02-19-2013, 11:52 PM
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I only let very beginning green horses stop and look at a jump....and I am the one who tells him to do it. I will do this for every jump for the first week or so, as he builds up his confidence. However, once he understands the art of jumping and has learned that jumps are not going to hurt him, we go to the next step. I go back to tiny cross rails and he has to take them the first time. I stay really small on all of the jumps that he is asked to jump the first time on approach. Only when he is happy doing that do I increase the difficulty.
As he gains his confidence and courage, we will eventually come to a jump he wants to check first. These jumps will be of a size that he could walk over, so I have no problems keeping after him and not letting him turn away. I do not beat or even hit. I just nag and nag until he tries. THEN I praise him mightily. The praise is what is important, not any punishment. When he gets to this point, I expect him to try every jump he approaches. But, if I get him in wrong, I must be willing to break it off even at the very last moment. It takes a good while to build up a horse's confidence, but only seconds to break it.
I have had no problems with any horse I start this way going up to the highest jumps. I also have good success with sour horses I get for retraining. I take all of them right back to tiny crossrails and start them over from the very beginning with PRAISE. So many have been taught to be fearful because they expected brutal punishment when they failed! I hate that.