Switch from hunters to jumpers. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 01-02-2011, 02:06 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2011
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Switch from hunters to jumpers.

I've had my horse zeppo for 2 years now, he's a thoroughbred - off the track. Needless to say he's a bit high strung.
I've tried to turn him into a hunter the past few years I've had him, and it really isn't working. His stride is too uphill to be hunter and he's to showy and forward. I know for sure I'd like to try him in jumpers this year, but I'm not sure where to start, considering the only thing I've ever ridden is hunters.
There is a lot of ground work and manners we still need to master before seriously competing; but i would like to see where we go in a class like hopeful jumpers, so nothing over 2'6''. Zeppo is seriously FAST, and can get a little out of control sometimes, which is my only apprehension towards jumpers.

So, the questions is: How can i prepare Zeppo to be jumper? What kind of things do i need to focus on to make him the best, most controllable jumper i can? And also, what kind of riding geer do i need that is different from the hunter ring?
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post #2 of 6 Old 01-02-2011, 02:55 PM
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Do a LOT of grid work. This will help teach him to have more control going over jumps. Also practice jumping for angles, since when doing jumpers, you want to get around the course as fast as possible. He won't be a safe jumper if he gets out of control easily.

Hope that made sense, I'm half asleep. Haha

EDIT: Also, do some dressage work. Any horse can benefit from dressage, but with needing to do tight roll backs and such in jumpers, you want to be able to collect your horse easily. I think ANY horse/ride who is jumping should have some dressage in their history.

You can never take a Thoroughbred away from a horse crazy girl.

Last edited by eventerwannabe; 01-02-2011 at 02:59 PM.
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post #3 of 6 Old 01-02-2011, 06:11 PM
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Good for you for trying out the discipline that best suits your horse! Sounds like he'll be much happier! I'm a life long hunter who only dabbled in the jumpers for fun here and there or if there was a sale horse that needed to be shown in the jumpers, until this year. This is the first year I think I may have shown more jumpers then hunters! I'm having a bit of an identity crisis... But it's been fun!

When it comes to training a green jumper, esp one that likes to get hot, I'd put speed at the way bottom of the priority list. As in, not at all. IME working on a quick round with a hot green jumper can fry their little brains. Speed will come in due time. I agree with all of Eventerwannabe suggestions: grids (and LOTS of them!), jumping off an angle, and lots and lots of good flatwork (dressage). Exercises to get your horse on his haunches and light on his forehand will make him more balanced, fit, responsive, and help those tight turns and tricky questions come much easier. I'd also work on combinations and lines that aren't set on a set stride. Where a hunter step may be a constant 12 ft through the entire course, the jumper courses (esp when you get to higher levels) will start throwing in shorter/longer distances inbetween the jumps. You'll want your horse to know how to take off from a collected or longer stride.

Gear-wise it should be easy! Much less restrictive then hunters! Are you talking about shows? At the local level shows we wear nice fitted polos or show shirts (might depend on where you are). At rated shows you'll see show shirts, show shirts and jackets (required in some classes), or even show shirt with a nice sweater. You're allowed to use square pads (yay!) and you'll want to consider some nice open front boots if you don't use them already. You can use a much wider variety of bits (pretty much anything goes) and if your horse is spooky to noises earplugs/earnets are great.
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post #4 of 6 Old 01-03-2011, 01:21 PM
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This might be a harder transition on you lol, I did hunters for years, then switched to jumpers, with a green horse, so getting my brain out of hunter land was a bit difficult. Grids like said above are very helpful, when you start going to shows almost ride it like an eq course, make the turns tighter but make it pleasant for you and your horse. Once you and your horse are more comfortable with jumper courses the speed will come. Work on adjusting your horses stride, take a stride out and then add one, so that while you are on course he is adjustable. Jumper courses have options some times, like an easy five or a moving four, so its nice to have the adjustability. As for equipment its pretty lienient, most bits are allowed, as is most tack, standing martingales aren't allowed past a certain height, I believe it's 3'6. Good luck!
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post #5 of 6 Old 01-03-2011, 02:04 PM
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Dressage, dressage, dressage. Watch the high level jumpers. The horses that win don't go around fast. They are the ones that are collected, can adjust their stride on a second's notice, can be leg yielded into just the right spot if necessary and can rock back to make the tight rollback turns. Heck, sometimes they look positively slow even when they are galloping around a course!

How do you teach a horse that - dressage. Latteral work, flexion, collection and planning - these are the keys to getting around a course well. If you can get these basics solid, you'll be able to turn up the speed when you need it, WITHOUT rushing your fences and dropping rails all over the place or turning your horse off its legs.
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post #6 of 6 Old 01-03-2011, 10:20 PM
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Definitely get some dressage under you belt. My horse jumps 100% better when he's round and connected with a slower tempo but bigger strider over when he runs at everything jumps long a flat. An adjustable stride is a must for jumpers. Dressage might help engage his mind a bit and bring him down a hair in terms of his energy too.

You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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