Training put into a jumper? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 08-07-2010, 07:20 PM Thread Starter
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Training put into a jumper?

Okay, so I ride a really athletic arab sport horse for this lady. (In my avatar, actually lol) Right now I show him in sport horse in hand, and HUS. I have shown him in dressage before, and we frequently do "dressage" just for practice at home (Note: we don't do "dressage" in a dressage saddle or with letters or anything, I just call it dressage because we do a lot of dressage-like circles, leg yields, ect...).

His owner brought up possible having me show him in hunter (over jumps) next year at sport horse nationals. I have ZERO jumping experience, but I've always wanted to do it, just for something new. I'm planning on starting my lessons as soon as possible. In my opinion he would make an AMAZING hunter! He has gorgeous movement (since hunter is all about "pretty" lol)

Now- my question is: how much does it take to train a jumper? I've heard people say that jumping is just dressage with speed bumps (lol). I know the horse has jumping ability (and he loves it!). Is it unreasonable to think that I could learn jumping & prepare him for hunter in a less than a year? (Nationals is in september, but we'll have to qualify).

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post #2 of 6 Old 08-15-2010, 02:02 PM
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Not completely impossible, but very difficult. Usually you want to learn to jump on a horse that already knows how to jump and the horse to learn with an experienced rider. However, everyone is different, and what works for me may not work for you. Jumping is not dressage with speed bumps though. Your form for jumping is a lot different than for dressage. There is a lot of riding in a half-seat, shorter stirrups, etc. Plus, it is not as easy as it looks to have ride a jump properly. As an experienced rider you know how long it takes to learn something new in dressage, it's the same for jumping. But I encourage you to learn (with a trainer) although it may take a couple of years to get to that level. For example, I jumped and competed when I was a teenager, then stopped riding for ten years($). When I started back last year, I had to start over. It's been a year of riding nearly daily, and I am finally jumping 2'6" -3' with solid position. Getting ready for serious showing. But my horse is a perfectly trained hunter. I just have to get myself right and she handles her side of the job. It will be interesting when I start riding horses that are new to jumping.
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post #3 of 6 Old 08-15-2010, 10:35 PM
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I think its a good idea to get more than one opinion on things, so here's mine:

How much does it take to train a jumper? Depending on how far you want to go dictates how much it takes. I own a horse who is able to qualify for FEI show jumping and we've been training for three years. And even then, we aren't completely ready and I had already jumped National level successfully.

I know the horse has jumping ability? I'm not trying to be offensive or nasty, but if you have no jumping experience, how do you know he has ability? Just looking like the professional's horses do (ex. Lucinda Fredericks and Headley Britannia) when he jumps doesn't constitute as ability. How much room does he have to spare between his body and the obstacle when he jumps? Does he have a natural sense for taking off at an appropriate place? Does he tuck his legs up nicely?

Is it unreasonable to think that I could learn jumping & prepare him for hunter in a less than a year? It depends on what level and height you will be jumping. My horse was competing at 1.20 metres (4 feet) in six months but she is bred to jump and is incredibly scopey and tall. If your horse is on the shorter side or you are planning to jump over 3 feet, I'd say figure out how much talent BOTH you AND the horse have before trying to do it in a year.
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post #4 of 6 Old 08-15-2010, 11:45 PM
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Originally Posted by MadamKing View Post
If your horse is on the shorter side or you are planning to jump over 3 feet, I'd say figure out how much talent BOTH you AND the horse have before trying to do it in a year.
She's only asking to show hunters, if I'm still up on my R&R at the HIGHEST level its only 3'6", which I doubt would be her starting point ;] How much experience does that arab have? If you were showing Equitation I would tell you flat out that I don't think a year will prepare you enough to win at a National Level. However Hunters its more forgiving of the rider because the focus is on the horse. I'm not a huge fan of hunters, but if you're not completely training the horse to jump a year with a good trainer could make it a possibility.
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post #5 of 6 Old 08-17-2010, 07:23 AM
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That's great that you are venturing onto unknown turf. I will assure you, that with the correct training, you will really enjoy jumping.

I personally feel that you should have no problems getting there, as long as you have a trainer that can help with both you and the horse. I would recommend though that the trainer maybe works with jumping the horse first before you start jumping properly. Just so the horse can get the hang of things, and so that you don't sit with both you and the horse that are not sure of what to do.

Let us know how the lessons go, and keep us posted on your progress.

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post #6 of 6 Old 08-17-2010, 01:08 PM
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That's a tough question to answer without knowing the horse. IMO i think it's pushing it a little. Generally I find that retraining a horse to a new discipline is a heck of a lot easier (and faster) then breaking a horse and getting them competitive in that discipline. Sounds like you're using dressage to put a proper foundation on her, and that will help out immensely. I took in a really easy going athletic horse that was broke to western pleasure, reining, and driving and had him comfortably jumping 18 in courses within a month. (That's the fastest I've ever taught a horse to jump and prob will be for a while) I waited another few months before raising the fences to about 2"3.

Some of it will depend on how much that horse enjoys jumping. The ones that are a little tenetive take longer. I have a horse that I've been teaching to jump for about 2 or 3 months and he's still trotting crossbars lines. He didn't even want to trot a pole, so this is progress!

Does your horse have a lead change? some horses take a long long time to get to the point wehr they can comfortably (and accurately) get their changes on course. And every hunter NEEDS one!

Personally, I think you're biggest hindrance is the fact that you have zero jumping experience. (sorry, just stating my opinion!) I don't know how competitive your Arab sporthorse shows are but my kids who just started jumping this summer will *maybe* be going to their first shows this fall at 18 in. And they're on school masters who are teaching them the ropes. If you're really wanting to do this I think the fastest way is for you to learn off a trained horse, and have someone else train the horse to jump until you're both a little more experienced.
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