When to start training for jumps? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 14 Old 07-01-2011, 08:26 AM Thread Starter
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When to start training for jumps?

So my little Duncan is a little over a year old now, and I would like to train him to jump. I was wondering if he's old enough yet, or if I should wait until he's two. I know that I need to wait before putting a saddle on him, since he's still growing, but I've never trained a horse from the beginning-- in fact, I've never even had a baby before!! So if any one has any tips in general for when to start training, that'd be great
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post #2 of 14 Old 07-01-2011, 08:03 PM
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you can certainly begin the training process and lay good ground work for your babys future at this point. What you need to remember is that a yearling does not have the attention span of an adult horse nor should they be worked like one. That means short sessions, 10 to 15 mins building up on skills. That being said get your baby used to as many things as you can now such as poles on the ground, tarps, standards, lounging getting used to having people touch him, brush him, pick up his feet, stand quietly, tying and if he is sensible enough maybe cross tying as well, basically anything that you would expect an adult horse to handle on the ground begin exposing your baby to them now. When my 3 yr old was a yearling we taught her to lounge, trailer, be saddled, we played with her mouth, feet, everything!! She could bath clip lounge trailer be saddled (with a bareback pad first and later a pony saddle) and even bridled though we never used the bit for anything. Basically the more they see and do now in a low stress enviroment the more mentally balanced and easier they are to work with later.

As far as actually starting jumping even on free lounging I wouldn't start till they are atleast 3.
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post #3 of 14 Old 07-01-2011, 09:16 PM
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hmmm, a bit too early, have to agree, three is probably a good age. You should probably train normal riding before jumping. A horse should balance and be confident with its own body before jumping. A one yr old will probably still have some wobbles. You can probably lead him over small poles or something if you can't wait, but do it at the walk, so he steps over it. If he leads in the trot you could maybe trot over them, but be very careful and don't ask for a jump, just stepping over. You should get him used to other stuff first, like luvsmygirls said. Get him used to anything riding-wise, or anything scary, and then think about jumping =)
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post #4 of 14 Old 07-01-2011, 10:17 PM Thread Starter
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Well, I have started all the basics with him. He stands to be groomed, stands for the farrier, clips (full body), loads, backs, and backs out of the trailer. He leads (walk and trot) and ties, and even ran around with my horse one afternoon while I was lunging her. I also made a platform for trick training, and he'll stand his two front feet on it when asked and will step off it when asked. I've walked him over a tarp once or twice-- he's a very brave and willing pony. I'm working on getting him to stand to be bathed; he really doesn't like that yet. But he's okay with being sprayed with fly spray.

I just didn't want to push him too hard or do anything that would be physically damaging since he's still so young. I've seen him jump over things in the pasture while running around playing, and he just looks so graceful! And I've seen videos of people jumping minis by running with them and I thought it'd be a fun exercise, even if my (future) kids don't have an interest in it.
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post #5 of 14 Old 07-01-2011, 10:38 PM Thread Starter
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He'll also let me wrap my arms around his neck and middle. I've leaned on him a bit, too, but not putting too much weight. Just getting him used to the feeling.
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post #6 of 14 Old 07-01-2011, 10:55 PM
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I would say congrats on doing what you did so far, but he's still too young for training at the jump. If you want to occasionally lead him over a small jump or a pole, go ahead, it won't kill him, but no jumper training yet =) You could also try some gymkhana stuff, maybe get him used to walking around barrels or doing some pole bending? It sounds like your guy likes to try new things, and as long as you don't overdo it I don't think there should be any health issues. You could also teach to lunge eventually and then (when he's older) lunge over jumps. Have lots of fun =)
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post #7 of 14 Old 07-01-2011, 11:02 PM
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You should wait until he is 4 or 5 before training him to jump at least. Anything before that is too early, and can hurt him.

You could lead him over poles on the ground though, or work him over ground poles once he is under saddle, so that he learns and understands to pick up his feet.
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post #8 of 14 Old 07-01-2011, 11:04 PM
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I can definitely understand the urge to get out there and get started with the jumping but the issue is that young horses are still growing and develpoing. Alot of horses don't stop developing in their legs until they are three or four sometimes later than that. On developing joints and ligaments and tendons the high impact stress of jumping can do alot of damage. You could seriously hurt your horses in the long run by rushing them now. Im not saying 100% you will hurt him but the more you do with high impact, high stress activities the more likely he is to hurt himself or develope soundness issues later in life such as arthritis and joint disease. No vet, shoer, trainer, or rider that I have ever talked to has reccommended starting a horses jumping before the age of 3 and most reccomend a vet visit with full xrays and leg examination to determine the horses developement before actually starting jumping training although I have never done that.
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post #9 of 14 Old 07-01-2011, 11:24 PM
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I would wait till about 2 to start training

***Edit***
Training meaning lunging over small crossrails not on a daily basis. At lease older than 3 to jump undersaddle
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Last edited by sullylvr; 07-01-2011 at 11:28 PM.
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post #10 of 14 Old 07-02-2011, 12:17 AM
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I am only just starting to jump my 6 year old, I believe 5 is the standard but I am a little anal and do not want to hurt my horse.
I would not even consider starting a yearling or two year old. It achieves nothing to rush it.


ETA - I want my horse to be a jumper, and I have waited.
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