Some problems we've run into. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 02-03-2011, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Ashburn, VA
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Question Some problems we've run into.

I just want to start off by saying that I don't want this to become a hate thread, or whatever, I know they tend to do that lol. Anyways lets get going shall we?

My guy is a 7 year old, never raced TB, who I have completely trained myself thus far. Last summer we finally got up to jumping 2'6". I haven't jumped hardly at all this winter, mainly because the arena has been as hard as a rock, and because we've run into some problems. Towards the end of the summer/early fall, he started rushing the jumps. Now mind you, when we jumped the 2'6" I had him going over that for about a week, and I was satisfied, so we moved back down to work on more gymnastics and flatwork, which has come along very nicely. Not only has he started rushing, but he's jumping too dangerously close to the right standard of the jumps. I can get him there as straight as a needle, and he takes off crooked. Not even the stride before the jump, literally jumps crooked lol. He's perfectly straight in all his flatwork/over poles and crossrails (most of the time) There is another girl at the barn, who is quite the accomplished rider, and it shows in her own horse. She wanted to get on him the other day just for fun, and took him over a 2'6" jump, (he ducked out twice, probably because he hadn't seen one that high in a while, but just the fact that she was able to get him over it amazed me.) It probably wasn't the best idea, but it happened. He was rushing and jumping crooked beforehand anyway. All I want to know, is if you guys have had any experience dealing with this. Mainly the jumping crooked part lol. The last time I really jumped him was a few months ago, and my foot took one of the standards down. (Not fun) I'm gonna have my mom contact one of my old trainers, who I adored, but we haven't had the finances to have any lessons lately, so I've been kinda on my own. Which is why I've backed down and haven't tried anything new. I know the normal canter poles, and transitions, but those just don't seem to help. He even rushes when we canter over ground poles, just doesn't go crooked lol. Ramble over lol. Thanks guys :) If you have any other questions that might help you figure it out more, don't be afraid to ask.
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post #2 of 10 Old 02-03-2011, 06:23 PM
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Any chance he tweaked something in his back or hip? The fact that the crooked takeoffs and reluctance to jump came on so suddenly suggest it may be pain related. Has that avenue been investigated?

You just have to see your don't have to like it.
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post #3 of 10 Old 02-03-2011, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
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Hmm, I guess I never thought about that. He hasn't injured himself that I'm aware of, of course he could have done it while romping through the field lol, but do you think it would only show up while jumping? And it's only over verticals/oxers, not crossrails, cavaletti, or natural jumps (i.e. ones with out jump wings) Either way that's definitely a possibility. I'll see if I can find a chiropractor in the area. If anyone else has a suggestion, let me know :)
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post #4 of 10 Old 02-05-2011, 05:42 PM
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After you have ruled out a physical problem with his back or hind end.. or front feet etc. have someone check his teeth and his eyes. The fact that he jumps oxers and verticals crooked but not Cross Rails (regardless of height?) sounds like something happened that has messed with his confidence. It could be something as small as getting banged in the mouth on a take off (you might not have noticed it, but he did sort of thing).

You probably know this but in case you do not.. when a horse jumps he cannot see the fence. He takes off based on what he remembers seeing because at that point he cannot see the fence. A horse that is confident and who is experienced can figure out the mistakes but a green horse not so much.

I suggest you go back a few steps.. lower the jumps and work on cross rails and in and out bounces etc. cavaletti.. take him back to where he is confident and then work back up. This might mean jumps 12 inches high.. but if that is what it takes then so be it.

OTOH if he has deteriorating eye sight, he may not be able to see what he is doing on oxers and verticals and so is trying to keep the jump in sight to jump it. That would explain jumping crooked.. but you need to have his eyes checked to figure that out (if you can).

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. ~Winston Churchill
(or woman!!!! ) Dinosaur Horse Trainer
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post #5 of 10 Old 02-05-2011, 06:12 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Ashburn, VA
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We contacted one of my old trainers today, waiting for her to get back. I'm going to see what she says, and if she recommends a chiropractor or whatever he needs. My old horse used to see a chiropractor, but it was so long ago, and I was young, so I don't remember why lol. Today I set up a bounce type jump, with that type of distance, and used ground poles instead of crossrails like usual. I walked, then trotted, then tried it at a canter, and he went a little crooked in, but was straight coming out annnnd was super fast still. So I spent probably 45 mins trotting nice and straight and slow. If that's what I have to do, then that's what I gotta do =/.

And yes, I did know that they cannot see the fence as they jump it, but thanks anyways. :)

He is due soon for his yearly vaccines, so I can have the vet check his eyes out then, I really hope it's not that. I haven't noticed anything else that might have to do with his eyesight, but who knows.

