When to Free Jump?

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When to Free Jump?

This is a discussion on When to Free Jump? within the Jumping forums, part of the English Riding category

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    12-24-2010, 12:11 AM
When to Free Jump?

Hi! I would like to know when it is safe to start free jumping a young horse. I know that you can't jump under saddle until at least 4. But what about free jumping to see how the horse will do without a rider? My horse is only 18 months, so I'm in absolutely no rush, as he has still got a LOT of growing up to do! So far he has only walked over several poles during a 4-H meeting because we were practicing trail, and I think a horse is never too young to learn how to walk over a bridge, poles, etc. I was only leading him over them, and he really seemed to enjoy it and started having some fun once he got the hang of it (and discovered the poles weren't going to eat him... ahh, silly boy!).

I'm not planning on doing any sort of jumping with him anytime soon. I would just like to know when it is safe to let him try to take a crossrail or two so I can see what he's like over fences.

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    12-24-2010, 12:20 AM
For free jumping I would probably wait until 3, depending on the horse's build.
    12-24-2010, 12:22 AM
Generally I've always thought don't do any jumping at all even free-jumping until their 4. If you just want the horse to go over a couple cross-rails AND only A COUPLE just to see what their jumping is like you could do it now. Only once or twice mind you. A breeder who i'm training a horse for sent me 3 video's of 3 differant horses they have. All were free-jumped whe they were still with their momma's. Only once or twice though.
    12-24-2010, 12:34 AM
I wouldn't even dream of jumping him now! I don't want to mess anything up... knowing my luck, I would haha. I'll wait until he is at least 3 and see how he is maturing, but nothing right now!
    12-24-2010, 11:39 AM
Theres not reason you can't free jump him over small jumps as a 2yo. I wouldnt do it everyday or anything, but every once and awhile is fine.
    12-25-2010, 03:08 PM
Thanks gypsy! He has until May until he is 2, so I shall wait until then, and I'll probably do a little bit over the summer. Of course not every day, probably only once or twice a month, if that.
    12-29-2010, 11:20 AM
I think the no jumping until they're 4 rule is kind of stupid. There's no "right age" for every horse. It just depends how they're developing. For example, warmbloods develop much slower than say a QH. It would make sense to wait for the WB, but the QH would probably be fine for (small) jumps when he's younger. I'd say if he seems alright at about 2 there's no reason why he couldn't do a couple small cross rails a few times a month. Also, younger horses jump around in the field and that doesn't hurt them. The only difference is that there would be a couple poles under him.

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