Rushing Jumps - Page 2 - The Horse Forum

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post #11 of 17 Old 06-06-2009, 09:31 PM
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There are a lot of issues that could be going on. Usually with horses rushing fences, pain and/or anxiety are the culprits. If you rule out pain I would try and pinpoint what it is that's causing him to rush. First of all, how is his flatwork? How is his balance at the w/t/c? Are you able to adjust his speed? -This is pretty key! If he doesn't do any of these things well you need to build that part of his foundation so that when you go to a fence and say woah, he knows what you're talking about! I got a prospect several months ago that was a major rusher. He would either rush the 2 strides in front of the fence or take off on the backside of the fence. Yikes! It was not fun.

So this is the program I started with him. I taught him:
-how to move off my leg (not just "faster", but away from my leg as well so he could learn that my leg was actually an AID)
-increasing and decreasing speed, and maintaining whatever speed I left him at. If I say woah, he slows a little until I say go, then he picks up the pace until I tell him otherwise.
-lengthening and shortening his stride. Exercises like lengthing down the long side of the ring, shortening down the short side, etc.
-balance/using his hind end- starting to go on the bit and a few exercises like a shoulder in that really encourage him to strengthen, balance, and use his hind end.
To me, all of those things are "basics" that a good jumping horse should know to be able to be adjustable on course. It also makes jumping much MUCH easier on them when they are balanced, fit, and trusting your aids!

When (or if) his basics are down, I'd keep doing lots of poles and gymnastics (how is he to those?). Lots of horses are anxious about jumping because they "don't know how". Figuring out how to place their legs and what to do with their body are sources of anxiety! Start off with lots and lots of poles (singles and combos. Trot poles are spaced 4 ft apart for the 'average' horse, canter poles should be 9ft). My favorite gymnastic exercise to start off (and teach a horse how to canter a fence) is:

Ground pole (9ft space) crossbar (12 ft)crossbar (24 ft) vertical or crossbar to start off.
Basically you trot in, bounce, you have one canter step to the jump. The spacings I've given you are for a horse with a 12 ft canter stride. I personally think 12 ft is a little big for the 'average' horse. If it's too big for your horse, bring them in a little so it's easier for your horse.

Don't know how high you're jumping him but I'd keep the fences low for now. I personally (and I know there are other very effective trainers out there who think differently) think it's so much easier to teach a horse to jump a course of small fences, and then raise the height instead of getting them jumping 2"6 singles and then start jumping courses at that height.

Here's another thought... i've noticed A LOT of people with horses that are a little fast think, "i'll get a really nice slow pace going from the corner so they'll keep that slow pace through the fence/line". The problem is, every horse has a speed that is most comfortable for them. If they are underpaced to that fence, it's uncomfortable and even difficult (causing anxiety) which cause them to rush either before or after the fence. Which just causes the people to try and slow them down more, which causes the horse to speed up more, etc. I've actually worked with SEVERAL horses lately that were 'rushers' that were 'fixed' by allowing them to canter at a decent pace out of the corner!

Those are the tips I'll start off with. If you have more details about how far along your horse is, what he knows, what he doesn't, etc etc I can offer some more exercises or ideas.
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post #12 of 17 Old 06-06-2009, 11:29 PM
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I agree with Upnover about a comfortable pace for you horse. Pick up the pace and see what he does? I would be interested to know. Do you grab mane? I would go back down to little itty bitty jumps and grab mane over the jump for a while and see if he relaxes a bit. He could be anticipating a grab in the mouth... Not doubting your skills... it happens to us all. If he's been in training for a while.. could you attempt a hackamore? As in a simple side pull?


Assuming your horses teeth have been done recently, is in good health and well fitting tack..

I like the 101 jumping exercise book. Very basic and sequential. When all else fails go back to the beginning. Go back to the first page and do each exercise. When you are satisfied with that exercise move onto the next one. I also like lunging my greenie over a couple of jumps to let her figure it out with out the weight of a rider to consider.


Good luck!

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post #13 of 17 Old 06-07-2009, 03:39 PM
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Well the lesson horse I ride likes rushing as well and what we usually do is lower the jump and take it slow. Usually approach it at a trot and let him canter off after the landing. Then you slowly increase the height and do the same thing and eventually canter over it. Hope that helps =)
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post #14 of 17 Old 06-11-2009, 05:05 PM
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I have been using the ground poles before and after the jump and really riding her the last three strides, keeping calm but firm with her and wow in two weeks time she has improved beyond belief. Was just doing crossrails and never two in a row but slowly added more jumps and raised the height and yesterda she did a 2"3 course at a nice calm canter and was listening for cues as to when to take off, its amazing they CAN learn.
I am so happy, please give us an update on yours
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post #15 of 17 Old 06-14-2009, 09:58 PM
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Sounds like he just needs a balancing half halt about 2 strides out. Rushing usually indicates the horse is a bit strung out and unbalanced.
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post #16 of 17 Old 06-14-2009, 11:57 PM
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there was also a great exercise about this in HI this month with specific grid work that will help. I'd check it out.

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post #17 of 17 Old 06-16-2009, 12:25 PM
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I have a horse that rushes and I use canter poles on both sides of the jump and I walk then trot a few strides out. But you said you already tried that! There is one other thing that my trainer has had me do and it works great especially if he only rushed a few strides out like you said. Place about 7 to 8 canter poles in front of a jump. So 8 poles at canter length apart and then the jump. This way, he can't rush a few strides out, he has to keep his pace. Also, make sure your not just using your hands. Even if he is galloping off, you need to use your legs at the same time that you are using your hands. To give you an example, my event horse was ridden at prelim level by his previous owner. He has a bad rushing problem, especially cross country and his previous owner/rider rode him cross country in spurs. Don't forget you need both leg and hand!
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