None of us want to hurt our horses, at least I hope not. Lol. I love Nelson with all my heart and I try to do my best for him. We may do things to them without us realizing the errors, but what makes us amazing riders, is when we find out what we've been doing wrong, we can face it, admit it and then proceed to fix it.
Well I think I know what I'm doing when I train Chinga to jump. But I don't want to push him to fast or to hard because I understand that if you push a horse to hard or to quickly you can scare them, hurt them, or even you can get hurt.
Now most people should know already how much I love and adore horses, Chinga in paticular. I also will never hurt Chinga deliveretly.
I'll do my best. I am not some phenom or high level rider/competator/trainer - I am just me, low level rider. I will do my best through what I've learnt and what I've gone through personally.
So I need your help. Can someone please answer all or some of the following questions.
Limit it to once a week. You don't need anymore than that. Studdies show that our horses take allot of shock when they jump - it starts from when the hoof hits the ground, and moves up from there through their ankles, cannon bones, ankles, shoulders.
1. How often should I jump him?- So how many times a week should I jump him.
We want to limit that. As Grand Prix Riders say - "A horse only has so much jump, why waste it" and I hold to that.
Protect, Prevent, Preserve.
We want longievity in our horses, while we keep them healthy through correct groceries, environment and conditioning.
Many GP Jumpers only jump once a week - because of this.
Try to not think of it as how many times can my horse jump a fence before he can progress. Think of it as, how much do we have under us training wise, and how well do we both go over that fence.
2. How many times should he be able to clear a bar at a level before we move the poll up?
Remember, the bigger the fence gets, the more strenuous it is for our horse - so make sure you have the essential building blocks under yourselves, conditioning and education.
20 minutes. No more. As Nuno Oliviera said *He was a phenom in the dressage world* "Better off to do it right in 10 mintues, than spending an hour doing it incorrectly"
3. How long should the jumping sessions go for?
If you ride for an hour, and 20 mintues is of jumping - then spend 40 minutes doing flat work.
4. What warm up activities do you suggest before we jump?
Dressage is the fundamentals to all aspects of riding.
I know Reiners who take Dressage Lessons, Barrel Racers - there are world champion barrel racers who take regular dressage lessons. And especially Jumpes. Jumping is Dressage with speed bumps. It is NEVER about the fence. NEVER! It is ALWAYS about the rhythm of the canter, how strait and balanced you both are.
I can sit here and go over what one should work on, and I can tell you what I do - but I am on a well rounded, been there done that mount - so what I would do differs from what one would do on a green mount.
What I would recommend is going to clinics. CLINICS!!!
That is where I learn the majority of what is under you.
Whenever a Clinitian comes to town - Olympic Level Jumpers and Eventers, Spanish Riding School Riders, Prix Saint George Competators - the list goes on - I MUST be there to learn.
We only get so many chances to learn from these greats, so when they come - I take those chances. Whether I am riding under them, or Auditing - it doesn't matter...education is education.
Then take home what you learnt from these riders, and apply it to your riding.
Also, Coaching. There is nothing better than having an educated eye on the ground who can help you. BUT be very picky on who you choose as your coach. Far too many out there who think they can coach, who really shouldn't be - so really do your studdies on who you choose to work with you and your horse.
Right now - I would really focus on Dressage for the majority. You want to accomplish the most important factors to riding first, before you start going over larger fences.
Find a good coach who can help you with flat work and incorporating small fences here and there.
Now, when you are jumping your cavaletti's and your x rails - which is what they should be, aside from trot poles - always incorporate dressage between the fences.
Lots of balanced circles, lots of balanced serpentines - then do a small x rail or cavaletti. Then again - lots of balanced serpentines and circles. Then again, another small fence.
You always want to be a supportive rider. A rider who knows how to sit and wait and allow their horse to do their job and who can aid their horses, not interfear or impede.
5. When training a horse to jump do I need to change my 2 point posistion at all to help the horse over the jump?
Again, I would highly recommend getting a coach.
You should always have 100 - 110 degree angles in your knees when you jump. You want to beable to stay off of your horses back to encourage them, while yet remaining functional in lifting, supporting and aiding your horse through your seat and your legs.
6. Do I need to change my stirrup lengths at all for when I train him to jump? (I'm preety sure the answer to this question is no but I just want to be extra carefull)