Sloppy Knees?
 
 

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Sloppy Knees?

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  • How are a horses knees supposed to look over jumps
  • How to get your horse to tuck over fences

 
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    04-16-2010, 12:01 AM
  #1
Yearling
Cool Sloppy Knees?

Hi everyone!

My trainer has been telling me that my horse has only been picking up one leg over the jumps, which can be a pretty dangerous situation. I asked her today about what we could do, and the response I got back was, well, some horses are good jumpers and some are bad. This implies my horse is a bad jumper...

What I don't understand is that I have had my horse for FOUR years and have never had this problem. Yes, he does tend to be lazy with his legs, but I have pics of him where his legs are neatly tucked. So why is this just now coming up? *He has recently been checked and he is sound and pain free, nothing to worry about there!*

My trainer also told me that if we just keep him thinking, we should be good to go; I guess that means just keep him listening and paying attention.

Do you guys think this is something to worry about? After having him for four years and him NEVER injuring me, I find it hard to believe. Also, any tips for a situation like this? Has this ever happened to you?

Just thought I may add, he has jumped 3'9 before and tucked beautifully, so I don't completely understand this. We are planning on doing jumpers, and I just want to have fun with my boy! =] He has started wanting to pick up the pace and he keeps his attention better when we get to do those crazy courses...after all, riding is supposed to be fun; not like we plan on going pro anytime soon ;)

Thanks!
     
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    04-16-2010, 11:46 AM
  #2
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamrideredc    
Hi everyone!

My trainer has been telling me that my horse has only been picking up one leg over the jumps, which can be a pretty dangerous situation. I asked her today about what we could do, and the response I got back was, well, some horses are good jumpers and some are bad. This implies my horse is a bad jumper...

What I don't understand is that I have had my horse for FOUR years and have never had this problem. Yes, he does tend to be lazy with his legs, but I have pics of him where his legs are neatly tucked. So why is this just now coming up? *He has recently been checked and he is sound and pain free, nothing to worry about there!*

My trainer also told me that if we just keep him thinking, we should be good to go; I guess that means just keep him listening and paying attention.

Do you guys think this is something to worry about? After having him for four years and him NEVER injuring me, I find it hard to believe. Also, any tips for a situation like this? Has this ever happened to you?

Just thought I may add, he has jumped 3'9 before and tucked beautifully, so I don't completely understand this. We are planning on doing jumpers, and I just want to have fun with my boy! =] He has started wanting to pick up the pace and he keeps his attention better when we get to do those crazy courses...after all, riding is supposed to be fun; not like we plan on going pro anytime soon ;)

Thanks!
Combination are your friend!!!! My older horse really only picked his knees up for big jumps, and thought it wasn't worth the effort over low fences. We started doing combinations with him to teach him to lift up regardless and it helped us tons! There is a book "101 Jumping Exercises" GREAT book.

We would make combos like 3 bounces to a vertical, a trot in bounce to a one stride to a two strided oxer, etc. It really helps with the issues. Good luck! I wouldnt worry about it much as he isnt in pain and that's just his form. But you may be able to get him to tighten his form through work and combinations!
     
    04-16-2010, 01:32 PM
  #3
Banned
It would be very helpful to see photos of your horse over fences; and examples of what you consider nicely tucked, and what your trainer sees that concerns her.

I would also ask your trainer if this problem has gotten worse recently; which could indicate the horse is sore or has some sort of sub-acute lameness that has led to him hanging a leg.
     
    04-16-2010, 06:54 PM
  #4
Yearling
Yeah, I wish I could upload the pics, but most of them were taken from a photographer...so I don't have them digitally (and I don't know how to upload them )

Anyway, I know it's hard for me to explain to you without a reference, but what I consider his legs to look like when they are good is them even and brought higher up. I guess, according to my trainer, when they are bad he is only picking up one leg, almost like splitting them.

I don't mind pretty wise, like I said we just want to have fun, but I don't like being told he is a "dangerous" jumper. He has never once gotten us into an accident. I would like to ask my trainer this weekend if we can raise the jumps a bit, because I'm almost positive over the bigger jumps he will tuck better.

Maybe you guys can decipher what this means, but she said when she jabbed her spur into him he tucked...? Wouldn't that right there tell you he's just being lazy?

I have never been a timid rider, but with me being told that my horse could kill us both, that seems VERY exaggerated (I'm pretty sure it was an exaggeration, he is NOT that bad, but sort of a dramatic thing to say if you ask me )

And yes, I do ask my trainer these questions, but I want to see what you guys think!
     
