cross country this summer.

Good luck!
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post #8 of 8 Old 02-13-2013, 08:37 PM
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Barter- let me know how it works out.
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