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Jumping a younger green horse

This is a discussion on Jumping a younger green horse within the Jumping forums, part of the English Riding category
  • Jumping exercises to help green horse
  • Exercises for green jumping horse

 
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    05-09-2011, 10:09 AM
  #11
Started
One thing that I find really helps greenies is to set up gymnastics with the fences all spaced perfectly so that you can go into 2pt and let him figure it out. As long as you are balanced coming into the combination, the beauty of a gymnastic is that it does the work for you and sets the distances for the horse. This means you can go into a 2pt earlier and let the horse figure it out - because it's spaced properly so that it essentially takes away the options of how he is going to jump.

Equisearch.com has some great articles on gymnastics and some great exercises to do with a green horse.

As for helping a horse out - while I certainly can and will help a horse out, I will also do a lot of exercises to give my horse the ability and initiative to think/figure it out for themselves. There's a great article on equisearch by jim wofford that discusses this and I know for me, I want a horse that if we do hit a bad spot or I make an error, the horse knows how to get out of a sticky situation. If the horse is trained to always rely on me, that means I have to be 100% perfect - and while that's a nice goal to have, not even the pro's are 100% perfect all the time. We all make mistakes. By allowing my horse to learn how to balance and jump without constant help from me i'm giving us both the ability to get out of trouble in a sticky situation imo. I know it's done wonders with my jumper when we are out hunter pacing and have an awkward distance or bad angle or the footing is less than ideal that he knows how to get it done, and he knows i'll do everything I can to help and if we're in a tough spot that i'll let him do his thing and I will get out of his way :)
     
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    05-09-2011, 10:13 AM
  #12
Yearling
Thanks CJ82SKY! I was actually going to set up gymnastics tonight to try with him. Ill check out that website to get some ideas.
     
    05-10-2011, 11:52 AM
  #13
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ82Sky    
one thing that I find really helps greenies is to set up gymnastics with the fences all spaced perfectly so that you can go into 2pt and let him figure it out. As long as you are balanced coming into the combination, the beauty of a gymnastic is that it does the work for you and sets the distances for the horse. This means you can go into a 2pt earlier and let the horse figure it out - because it's spaced properly so that it essentially takes away the options of how he is going to jump.

Equisearch.com has some great articles on gymnastics and some great exercises to do with a green horse.

As for helping a horse out - while I certainly can and will help a horse out, I will also do a lot of exercises to give my horse the ability and initiative to think/figure it out for themselves. There's a great article on equisearch by jim wofford that discusses this and I know for me, I want a horse that if we do hit a bad spot or I make an error, the horse knows how to get out of a sticky situation. If the horse is trained to always rely on me, that means I have to be 100% perfect - and while that's a nice goal to have, not even the pro's are 100% perfect all the time. We all make mistakes. By allowing my horse to learn how to balance and jump without constant help from me i'm giving us both the ability to get out of trouble in a sticky situation imo. I know it's done wonders with my jumper when we are out hunter pacing and have an awkward distance or bad angle or the footing is less than ideal that he knows how to get it done, and he knows i'll do everything I can to help and if we're in a tough spot that i'll let him do his thing and I will get out of his way :)

This is some really fabulous advice!! Thanks for posting that CJ! I'd have to agree. There is debate among a lot of trainers as to whether or not you should always help a horse to the right distance or let them figure it out. The problem is I've seen a lot of horses that do NOT handle it well when you miss. And how many riders are 100% accurate? It can be very difficult to teach a horse that all is well in the world if they can't take a mistake. While I do believe in setting a horse up for success I think you can teach a horse to get out of a tricky situation and be more tolerant by letting them think things through themselves.
     
    05-10-2011, 12:06 PM
  #14
Started
Upnover - I agree, esp in letting the horse make mistakes and learn and build confidence. The key is letting them learn this over smaller/lower fences and gymnastics so that they are never overfaced and have the confidence to get out of a sticky situation when need be. Just think of steeplechasers...

A great example of this was last fall on a hunter pace coming on a HUGE easily 3'6"+ and just as wide if not wider downed tree that was cut to a tabletop. Uphill, with a ditch on the landing side before continuing uphill, after days of hard rain with wet, sloppy footing. First time on this pace course and I had a student on my one mare in front of me bc sky was bucking and I didn't want them getting kicked. Student didn't realize the size/spread of the jump and mare was game and took it ok for her (fortunately the mare knew what to do without waiting for my student to help). I didn't see the jump til the mare took off - a half stride in front of me. No room to circle or collect, I "hail mary"-ed it. Safety 2 pt, threw my horse the reins and said here - do your thing and save us please. He hit all 4 legs solidly on the jump and scrambled HARD. I thought we were having a rotational fall - his nose hit the ground but thanks to my solid position and his athleticism, he kept his feet under him miraculously and came out of it upright.

In that situation had the mare waited for the rider, they would have crashed. Had sky waited for me, we would have likely had a rotational fall bc I had no time to prep for the jump since i'd never seen it before and had no idea it was there nor did I know the size, with, scope, or ditch on the landing side. Both of us, and my mare and student, all came out solidly. Because my horses are trained to listen to me on course when I tell them, and know that if I don't get in their way and don't tell them anything specific, that means it's up to them. They have initiative, because I let them have it and encourage it, and train them to know when to use it, and when I am asking for something specific.

Here's the jim wofford article that put in words how i've always been taught to train... worth the read: http://www.equisearch.com/horses_rid...g_lives_051408

And then another one about the effects of the short format and dumbing down not just our horses, but our riders as well - sad, yet true. And everything I strive NOT to be! http://www.equisearch.com/horses_rid..._format_122308

Enjoy!
     
    05-10-2011, 12:20 PM
  #15
Yearling
Thanks..I did gymnastics with him last night. I set up 4 cavelettis, to 2 bounces then to 2 1 strides. I started out having him trot 2 cavelettis then and had poles on the ground where the bounces and 1 strides were, and just trotted down the whole thing a few times. Then I slowly added everything together. He was a little rushy through the cavelettis, because he had to trot them then pick up a canter for the bounces..so he was anticipating a little. But by the end he started to get the idea and we ended on a good note.

He's a really good horse that tries and listens really well. He likes to learn, so he is pretty easy to ride and he catches on pretty quick.
     
    05-10-2011, 12:25 PM
  #16
Trained
Excellant posts CJ!
     
    05-10-2011, 04:50 PM
  #17
Trained
I do agree with letting the horse figure it out, but when the horse is new to jumping, I like to optimize his chances of success with the aforementioned gymnastics. Like CJ82Sky said, set up grids with perfect spacing and your only job is to get him to it straight with good impulsion, stay out of his way, and let him figure it out. Once he's really confident with where his feet are, then face him with single fences. I've noticed that, particularly at faster speeds, horses are usually pretty accurate when left to their own instincts. Glad I didn't have to find that out over a fence like CJ82Sky did!
     
    05-10-2011, 08:13 PM
  #18
Started
Glad I knew my horse was trained to jump both at speed and with initiative! I knew that going into the pace, because you bet i'd never pace or xc a horse that didn't know how to get out of trouble!!! I just wish I had known the jump was even there ;)
     
    05-13-2011, 11:17 AM
  #19
Green Broke
LOL!! Yikes CJ!! I can't imagine doing a hail mary over something that's not going to fall down if I happen to crash through it! Yes, I know a horse can have a rotational fall over a set of poles and cups but still. A very very good reason to teach your horse to think for himself!
     
    05-13-2011, 06:04 PM
  #20
Foal
I admire you!! I do the same with my 4 year old tb!!
     

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