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Victoria853 12-26-2011 05:40 PM

HELP: Horse vices while jumping & cantering.
Hey guys! I am currently training my OTTB filly how to jump. I bought her this year in April, and I have trained her from the ground up. This is the first horse I am training on my own and I am only sixteen. I am having a lot of trouble with her canter. My arena is very small and slightly sloped, which is problematic while training... Since she is off the track, she has the drive to run...
What are some techniques/exercises I can try to get her to slow her canter (every time I try she breaks to a trot), and get her on the correct lead?
ALSO, I have been jumping her over VERY small jumps (due to her young age) and initially, she jumped decently, but now she completely flattens her neck over the jump (is this a flaw or not?) And she completely ignores the bit, tosses her head, and bolts at the jump. She'll also knock over poles and when she's lazy she'll barely make the effort to jump. I completely understand that she is only a baby and is learning, but my question is how can I fix this? And would it be a better idea to master all three gaits before jumping?
Please do not criticize me as I am learning how to train my own horse and myself (I have never been under training - I watch videos and read books).
Thank you!:-)

MyBoyPuck 12-26-2011 07:19 PM

Since this is a TB, the best advice I can give you is to break everything down into steps for her. While most are very quick learners, they also get easily frustrated if they do not understand what you want.

I would say, yes to your question about not jumping her until you have 3 solid gaits going. Ideally she should be able to canter around on a loose rein without you having to her up for balance. She needs to understand that she is responsible for holding her own balance. Ideally she should have the opportunity to find her own balance at W/T/C on the longe without having to carry a rider on her back. Then let her find it with you up there. Just take it in steps. Don't move onto B until she's A, you get the idea.

Once you get back to jumping, first place poles on the ground for her to W/T/C over. Again...steps. Don't trot over them until she can walk over them calmly and so on. Place the poles 9' apart to accomodate all 3 gaits. If not doing canter, set them at 4'6" for trotting. Once she's okay with them on the ground, keep at least 2 of them set at trot distance and then put a small cross rail up 9' after them. Trot in and let her pick up canter on the other side of the cross rail. Again...take it in steps. If she does great with one cross rail, add a low vertical 18" beyond the cross rail. Jumps set in up in gymnastic lines help horses learn to find the distances and where to place their feet effectively. Single jumps usually just stress the young horses out.

Toss any notions of set timelines from your agenda. She'll get there when she gets there. You cannot rush it, so just be patient and consistent until she's ready to move onto the next thing you want to teach her. Sounds like you want to do what's right for her which is the most important part of this equation. Good luck!

Victoria853 01-05-2012 10:36 PM

Great advice - Thank you!!!! :-)

tlkng1 01-06-2012 04:59 AM

As MyBoy indicated, smaller and slower steps are the way to go. When a horse runs to a fence they are actually showing fear..sort of the "I have to get it over with" type of attitude. This, however, is not the same as a horse that is eager to jump who may pat the ground ahead of the jump or get a little quick. The head tossing afterwards is similar and shows the horse is uncomfortable with the jump..not uncomfortable as in hurting but rather stressed and unsure.

Jumping flat, as in not having that rounded bascule, depends. If the horse's conformaiton doesn't lend itself to the bascule, no training will get the horse to round. In this case it sounds like a simple case of being unsure in the jump and the gymnastics indicated will help.

As for the gaits, time and experience. She was trained to go from a dead standstill to the gallop and only on the left lead. Trotting was just a gait in between when slowing down. When trying to balance the canter you need to sit deep and use your leg on her as you give her the half halt to slow her speed. This will get her hindquarters under her for the impulsion, your leg will tell her you want her to cintinue at the current gait and the half halt will check her speed. To help with balance, you might also try cantering her on the lunge line wearing side reins. This will help her learn to balance herself without the added issue of a rider and can also help with her leads as she will figure out that taking the correct lead is much more comfortable.

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