Legs over fences - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 01-25-2012, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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Legs over fences

Hi! So Mudpie and I are developing together as eventers, and we've both been improving drastically and rapidly of late except for his bad injury (fractured splint bone and encapsulated abscess) which is healing pretty well...

So here's the problem that I wish to address in this thread with our jumping: Mudpie's legs dangle, and he's not too good with his knees. Here are some pictures from a Hunter Pace in October. I know that neither of us are perfect, but please don't be harsh because I'm not asking for critique right now, and remember that we have improved immensely from this point:









So my question is: What can I do to help him with this? Specific exercises, etc.?

Feel free to comment on the studliness of the Studly Mudly. (:

Thanks!
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post #2 of 13 Old 01-26-2012, 04:35 AM
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Doing lots of grid work is going to help him pick up his knees- lots of bounces, one strides, etc. I think you two look really good. (:
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post #3 of 13 Old 01-26-2012, 06:46 AM
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Also getting open front boots will help him. When he knocks it he'll be able to feel them so the next jump he'll pick his feet up.
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post #4 of 13 Old 01-26-2012, 06:49 AM
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Except - don't use open fronts on XC. Always fully covered boots.
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post #5 of 13 Old 01-26-2012, 07:01 AM
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the biggest thing that will improve his jumping form is to work on the quality of his canter. A jump is just a canter stride, so if his canter coming into a jump is not balanced, there is no way his jump will be balanced.

As far as jumping exercises, setting a grid that ends with a low, wide oxer. You could do trot poles, cross rail, one stride to a verticle, one stride to a low wide oxer.
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post #6 of 13 Old 01-26-2012, 07:18 AM
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Grids and gymnastics, don't even jump single fences for a while.

You also really need to work on your own release; in none of the photos is he using his head and neck appropriately to balance. A head on or behind the vertical over fences is a bad sign, and an indication that the horse feels restricted and can't use its head and neck naturally. It can also certainly interfere with jumping form - strecthing forward with the head and neck helps free their shoulder to bring the forelegs up.

While your horse can certainly be considered to hang in front, he appears to be athletic and is compensating by just jumping higher with his body and giving the fences more air, so at this time and this height I don't feel that his form is particularly dangerous. I would not be going up in height until his form improves dramatically though.

While I like gyspy's comment about improving the quality of the canter, the thing that jumping horses need most is to really develop their ability to shorten and lengthen the canter in balance. This is what helps them cope with a bad distance safely. So in your flat work, work on developing three, clean, clear paces at the canter, then expand to five.

Grids and gymnastics work best as a teaching exercise for the horse jumped on a loose rein, with the rider in a stable two point, just supporting with leg. You do not want to "help" through a gymnastic, you want your horse to develop their jumping skill by figuring it out without you.

Good luck, he is a good looking rascal.

ETA: I apologize, I realize after re-reading that this was not in the critique section, and that you asked for help and exercises, rather than critique. So I hope the above was helpful, and heavily weighted on the help and suggestions, and lightly weighted on the critique.

Last edited by maura; 01-26-2012 at 11:00 AM.
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post #7 of 13 Old 01-26-2012, 12:01 PM Thread Starter
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No worries I don't mind your crit, Maura. I just didn't want a bunch of people going "You suck!" when that was not what I was asking for(: I found your assessment very helpful.

I have mixed feelings about open front boots. I get why I "should use them," but I've also heard that they can cause uneven pressure on the legs. And I do know to never use them in xc, so no worries. You must love his purple, though, right? ;] It's his favorite color.

When he recovers and we can start jumping again, I'll definitely focus on grids and gymnastics in our jumping.

Thanks!

I welcome any more input

The hills were bathed in moonlight, the shadows not so stark;
Silver light reflected off his brown hide as he held me in the dark
I love you, Mudpie!
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post #8 of 13 Old 01-26-2012, 12:04 PM
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I suggest lunging him on the ground over small, SOLID obstacles. He won't hurt himself jumping these--certainly her won't hurt YOU--but he's not respecting the jumps, hence the dangly legs. Plus, you get to watch what he looks like when he jumps. You might discover some other jumping problems this way. =D
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post #9 of 13 Old 01-26-2012, 01:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maura View Post
Grids and gymnastics, don't even jump single fences for a while.

You also really need to work on your own release; in none of the photos is he using his head and neck appropriately to balance. A head on or behind the vertical over fences is a bad sign, and an indication that the horse feels restricted and can't use its head and neck naturally. It can also certainly interfere with jumping form - strecthing forward with the head and neck helps free their shoulder to bring the forelegs up.

While your horse can certainly be considered to hang in front, he appears to be athletic and is compensating by just jumping higher with his body and giving the fences more air, so at this time and this height I don't feel that his form is particularly dangerous. I would not be going up in height until his form improves dramatically though.

While I like gyspy's comment about improving the quality of the canter, the thing that jumping horses need most is to really develop their ability to shorten and lengthen the canter in balance. This is what helps them cope with a bad distance safely. So in your flat work, work on developing three, clean, clear paces at the canter, then expand to five.

Grids and gymnastics work best as a teaching exercise for the horse jumped on a loose rein, with the rider in a stable two point, just supporting with leg. You do not want to "help" through a gymnastic, you want your horse to develop their jumping skill by figuring it out without you.

Good luck, he is a good looking rascal.

ETA: I apologize, I realize after re-reading that this was not in the critique section, and that you asked for help and exercises, rather than critique. So I hope the above was helpful, and heavily weighted on the help and suggestions, and lightly weighted on the critique.

I was thinking everything Maura said but she saved me from a lot of typing!

Gymnastics gymnastics gymnastics. With lots of bounces. IMO best way to teach them to use their front legs.

Ideas...

(bounce)(bounce)(2 strides)(bounce)(bounce)(bounce) (there are TONS of variations you can do with this, and you can work up to what I wrote)

(bounce)(bounce)(one stride)(vertical)(two strides)(oxer)

(vertical)(oxer)(2 strides)(oxer)(vertical)

(pole)(oxer)(one stride)(oxer)(pole) <-I did a clinic with someone who had us just go over this exercise back and forth over and over again. Seems Simple right? Whew, by the end of the lesson my flat jumper was cracking his back, kicking him his legs, and jumping me out of the tack!
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post #10 of 13 Old 01-26-2012, 01:47 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corporal View Post
I suggest lunging him on the ground over small, SOLID obstacles. He won't hurt himself jumping these--certainly her won't hurt YOU--but he's not respecting the jumps, hence the dangly legs. Plus, you get to watch what he looks like when he jumps. You might discover some other jumping problems this way. =D
When he recovers, I'm going to take him to one of my trainer's houses and she's going to help me free jump him! She set up a chute recently and she said if he isn't better by the time she takes it down, she'll put it back up for us(:

The hills were bathed in moonlight, the shadows not so stark;
Silver light reflected off his brown hide as he held me in the dark
I love you, Mudpie!
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