TB has anxiety when Jumping - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 8 Old 02-21-2013, 04:00 PM Thread Starter
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TB has anxiety when Jumping

Hi I am new to the forum (And I think I may have posted in the wrong place) sorry! but I have been searching high and low for some help with my 9 year old TB. I have had Lightning now for 3 1/2 years he came to me some what trained but nothing official. I have been working with him for the past 2 years on starting to jump. He did fairly well at first but more recently (this past spring and summer of 2012) he started with a fear of the poles. Poles on the ground, Poles next to the jump distracting him from the jump itself. Even when we are not jumping and working on the flat if we ride past a pole he looks at it like its going to attack him. God forbid there is a pile of poles on the ground between the standards. He stops dead... scared.
Now I can work him through this in my lessons with my trainer, and by the end he is jumping all the cross rails and the small verticals with no problem. Then we go back the following week for another lesson and we are basically back to square one. He is a cute jumper and would be good if we could just get him over his fear.
One thing that may have affected him is that this past spring he was stepping over a cavaletti and hesitated, he pulled his foot back and hooked the pole and drug it with him around the field that I ride in at home. (The scary pole basically chased him all over) I fell off and he had a nasty cut from it. He panicked... I don't know how to get him over his fear.
Thanks for reading and any insight you may have.
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post #2 of 8 Old 02-21-2013, 04:11 PM
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Horses spook at stuff. With your guy, it's apparently poles on the ground.

The only thing you can do is continue to work with him. He may never completely get over it, though. I have a gelding who has a meltdown at round bales out in hay fields.

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post #3 of 8 Old 02-21-2013, 05:38 PM
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It may be time to do something else with him outside of the arena.
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post #4 of 8 Old 02-21-2013, 05:41 PM
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I would advise riding over poles every time you ride, until it becomes common, and he has so many god experiences it counter acts the one bad one.
even if you just walk over the pole at the end of your ride
Good luck !
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post #5 of 8 Old 02-21-2013, 06:08 PM
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I would throw poles at random all around the arena and just keep working him over and around them.
I would lay odds that he is not afraid of them but using them as an excuse to mess around.
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post #6 of 8 Old 02-21-2013, 06:22 PM
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I would drag a pole up to him and be able to release and put pressure on him with it. Going back and forth and understanding when to stop and not scare him. This is where the natural horsemans type training might benefit and when to put pressure and when to release is very important. I would watch some Monty Roberts or and of those type of videos that will show you what and what not to do, Do it on the ground first and then under saddle. If it was the chasing him that scared him that is the fear that you need to conquer.
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post #7 of 8 Old 02-21-2013, 10:49 PM
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You can also try longing him over the poles- If he knows how to lunge. This may look messy in the beginning, but he will Quickly figure out what you want from him....start with 1 pole on a circle. At the trot.....be patient if he's anxious, fast or trys to drag you....stay with him and just keep bringing him back to that circle.When he finally goes over it nicely,( that could be a while) praise him, and stop that lesson ....go do something else fun with him. ... Next day, repeat until he is stepping over them without changing his rhythm, then praise and go work on something else...., Eventually you can add a second pole across the circle if he's doing great...still work at the trot. Again, When he is going over them calmly like they're just another stride, praise him and end the exercise. When he is confident and calm with the lunging sessions Then do this exercise on him in large circle! I would do this every day until he is bored and no longer so upset by poles!!
Just remember to reward him by ending the exercise sessions as soon as he shows signs of relaxing over them.that is key! Good luck
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post #8 of 8 Old 02-22-2013, 02:49 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for all the suggestions. I am going to try to lunge him over the poles for a bit. My guys live at my house so what we mostly do is trail ride and out side arena stuff.. I think that may be the problem... not enough time in the arena. We have to trailer to the lessons at a local arena.
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