Teaching my horse to jump.. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 10-21-2013, 06:12 PM Thread Starter
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Teaching my horse to jump..

or at least trotting poles... :')

As some of you might know, I ride a friesian horse named Eefje.
She's almost 5 years old so I would like to start to do a little jumping thingies. Because I like that!
I KNOW friesians are not born jumpers, but this is just sad haha.

How can I motivate her for jumping?

First things first, trotting poles. She won't bother to lift up her feet. Even if there's just 3 poles. It's a coincidence if she NOT touches the poles. Because 9 out of 10 times she does. She trips over them, one time almost tripped so bad that she almost fell.
Yep. She's really clumsy with things like that.

I thought, let's try a (small) jump, maybe than she'll lift those **** feet of her. Sometimes she trots over it or in canter she makes a tiny little jump, or actually just a larger canter step(?) :')
Or sometimes she walks right through the jump like a bulldozer..

One time she decided to refuse. You know what she did? Not like all other horses stop right before the jump. Not like all other horses slip along the pole thingy. No, she runs right INTO the pole (the one that stands vertically, to hold up the jumping pole :') ). Next time I'll be prepared for that.. :')

So what am I looking for? Tips and tricks to motivate her and to improve her skills (which she don't have yet haha).
I think it's best to start with trotting poles? How do I make her pay attention to them? Because even if she tripped over them a 100 times, she still doesn't pay attention to those poles.
Or is this just a hopeless case :')

I hope to hear stories of you about horses that were just as hopeless as this, but now can jump pretty good :') Lol.

Yup my english sucks. And I don't know all the right words for everything, sorry for that! Hope it's a bit clear to you guys what I'm saying :P

Sorry! Bad english.. feel free to correct me (:

Last edited by Cherie; 10-25-2013 at 11:02 AM.
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post #2 of 24 Old 10-21-2013, 06:26 PM
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There was one horse I've met that needed to learn how not to drag her feet. The first thing we did was take her out to a hilly field that had some cacti plants, uneven footing, and a small (maybe a ft deep?) little ditch previously used for irrigation and lunge her in a wide circle. It was HER job to look out for the plants and be mindful of the irrigation ditch, just as it was our job to make sure things didn't get too crazy with her. She learned quickly that dragging her feet wasn't the solution of getting out of the work she was asked to do, but to pick up her feet, step over the ditch and the cacti plants, and still respond to us in order to be rewarded. The field was a pasture that had been left alone for aeration and regrowth, to be used again in the spring. So it wasn't as "dangerous" as it sounds in text. Lol.

Another horse, similar situation, took the next step of being lunged in a large circle with poles at the 12, 3, 6, 9 positions around the circle, instead of in a straight line. It translated well into his future as he became more aware of the poles and when to step. His progress gradually went from trotting a circle around us to working down straight lines of poles on a free lunge, then ridden (in a round pen set up like the lunge circle before, then in lines after he got good at that), eventually jumping. Took time, building blocks and patience to get him good at it.
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post #3 of 24 Old 10-21-2013, 11:30 PM
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Your english was fine!
You're right that they're not natural jumpers. But if she does make effort over small jumps then no, it's not entirely hopeless. Your mare sounds like a perfect description of my Saddle Horse gelding!! Sometimes when cantering, he'll definitely lift his feetenough to do an 18" but that's his limit, on a good day.
What would you do with Eefje if she puts a bit more effort in and gets about 2'? Do you have a trainer/instructor that could help you train her? If not, I would recommend taking at least one or two to get you started just to provide ideas.
What sometimes *sometimes helps my saddle horse (Patches) is to have three or four uneven cavaletti or trot poles with only one end raised so that they have to think about the different heights and where to put their feet.
What I did for my other pony is just taking her out on the trail and letting her jump natural objects. Go out -with a friend- and find some branches put at about half a foot to a foot, nothing big, and see if she takes a bit more interest in those.
Always wear a helmet when you're working with Eefje because it does involve jumping and considerably more of a risk with green jumpers.
Maybe spice up the poles a bit by painting them bright basic colors with even stripes so they don't blend in one solid color. Or make a small flower box about 6 inches high and put plastic flowers in it, that way it's something different. But don't make anything too scary!
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post #4 of 24 Old 10-22-2013, 04:07 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tips, I can try some!
Like lunging at 12,3,6 and 9 might help. That way it's not too hard for her haha.
Nope I don't have jumping lessons. I'm just a poor student and I'm already taking dressage lessons. (wich she and I need too haha).
Branches won't work, already tried.
Different heights might help, I'll try that.
I always wear a helmet :)

Maybe it works if I let her trot poles in freedom? Maybe it's easier for her without me on her :P

Sorry! Bad english.. feel free to correct me (:
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post #5 of 24 Old 10-22-2013, 04:36 PM
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Personally I'd get her thinking about her feet by lunging before riding her, I hated riding horses that tripped over their feet easily. By letting her work through poles on her own, without a rider, you can keep her focused on her feet too, 'cause she won't be picking up cues from you that may or may not be correct while you ride her.

One firm lesson I came away with was that everything on a horse should start and be pretty good on the ground before you get on them. If she's still tripping, without you riding her, it'll be a bit safer for you both if you're not on her back. At least from where I stand.

The path is different for you and me, but the journey begins in the heart.
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post #6 of 24 Old 10-22-2013, 06:12 PM Thread Starter
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Yea that's what I meant
Or maybe I can make something like this

(just a picture from google)

So she can trot in a straight line in stead of a circle with lunging?

Sorry! Bad english.. feel free to correct me (:
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post #7 of 24 Old 10-22-2013, 06:16 PM
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Oh! I'm sorry! I get it, I would definitely give her that exercise and see how she does. :)

The path is different for you and me, but the journey begins in the heart.
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post #8 of 24 Old 10-26-2013, 12:17 PM Thread Starter
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I just wanted to say: YAY there is hope!!
I did some freejumping with her today and it went GREAT.

First of all trotting poles, look how high those feet go. She really concentrated on those poles.

And when she didn't come out correctly(?) she corrected herself by taking a bigger step for the first pole.

THAT already amazed me, now we tried if she would take some jumps.. Look at the result:

Yea, those poles bite, better jump way to high over them

and then, check this out!

WOW! And I think she might even enjoyed it! Sometimes she jumped over it by herself. I didn't even told her to jump haha!
I think she could even go higher than this, but I thought it was high enough for now :')
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Sorry! Bad english.. feel free to correct me (:
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post #9 of 24 Old 10-26-2013, 12:38 PM
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I have zero advice on jumping but just wanted to say that is a very handsome mare!!!!!

If you ever find yourself in a fair fight, it's because your tactics suck. ~ Marine 1SGT J. Reifinger
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post #10 of 24 Old 10-26-2013, 12:46 PM
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All horses can jump, but you cannot force ability or desire into them. It would be like trying to force a not artistically inclined person through art school and wondering why they aren't the next modern artist. ANYONE can put a paint brush or pencil to a paper, but that doesn't mean they have the ability or DESIRE to draw.

I'd find a job your mare is good at! Maybe dressage? Or driving? If you want a jumper get a jumper! Also, you might be able to force her to "jump", but it won't last long. She will likely sour quickly and being having behavioral problems.
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