Helping inexperienced horse see distances
Okay so I recently started riding a appy who is rather new to jumping. Whatever I do we can't get the right distance. He alwayssss takes it short. Any tips or excersises to help him with better distances. Thanks in advanced.
First, I'd put cavaletti in front of the jump and trot him over it several times to help him get the hang of picking his spot. One thing I used to do to help ME pick the spot was to count down strides, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 SQUEEZE to cue the horse off the ground. Having the cavaletti experience first helps, and having a ground pole in front once you take the cavaletti away will help too. It's been years since I jumped anything, so someone else may have better/more current advice for you.
How far away did you set the cavaletti? Yea most of the time I can find the distance on any other horse but he's a little green.
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For very green horses I use a series of three or four trot poles in front of the jump. I also only jump little grids or gymanstics for long time before introducing single fences. At som point you can start using canter placement rails either before the grid or gymnastic or before and after single fences.
Once you're jumping lines or related fences, the key to distances is adjustabilty of stride. In your flat work, focus on three clear speeds at the canter. Then set two rails 7 strides apart on the long side of your arena, and work on meeting the poles in stride at your medium pace and getting 7 even strides. Once you've mastered 7, work on 6 strides from a forward canter, and 8 from a slow. When you have mastered this exercise, you and the horse will have a feel for pace, which is the foundation of a feel for distance., and your horse will be able to adjust his stride to make a distance work.
Some horses seem to be naturals at judging the distance between jumps, others not at all. Most fall somewhere in between.
Your guy may need more input from you on adjusting his gait, length of stride, to do this well. I like the advice you've gotten. Your horse may develop this skill with practice and experience or may always be a bit more dependent on you than another horse would.
It depends on the stride of the horse, but for trot cavaletti, start at 4 1/2 feet between poles, with a 9 foot gap between the last pole and the crossrail, then adjust as needed for the horse's stride.
Also getting in deep/short indicates carefullness and/or a general lack of confidence, so lots of cavaletti and grids are in order here.
How adjustable is the horse's stride? Doesn't matter how good your eye is if you can't get the horse to adjust to meet what you see.
And finally, a pet peeve of mine, sorry. I believe strongly it's a BIG mistake to teach a green horse to rely on the rider's eye. That's called professional ride only, unsafe with a novice rider or difficult to sell in my world. Much, much better to give the horse the tools to find their own distances and negotiate fences safely from any spot.
When schooling a green horse, a certain period of time should be spent "riding like a beginner" - aproaching fences in two point on loose reins and encouraging them forward.
Thanks for all the help! He's not mine, I'm just schooling him a little for a friend so I'm still learning about his tenancies and adjustability and everything. Thanks so much for all the tips!
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Are you using painted poles or an unpainted log? Horses see red and white best. With unpainted they don't see it very well.
A horse can see a natural rail just as well as a coloured pole.
A horse can see a single strand of wire and will jump that if asked.
Heres my 2 pence for all its worth!! haha.
Had a pony who was more than a little slow to catch on to everything really. Always forgot which stable was his- every night. used to spook at every jump even at our local arena first time round the course and ALWAYS used to take the wrong stride. It took us alot more work with this fella than any of our others and in the end we used to place a pole two full strides out (depending on the size of your horse) he was 14.2. The aim was to canter down and one stride over the pole and take off. We used to use this even in the collecting arena before classes and it worked fantastic for him.
Before that and since that ive always used the standard method of stand off pole but that never worked with him. Worth a shot?
BTW im 6ft so my strides are long!
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