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post #1 of 6 Old 10-17-2012, 09:42 PM Thread Starter
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Hi everyone, before I ask my question I do want you to know I have never competitively jumped a horse, nor taken any jumpers classes so I am not here to upset anyone. My question is that it seems to be the common practice to not give the horse it's head when jumping over an obsticle, to me this doesnt make much sense. Wouldnt it be better to allow the horse a natural head movement during a jump? When watching footage of jumpers it just seems uncomfortable and not structurely sound to be jumping a horse this way. I would like to understand why it is done so. I love the jumpers sport and hope by this time next year I have my own horse to start training with, but I would like to know the reasoning behind the "tugging" on the head. Also I have seen some articles where some trainers do allow a free head, does anyone follow this practice, if so have you seen a better jumping style compared to the restricted?

Thank you all
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post #2 of 6 Old 10-18-2012, 02:18 AM
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there is no competent jumper rider on this planet, that sets out to restrict their horses head, neck, and ultimately their jump. I say the word competent, because there are plenty of ill trained and incompetent jumper riders out there.

With that being said, if a Prix level rider was "restricting" their horses jump in any way, they would cease to be competitive. So what you may think is restrictive, may simply be the way the horse has to be ridden. If I jumped my horse on a loose rein, he would immediately think that I dropped him. He jumps his most confident when he feels like someone's in the drivers seat!

Life seems mighty precious, when there's less of it to waste.
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post #3 of 6 Old 10-18-2012, 07:20 AM
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This makes me wonder what jumpers you're watching.....some people arent good or don't know what they are doing and don't release enough but many people do.
It may be possible that you are confusing contact with restricting. An automatic release is where you maintain contact w/the horse's mouth over the jump and have a straight line elbow-wrist-bit, this is not restrictive and doesnt hurt the horse.
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post #4 of 6 Old 10-18-2012, 07:24 AM Thread Starter
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[QUOTE=Poneigh;1723145]This makes me wonder what jumpers you're watching.....some people arent good or don't know what they are doing and don't release enough but many people do.QUOTE]

You may be correct, I may have just seen riders who are just beginning and do not ride correctly yet.
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post #5 of 6 Old 10-18-2012, 07:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oxer View Post
there is no competent jumper rider on this planet, that sets out to restrict their horses head, neck, and ultimately their jump. I say the word competent, because there are plenty of ill trained and incompetent jumper riders out there.

With that being said, if a Prix level rider was "restricting" their horses jump in any way, they would cease to be competitive. So what you may think is restrictive, may simply be the way the horse has to be ridden. If I jumped my horse on a loose rein, he would immediately think that I dropped him. He jumps his most confident when he feels like someone's in the drivers seat!

This. Also, a lot of upper level horses need to be "packaged" to effectively use their body at that height. Not restricted, but they can't be strung out otherwise they can't properly use their hind end to push off the ground. That's why many jumpers go in more of a dressage frame, they're more on their hind end to get a better quality canter, and balanced for a good turn. I'm showing a jumper right now that can fling himself over a 3" jump strung out on a loose rein but if I want him jump higher I need to power him up to the jumps and get him in a stronger canter.

Although, you will see some people who probably are trying to either control or balance their horse and simply can't, and they ARE restricting a horse's head.
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post #6 of 6 Old 10-18-2012, 07:44 PM
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Just to add to my previous post to... I remember a training technique a trainer I know uses is to purposely restrict a horse's head when they're first learning to jump. A horse jumps well using two things... 1) snapping their legs up and 2) jumping up and round with their body. Sometimes a horse can do both, often they do one or the other when they're learning how to jump. The explanation she gave me was: if you restrict their head they can't properly round their body and they're forced to snap their legs up. I see a myriad of problems using this technique. Especially bc it requires an auto release and if you hit your horse's mouth over the fence you're not doing him any favors. And I'd think you don't want to discourage the roundess of a horse's jump. BUT, it (along with a lot of training techniques I don't agree with) are out there, even with reputable trainers. And her horses go around surprisingly well and happily.. so.. you know. It's filed away in my head but probably not one I"ll ever use.
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