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This is a discussion on MY HORSE IS SCARING ME! within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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    07-16-2007, 10:20 PM


Most of you guys have seen Halicou' pictures. He is 5yo and lately I have been training for a Gamblers day this weekend which is Sghowjumping and X country combined. Last Pony Club I was allowed to take him out on the X country course by my self and to see how he goes. The first jump was a Big Round Log on the ground it jumped real nicely, and we got to the 7th jump which is stituated up a hill. He has never been the one to get exicted over anything, or go out of control up a hill. But he did! We were cantaring pretty fast up to it and I was in Two point so I sat back down to steady him cause the half halts weren't doing much. So 10 m up to the jump he was cantaring real slow , and kind of bouncing off his front legs. They were atleast 60cm-80cm high, not exacely rearing. Ever sense that particular jump he has turned jumping into a fearful thing. I have watched the olympics and the big Showjumpers do that coming up to the jump-except he is 5yr and he hasn't done much Showjumping or crosscountry. He never done that in SJ but now he does! I have a comp this Sunday (4 days) and I need to get him under control! It might be the feed I don't know! I am riding him in a Baby egg but snaffle (has a smaller ring/eggbutt)
Please I need HELP!
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    07-17-2007, 11:24 AM
May I asked if you ever have done a jump uphill, or was this the first time???

That bouncing may have occured because the horse could not make sense of what that obstacle is. You jump you know how they have to move their heads to see better...

How did you start preparing your horse for that obstacle?
Or did you just try to see if he does it?

Is it you that is sccared or is it the horse? Do you maybe project your fear onto the horse?

Backsteping is the solution, build him up again, and yourself, too.
On all obstacles!
    07-17-2007, 11:31 AM
As Haflinger said, I don't think there's a quick and easy solution. Training is always a progression of small steps introducing one thing at a time and building their confidence. From the description, your horse seems unsure; seems like a case of too much too fast. Take him back a few steps. If you miss a comp, its not the end of the world.
    07-17-2007, 10:56 PM
To answer some questions:
Yes I have done up hill jumps before, the comp that I am going to is only a local unoffical event-nothing big at all. I go to all the little things and don't start pushing him to higher levels until he is ready. I always train higher than I already am. Say I am doing Prelem Dressage test I am training at Novice level, it may take longer but I get better results! He defintally knew what the jump was, we have done so much training over trot poles, and lil jumps and slowy graduating to a reg Showjump course. My opion and many others are saying that he is excited, and really enjoys jumping and his reation to this is leaping in the front ----- liturally jumping out of his skin. I know I am not moving too fast!
    07-18-2007, 09:45 AM
I still think he is trying to adjust his eyesight to be able to get the right stride to make that jump.
Ever jump is different.. and sometimes horses have to bounce to be able to see what is in front of them...
Jumping is jumping, horses have to see the obstacle correctly to be able to adjust their stride and jumphight to it.

What you didn't tell, didd he pull towards the jump or away?
Did he act like he wanted to tackle that jump or not?
    07-18-2007, 11:23 AM
Originally Posted by Eventer Gal
My opion and many others are saying that he is excited, and really enjoys jumping and his reation to this is leaping in the front ----- liturally jumping out of his skin. I know I am not moving too fast!
Could very well be:P
    07-19-2007, 12:36 AM
Yer that's I what I thought thanks sara! 8)
    07-19-2007, 12:13 PM
Nervous rider equates to nervous horse, no matter how young or how seasoned. Take a step back and relax. Take him over some jumps that are really simple and maybe do some flat work to build both of your confidence, then step up to what's giving you a hard time.

Just relax relax relax, and your horse will calm down and stop anticipating. And be safe - if you really think that the situation is escalating to the point of being dangerous, quit and come back when you're both calmed down and better prepared. There will always be another chance, but if you get reckless and risk your neck, you might have an injury that takes away your chances forever, be it for you, the horse, or both.
    07-21-2007, 05:41 AM
This sounds familiar to me. I had a wonderful gelding who I decided to start jumping. He was fine at home practicing over jumps, and he was fine the first few classes we did. About the fourth class he started trying to blast through the jumps, and it was very hard to slow him down. It was all because he got to the point where he greatly enjoyed jumping and was overly excited.

I got him over it by starting his warm up far enough before my class so that he had released some of his excess energy. I don't know about your pony club, but at my competitions, there was always a practice jump in the ring that we took turns over to warm up. I forced him to go extra slow over these jumps, and when he successfully listened, I'd allow him to move a bit faster the second time over it. I then alternated between jumping slow and fast and he soon began to listen to my cues like it was a game. 'Are we doing it slow, or fast?' He seemed to think, and it delighted him to rise to the task I asked him. I think this was because each time it was different, and the variety gave him something to think about and was fun for him.

This helped in class alot, because we sped up and slowed down between jumps depending on the strides in between and he learned that playing that game was much funner than blasting through the course.

With other horses who were over eager and got upset when I tried to slow them down, I would do this:

Instead of pulling back and attempting to check them in, I'd immediately circle them tightly a few times, ensuring that they didn't break gait. Its hard for them to keep up a fast lope and circle very tightly as it is alot of physical work. Most horses decided it was easier to go the speed I wanted instead of being forced into tiring little circles. Another method I tried and it usually works for me, is

A.Give them a few half halts to give them a chance to respond.
B. If they are not responding, hit the breaks!
C. Continue the backwards motion from a stop directly into reverse and back them a few feet.
D. Make sure you continue backing them until they give in to the bit with their body (I.E. Drop their head and get softer on the bit)

I usually have to repeat this a few times, but it has worked for me with excitable horses. Of course you probably shouldn't practice this in an actual competition, and if you are in the warm up ring look out for other riders. Another thing for speedy horses to try if they want to run, is to let them. When they tire and begin to slow, don't allow it. Keep pushing them to run until it is YOUR decision for them to slow. This makes them work for running fast, and teaches them that you are in charge of the speed, not them. This is a Bob Avila technique. Hope it helps.

This helped in class alot, because we sped up and slowed down between jumps depending on the strides in between and he learned that playing that game was much funner than blasting through the course.
    07-23-2007, 12:32 AM
Thanks heaps fireflight27!! You - I think is on the track. Anyway yesterday was my big day! We started off with X country and we did so well!! At the start I didn't overface him just stuck with a comfy height of 80cm, then gradually got heigher. The last five jumps I was jumping the heightest which was great!! The Showjump course was made up of alot of verticles so I took them very steady allowing him to be light in the front and aware that the jump in front of him was acually quite hard to jump rather than spreads. We had a clear round with no faults and clocking 2secs away from the ideal time.

****** WE CAME 2nd OVERALL******
Considering Halicou' was the youngest horse in my group by twice his age!! All the rest were expirenced jumpers.

Anyway I was very proud of myself---- and Halicou'

What ever he went through he is over now, I am thinking it was the feed!!

Thanks guys- and Horse Forum

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