Tell me how to teach a horse to jump. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 06-29-2012, 08:45 PM Thread Starter
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Talking Tell me how to teach a horse to jump.

  1. What age is best for teaching to jump? She's two now. Should I wait until she's five?
  2. How do you work a horse up to the point of learning to jump?
  3. How long should I work her in jumping before I try a full course with her?

Big City

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post #2 of 9 Old 07-01-2012, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Stoddard View Post
  1. What age is best for teaching to jump? She's two now. Should I wait until she's five?

    Absolutely. Jumping is very strenuous on horses joints, and they need to be fully grown/ developed before that kind of pressure is place on them. Even when she is fully grown, it isn't a good idea to jump more than 3 times a week.
  2. How do you work a horse up to the point of learning to jump?

    Do lots of flat work under saddle. Get her listening to you, consistent paces, no rushing, being able to lengthen and shorten strides etc [being able to affect her strides doesn't matter a great deal when you are only starting out in jumping, however it is important when you start doing courses].

    You can either start doing it under saddle, or you can teach her to free jump the first couple of times. This way she can check it out and over jump as much as she wants without interference from someone on her back.

    When you do start the jumping process, you have to start with baby steps. Lay 4-5 poles on the ground a stride apart, and take her over those. Before you progress any higher, she should be calm and controlled going over them in walk trot and canter.
    Then you can raise the end pole [only a little, you don't want to bring to much on her at once], making it a cavaletti jump. Again, calm and consistent. Doing this you can work your way up in height and doing more complex grids. When you start asking for a single jump, make sure it has fill and a ground pole in front of it.
  3. How long should I work her in jumping before I try a full course with her?
When you find that she can easily manage single fences, you can start to connect to dots. Add another jump on the other side of the area you are working her in. Tackle one, then continue normally and jump the other. Gradually bring more and more jumps into the equation.

There is one principle that should never be abandoned, namely, that the rider must first learn to control himself before he can control his horse. This is the basic, most important principle to be preserved in equitation - Alois Podhajsky
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post #3 of 9 Old 07-01-2012, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by PumpkinzMyBaby22 View Post
When you find that she can easily manage single fences, you can start to connect to dots. Add another jump on the other side of the area you are working her in. Tackle one, then continue normally and jump the other. Gradually bring more and more jumps into the equation.
Actually, I've found that setting up a grid with poles and gradually replacing them with crossrails to verticals is much easier for the horse than having to find his stride to a single fence. I've always started greenies on jumps by using easy grids.
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post #4 of 9 Old 07-01-2012, 08:37 PM
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I have always heard that multiple fences (grid work) is easier for a horse to handle than single fences. Once grid work has been mastered, move on to single fences, and only progress to courses when you have mastered single fences from all directions, diagonals, short turns, etc.
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post #5 of 9 Old 07-01-2012, 09:51 PM Thread Starter
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I'm really hoping I can afford riding lessons by this point. Then we can work our paces together. It'll help me work on my balance over a jump (again) gradually, and the same for her.

Thanks for the input so far, guys. :)

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post #6 of 9 Old 07-06-2012, 12:19 AM
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Poles poles poles is how I started my project horse. After a while I put a pole ontop of another pole and he didn't have any problem with it at all. :) Start very slowly!
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post #7 of 9 Old 07-06-2012, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Stoddard View Post
  1. What age is best for teaching to jump? She's two now. Should I wait until she's five?

    I would definitely recommend waiting. You don't want to place extra strain on her joints or risk an injury by starting to work with jumping now. Her joints and muscles haven't fully developed yet, increasing her chances of an injury.
  2. How do you work a horse up to the point of learning to jump?

    Set one pole on the ground in the center of the ring. Warm-up first, before letting your horse walk over to the pole and sniff it. Let her stand there for a minute or two before dismounting and leading her over the pole. Once she is comfortable being led over the pole at the walk and the trot, you can add several more poles. When she can walk/trot over these flawlessly, try walking her over a pole while riding her. When she gains confidence, you can trot her, and, eventually, canter her over the pole. Do this for two or three weeks until you believe she is ready to move on. Set up a cavelleti and set up a small jump on the lowest hole. Dismount and lead your horse over it at both the walk and the trot. Then, you can mount her and jump it while on her back. Make sure she is comfortable jumping this before raising the jump another hole.
  3. How long should I work her in jumping before I try a full course with her?
When your horse is comfortable jumping single jumps, try a short course with her. Gradually, you can begin to add more jumps to the course. Just be patient!

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post #8 of 9 Old 07-14-2012, 12:29 PM
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Definitely wait to start doing any serious jumping but you can start her training now. Get her used to bending and the movements she's going to need on a course as well as ground poles.

I started my horse with ground poles free lunging and then riding. I wanted him to get the concept of picking up his feet over the poles before setting a caveletti. I moved to cavelettis and then I did a course of both before moving to more difficult jumps.

There isn't a set amount of time before you can run a course but it shouldn't be a week after you've started. When you both can confidently take a few jumps then you could try a course. Just remember to take your time and make sure she knows what she's doing and that you're comfortable on her before you move on to new things.

Show me a horseman who hasn't fallen and I'll show you a man who has never truly ridden.

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post #9 of 9 Old 07-14-2012, 11:47 PM Thread Starter
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I might end up waiting longer than five years old. However, if she does keep progressing well, we might be able to. :)

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