Rushing forward at fences; How do I slow down?
The horse I have been riding lately, Talent, has a tendency to rush forward at the jumps. I will be about 3 strides infront of the 2ft-3ft jump, and he will dramaticly increase his speed, which sometimes throws me off when I am going in my two-point. Even at a trot he tends to go into a canter before the jumps. Especialy when I am doing a line, it is hard to gain control inbetween the jumps. He does the right amount of strides, but they are a bit too fast. I have fine balance and position on any other horse but him.
Any tips to help me control his speedyness?
Half halts. When you feel him speeding up, exhale, keep solid contact with your legs, sit back a bit and squeeze your reins gently.
To prepare for jumping, I would definitely work on my flatwork. Get him forward then half halting, forward and half halting - so he's listening to your aids. That way when he is rushing into the jumps he can relate it to flatwork. Do this in trot and canter before approaching a jump.
Now if he is "too excited" for the jump. Get him bored by putting a small jump up, trot over it, halt immediately after. If he halts well, - pat. Then on the spot turn around and go over it the other way, halt. And just keep on doing this until he doesnt rush into it. Now he may canter a bit before but as long as its slow and he's not running into the jump. Make sure if he does what you want pat.
If worst comes to worst, just halt. You would rather be safe than flying through dangerously fast in a course. Don't be afraid to work with small jumps and spend the time in flatwork because it is your foundation.
Make sure you're not two pointing before the jump, just incase he refuses, shies or has a moment.
I agree with KnB, the key to a good jump course is a good flatwork basis. Once that is sound however, and he is still rushing the fences, I would work with a ton of trot poles. As in five before a cross rail and make him trot through them before taking the fence.
im in the boat right there with you. i feel your pain, ive been working on it with a great trainer for 9 months!
a few things:
-b.r.e.a.t.h....i always forget how much this actually helps(:
-half halts are wonderful tools BUT you have to remember to give a strong half halt about a stride away then GIVE, take a breath and let your horse jump the jump without you pulling on his mouth.
-trot poles can re-inforce your half halts
-when you trot into a jump and canter out you are leaving the jump at a faster pace then u started, which IMO encourages rushing:/
so, my 2 cents are basically to relax, stay steady and be sure to give and take proportionally(which you will figure out what is the right amount for your horse)
half halts half halts half halts! engage your core, but make sure you release in between them!! hanging on his mouth will only encourage him to keep rushing. Is this a new issue for you guys or have you just started riding him?
First check that you are not inadvertently creating this. On approach, sit tall in the saddle, make sure you are not driving your horse to the fence with your legs, (leg on and driving/pumping are two very different things on horses who love to jump) and make sure you have supple contact with your horse's mouth, hands low. Raised hands and rein pressure mean "go" to horses.
After you've checked all that, set up two very low verticals 18' apart. Trot in, canter out. Stay up in your 2 point between the one stride to the second fence. The deal here is to make sure your over fence position is solid and your are not collapsing early or getting ahead of your horse's motion. If your horse has learned that you will already be up on his shoulders at jumping time, he's probably rushing in anticipation of that. Just break everything down and try to ride as quietly and effectively as possible.
Don't be afraid to be a little bit mean! As soon as you feel your horse speed up, do a huge half halt and then relax and sit back. Sitting too far back is not a good habit for competitive jumping and high fences but it is a great training tool. Work on grids with three small fences one stride apart. Also try taking a small fence with a shorter approach so the horse has less time to look at it.
If you're going into two-point/jumping position 2-3 strides away from the jump, that's way too far back. You shouldn't get into position until your horse's front feet lift off the ground (or around that time). In two-point, you're leaning forward, which basically allows the horse to have more momentum and forward movement. I'm guessing that may be part of the problem as well (there's a reason jockeys are all up over the horses' necks).
The main reason I'm suggesting this is that when I was riding a school horse who loved to jump, when we first started our jumping lessons our instructor would get us into two-point to strengthen our muscles. We would get into position WAY before the jump and my horse would always break into a canter to jump. After I came to the conclusion that I was basically giving my horse free reign to rush the jump, I said "screw it" and only got into two-point when we were practically on top of the jump. Riding normally up to the jump as opposed to getting into position a few strides ahead of time really slowed him down.
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