    04-16-2010, 06:59 PM
  #5
Weanling
How high are you jumping now? How high were you jumping when he was tucked up nicely? Many horses just get sloppy over smaller jumps.

Do lots of gymnastics, just like ForrestGump said. Very beneficial.
     
    04-16-2010, 07:17 PM
  #6
Yearling
Well surprisingly, the photos I have of him tucking nicely are only around 2'3, but when we jumped anywhere from 2'6 to 3'9 I remember my trainer saying "He's jumping nicely now, we're going to start out the ride jumping big so he will tuck."

I guess I'm sort of frustrated with her, I feel like I'm losing confidence and she isn't making much sense...

And like I said, I don't see how he could be in pain, he just got his yearly check-ups and he went to the chiro recently as well. The chiro said his hocks and stifles were good to go, and he worked on his hips, neck, and back so, I don't see how he could be in pain. He acts fine, too.

I have another thing for you to decipher, she said if we "keep his mind busy" we should be good to go...?

Oh, just remembered, she said he isn't jumping straight; couldn't that be at least part of the reason he isn't pulling his legs up? (we're supposed to be working on straightness this weekend)
     
    04-16-2010, 11:45 PM
  #7
Yearling
Picking the knees up can often be an issue of roundness. If she's crooked or hollow, she's more likely to have sloppy knees. If you look at pictures of top jumpers, you will see that their neck is well rounded and their knees are tucked tight. Ex:



Now obviously it would be silly of me to say start jumping like a top professional, because for where most riders are at that isn't an option. However, this is an example of a horse that is well-rounded and thus knees tucked. A rounded frame carries a horse's weight better and creates that lift that frees up the legs to tuck. If she's crooked or hollow, her legs will be trying to balance more. She could also be lacking impulsion of the hind, which make it easier for her to "throw" herself over the jump instead of tucking and jumping.
     
    04-16-2010, 11:49 PM
  #8
Yearling
Thank you for your relpy Roro! I'm wondering if that could be the reason for my trainer using her spurs...usually we use them to encourage impulsion. Now to me this sounds kind of far-fetched, but I continue to be surprised everyday.
     
    04-17-2010, 04:31 PM
  #9
Banned
Dreamrider,

You need to be very precise in questioning your trainer and determining exactly what the issue is here. Here's why I say that: a horse that is lazy and doesn't get his forearm near or above horizontal, or gets his forearm up but leaves his cannons and below dangling over low fences is one problem, and a horse that hangs one foreleg, or leaves a foreleg behind is entirely another.

The lazy horse who doesn't bother tucking tightly over low fences can be managed and improved by gridwork and gymnastics, increasing fitness, careful use of ground lines and canter poles and schooling over solid obstacles. This horse will have occasional rails down and won't pin in a class over fences without an excellent rider, but is not a safety issue.

The horse that "splits' his forelegs, or hangs one leg or leaves it behind, even intermittently, can't be managed or improved and is unsafe. The reason they're unsafe is that 1.) the horse is not sufficeintly concerned enough about it's own skin to jump carefully 2.) there is a very high likelihood that if they catch a rail while jumping in this fashion, they will have a rotational fall - meaning they'll flip over. I would not jump a horse, ever, even over a crossrail in shallow cups, that I saw jump in this style more than one without extraordinary extenuating circumstances.

I, personally, am very particular about horse's jumping form and even more so in a horse intended for a junior or amatuer. If the horse doesn't reliably jump in good and safe form, even when put to a bad spot, (Everyone, even professionals, gets in wrong at some point. That mistake shouldn't have dire consequences.) I don't consider it a suitable horse for a junior or amateur riding over fences.

So, please get some clarity about exactly what the issue is that your trainer sees with your horse. Consider getting a thorough soundness exam to rule out discomfort as a cause. And do post photos if you can.
     
    04-17-2010, 08:00 PM
  #10
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamrideredc    
Thank you for your relpy Roro! I'm wondering if that could be the reason for my trainer using her spurs...usually we use them to encourage impulsion. Now to me this sounds kind of far-fetched, but I continue to be surprised everyday.
Just a complete sidenote, but spurs should be used for lateral movement only, not to encourage impulsion. If the horse isn't respecting your leg, then a quick swat with a crop behind your leg is the correct way to encourage impulsion. The crop also should never be used as a punishment... ever. ;D

I agree that bounces and combinations are the best way to perfect tucking and jumping techinque!
     

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