And he is a very touchy boy, so I wouldn't doubt the whole confidence thing, but I do always try my best to give as much of a release as possible (even when he is rushing) I do understand that I could have made a mistake a few times though. I'm not perfect, but I want my boy to be able to do his job :)

Also, does anyone know if changing a saddle's gullet to a size up (one that has the fancy interchangable system :P lol) would make the wither clearance lower? I have a Collegiate Diploma saddle that has that, and I wondered if that could be part of it, maybe it's too small, but it clears his withers just enough now, so I didn't know. Thanks a bunch! I talk a lot :P
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post #6 of 10 Old 02-05-2011, 09:19 PM
Green Broke
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It sounds like you are looking at everything you can. It COULD be the saddle... is there a way you can work him bareback (I used to ride bareback a lot back in the Cenzoic when I was young if I thought the saddle was an issue... Pliohippus worked best without tack... LOL).

Rushing fences is usually a balance issue.. and taking the horse too far too fast (every horse is different.. and laying more foundation never hurts). Of course too far too fast for the individual (you say he is touchy) can cause all kinds if trouble in addition to rushing fences. Balance and ability to to collect and extend is super important for a horse that does jumping.. and you cannot work on that too much. Do you have any hills where you live? Can you get him out and trotting up hills three days a week (in better weather if you are in the north like I am). This will improve his musculature and help him to be able to collect as he takes off to jump.

It is hard trying to write out a problem with a horse and harder still to interpret that problem and the knowledge and skill level of the author. I throw in everything I can think of because I don't know the skill level.

If I say something too basic I am just trying to cover all bets.

I am sure you try to ride so as to support your horse. I have riding many thousands (sic) of miles and I can tell you that I am neither a perfect or polished rider. My job was mostly to take untrained (never backed) horses and train them.. lay a foundation so that the next owner could take them on in a discipline.

I did train my personal horses for dressage and then went on applying those same principals in western training. I also trained a field hunter and fox hunted with her. My personal horses were often used to pony and help with the untrained horses so they had to be able to do anything I asked.

Here is another wild thought.. have you ever followed another horse that is calm and well trained over fences with your horse? Sometimes following another horse will help yours gain confidence.

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. ~Winston Churchill
(or woman!!!! ) Dinosaur Horse Trainer
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post #7 of 10 Old 02-17-2011, 12:17 AM Thread Starter
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So I had a lesson yesterday technically. I'll post the video from it (I just got a camcorder ) It's not really up for critique, since that's what I have the trainer for lol, but you can definitely see what I mean by the jumping crooked. Towards the end you can see the difference (hopefully. i know i can at least, and it was much slower) My trainer hopped on after I rode and showed her what I thought was wrong. She was such a big help, I love her :') I don't like many trainers, but her and I get along really well, plus she likes my horse ;) so that helps haha. Anywho, after seeing what she was doing, I got back on and viola, hopefully the problem is solved. Just need to keep practicing. Turns out it was just the way I was riding. That's okay though, it's always the riders fault, right? ;)

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post #8 of 10 Old 02-17-2011, 12:33 AM
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Hey there! I can see what you mean and he even does it minimally over the cross poles.

He is just very very stiff in general. Have a look at the video at about 2.35 where you are just cantering along the fence, his whole shoulder/neck complex is stiff and outwards facing rather than supple and slightly inwards facing.

I think lots and lots of flatwork encouraging a nice soft bend on both sides will improve his form over fences incredibly. He can't change direction when he is in the air, it is the last departing stride where he is pulling to the right and he may be nursing it for some reason.

It may be worth having a chiro take a look at him but often these types of things are often solved by lots of exercises that promote flexion and suppleness and not necessarily over fences.

Good luck!

All horses deserve, at least once in their lives, to be loved by a little girl.

Last edited by sarahver; 02-17-2011 at 12:38 AM.
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post #9 of 10 Old 02-17-2011, 02:28 AM
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I didn't read the responses as I really should be getting to bed.

Take him back to a level he is comfortable with and build back up again. If that is 1' jumps so be it, and if he is doing those ok, but starts making a mess of them towards the end of the session take it smaller still, so you can end on a good note.

As he gets comfortable build back up, and if you encounter the same problems again repeat this whole thing.

If you don't already you might want to introduce some ground poles with proper placement in front of the jump so he can see his distances a little easier. Also it can be helpful to rest a pole on each side of the jump and having it come out to the side, I am not explaining that well, but make it like a shute so he is not tempted to run out. Be positive in your commands approaching the jump and be prepared for a run out, and just don't allow it. If you are anticipating you can see the warning signs of the shoulder movement before his legs actually make the move.
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post #10 of 10 Old 02-17-2011, 03:56 AM
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having no particular experience with jumping horses as i mainly deal with reining, leisure & cattle horses, i'm not too sure if this'll work, but it's logically driven and follows the concepts of most good training programs. what i can suggest is, whenever he rushes, regardless of where he is in relation to the jump, ask him to stop & backup. not stop and then backup, stop & backup. and when he goes crooked to the right, next time you approach a jump, when you feel him starting to get crooked to the right, ask him to go around the left side of the jump.

this should help the horse find a balanced point of "straight in the middle" (whenever he turns right, you turn left) and help him balance out his speed (whenever he gets rushed, you go slow/stop&backup)
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jumping crooked , jumps , rushing

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