Snap those legs up! - Page 2

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Snap those legs up!

This is a discussion on Snap those legs up! within the Jumping forums, part of the English Riding category
  • Video training horse to snap up
  • Teach horse to snap up legs

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    11-10-2009, 12:10 AM
Green Broke
There is a difference between a horse that snaps his knees up and a horse that jumps round with a nice bascule. Getting a horse to snap his knees up isn't usually too difficult with some nice gymnastic work. Getting a horse to round is harder to do as that takes more scope and natural ability on the horse's part, but can be done. Getting a horse to bascule AND snap his knees up? Take a combination of good training, good riding, and natural ability on the horse's part.

I actually just did a clinic with a grand prix trainer where we worked mainly on getting our horse's jump better. We normally do quite a bit of gymnastics as is but this weekend we did whole courses of them and the difference was unbelievable. My friend's horse who shows in the 4 ft and tends to drag poles left and right with his hind end was firing over the fence and kicking up his hind end by the end of the 4 days! At 4"3! We rode several horses every day and by the time we were finished, every single one of them was jumping better.


1) gymnastics! Lots and lots of them! I know several grand prix trainers who do nothing but good flatwork and gymnastics until they get to the show ring. It's the absolute best way to teach your horse how to jump and what to do wtih their legs and body. AND it teaches you as a rider to be still.

2) BEING STILL AS A RIDER! I don't know if you're a 'picker' but if you go down the lines picking at your horse all over the place they never learn. And if you go around a course being busy/unbalanced with your body they'll never use their body's well. This is crucial. There's a "big time" trainer in our area who buys these incredible jumpers from overseas. She goes into the ring picking and fidgeting and throwing her body all over the place. Every ride her horses get worse and worse and before you know it they enter the ring and knock down every rail. It's so ridiculous. What a waste. You have to let your horse use it's body without you interfering.

3) FLATWORK! To properly use his body your horse must be limber, agile, strong, and balanced. He must know how to power off his hind end, carry you to the fence, have impulsion before and after the fence, You acheive all those things with proper flatwork. Leg yeilds, shoulder-in, haunches in, half pass, renvers, travers, etc. Being balanced through serpentines, figure 8s, etc. We did almost a solid hour of everything I just listed BEFORE we started to jump. And again, all of our horses were better by the end of the clinic. Tired, but better. Don't forget cavelettis. Those things are wonderful at getting your horse more coordinated, limber, strong, etc.

And just a thought... While yes, most horses do use their body more over the bigger stuff make sure that you're ready to do it first. I have no idea where you are in your riding but if you hit your horse in the mouth at 3"6 because you aren't capable of doing it securely then you're teaching your horse to jump flat and defensively.

Good luck! Sounds like your trainer is doing a great job!
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    11-10-2009, 04:00 AM
I agree with MIE about the height issue and sloppyness. My gelding was at my mate's being professionally trained and he was jumped under saddle at I think the highest of 60cm? And lunged over 1.15m. Anyways, been a while since he's jumped due to winter here in NZ, and recently set up a pathetic little jump as it was my friend's first time jumping him (and being the non jumper that I am, clearly I do not understand the logistics of height to some horses)... and he flat out refused it every time. After managing to get him over it twice with incredibly disgusted looks thrown at me by him, I went off and decided to make it higher... suddenly Evo was coming into the jump correctly, and jumping over it happily. Toad. So yeah, smaller jumps are definitely for work on issues that may arise under saddle, but if you wish for a round horse, the height may need to be adjusted to suit your capability, and more importantly, your tempermental jumping machine of a horse
    11-10-2009, 08:38 PM
Thanks so much everybody!

MIE-your horse is adorable!

Upnover-thanks so much for your advice! Basically what you listed is what we're working on. And trust me, my trainer would NOT let us jump bigger than we are ready for. My last trainer, this is a horrible story by the way, ruined two horses because they are so young and had a FIVE YEAR OLD jumping FOUR feet at one point. And guess what? That willing, adorable, spectacular five year old is now a pasture horse that is permanently damaged. And a few months ago she ruined another one. This one just got surgery and has a chance of doing flat work. The girl with the first horse got a four year old and the trainer has them jumping three foot! The horse doesn't even know what to do over the jump and is lame constantly! UGH! *Rolls eyes* SO glad I'm out of there!
    11-11-2009, 10:18 AM
Wow! Great advice everyone! Thanks! This all is definitely going to help me. = )
    11-11-2009, 10:25 AM
Fantastic post upnover.
    11-11-2009, 10:07 PM
Green Broke
Thanks JDI!

Dreamrider- from what I read in your first post it sounded like your trainer knew what she was doing. Ugh, I cannot STAND trainers like your last one. I just don't get it! I understand you want your horse in the show ring quickly but what a freakin' waste of talented animal! So you ruin your first horse, maybe she didn't know better... shouldn't you learn by the next one you ruin? Or the 3rd? I don't get trainers like that!
    11-12-2009, 03:45 AM
Originally Posted by JustDressageIt    
Fantastic post upnover.

Completely agree!!!
    11-12-2009, 08:59 PM
I know, it's horrible! I'll admit, I used to love this trainer, but now I hate her guts...
How can you do that? Oh, and whats worst, is that she denies she did it and blames it on the horse's blood lines!

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