How do I get my horse to stop knocking poles??

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How do I get my horse to stop knocking poles??

This is a discussion on How do I get my horse to stop knocking poles?? within the Jumping forums, part of the English Riding category

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    03-14-2012, 07:25 PM
Question How do I get my horse to stop knocking poles??

This is my first post on this website, so help me out if I'm doing anything wrong, posting this in the wrong place, etc.!

I have three TB's that I ride all the time, and I am training my newest one to jump (I have trained TB's to jump before, FYI). I started with lunging her over ground poles, which she did really well with... then we tried a little crossrail, which she just trotted over instead of jumping, but did it well. After a few sessions of doing this, I tried making the crossrail into a small vertical (about 1' 6", she's 16.2 hands and she could step over it if she wanted). Every time she goes over it, she knocks it down. She doesn't seem to care, or be trying any harder. She does jump it, but usally knocks it with her hind legs, and sometimes with her front ones.
I have the almost the same problem with a different TB of mine, but he's already past the groundwork of jumping (ground poles, lunging over jumps- I've free-lunged him over 4' jumps) but when I'm on him, he always knocks poles. He even knocks cavaletti when I try to jump him over them, and they're TINY!
Please help, I have no idea how to fix this! Well I have a couple ideas, like trying to jump them over solid jumps, but that could be very dangerous.... help!!!
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    03-14-2012, 10:16 PM
Im guessing it is a balance issue. Make sure you are staying out of your horses way, and not throwing your body up her neck [i don't know that you are doing this, maybe you could post some video ?]

Also, I would try a few trot poles up to a small jump to help balance her and get her to the right take off point.

I would also seperately work on cantering over single poles and poles spaced as bounces to help teach her where to put her feet.
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    03-14-2012, 10:19 PM
I don't jump a lot, but before the jump when your riding make sure you tap his shoulder. That tells the horse to pick up its legs. I do that with my horses, and they almost never catch.
    03-14-2012, 10:22 PM
You might want to try a small solid jump. Something they CAN'T knock over. A lot of times it's just a laziness issue.
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    03-14-2012, 10:24 PM
Originally Posted by kayleeloveslaneandlana    
I don't jump a lot, but before the jump when your riding make sure you tap his shoulder. That tells the horse to pick up its legs. I do that with my horses, and they almost never catch.
i would not do this. It does not tell them to jump unless you train them like that, which you don't want to unless you want to have to tap them before every jump !
    03-14-2012, 11:02 PM
Make sure you're taking your horses into the jumps with balance and impulsion or they may have trouble with even small jumps. Also, try using a placement pole/trot poles and adding leg right at the base of the jump when you want the horse to take off. That can encourage the horse to know its supposed to jump. Good luck!
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    03-14-2012, 11:03 PM
Oh also are you using pvc or wood rails? I would suggest wood if you're using pvc, it will fall if hit but the horse will have more respect for it than the plastic poles!
    03-14-2012, 11:12 PM
Originally Posted by Jumper12    
oh also are you using pvc or wood rails? I would suggest wood if you're using pvc, it will fall if hit but the horse will have more respect for it than the plastic poles!
This is a biggie! My boy always "tests" the first rail, if it's PVC and goes down easily then I play hell all day trying to get him to clear even the smallest jumps. But if the first is wooden or solid then he will do everything in his power to clear it every time!
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    03-15-2012, 01:13 PM
Thanks everybody for the help. :)
With my mare, I think I will try lunging her over some logs today. I am using wood poles, but they aren't very heavy, and she knocks them easily. There are some pretty big logs that I use for solid jumps sometimes, so I will try her over those later... I know she is just being lazy, so hopefully this will help. I haven't really tried jumping her under saddle, so it's not me getting in her way... however, with my gelding, it might be me.... I do have a bad habit of jumping ahead sometimes that I am trying to fix, but I usually don't do it, and the other two horses that I am training to jump have no problem jumping with me on their backs, so I don't think its a balance issue... my gelding is pretty off-balance as it is though, when I'm not on him...One time I was lunging him at a canter and he randomly fell over. He comes close to falling over a LOT, even when he's running and bucking in the pasture. So that's probably his problem...I can keep him pretty balanced when doing flatwork, so I would say he's just too uncoordinated for jumping, but one time I saw him jump a four foot gate, and I have free-lunged him over jumps that high...but half the time, he just knocks everything. When I take him out, I never know if he's going to jump 4' fences easily, or knock over a tiny crossrail. He confuses me! My mare, I think just needs to learn to respect the jumps and pick her feet up. She does very well over ground poles, and she knows where and how to put her feet, but I guess she is just too lazy to pick herself up over actual jumps. I will definitely lunge her over some solid jumps today, and maybe next time I ride my gelding,I will try him over some solid jumps. :)
    03-15-2012, 01:33 PM
You can fix jumping ahead by spending lots of time on the flat in 2-point. Close your eyes for a few seconds at a time and learn to feel your balance at the canter. Also, practice following your horses mouth with softness at the canter, again in 2-point. A lot of this is in your head. You don't really trust your horse to not run out, so you sit too long and throw your body forewards. Hope this helps! =D
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