Green horse jumping problems
I'm currently riding a 4 year old Akhal teke filly that has just started jumping, she has been jumping since January or February. Recently she has been giving me a lot of problems when jumping. My trainer is currently away on vacation for a week but I really want to start to address the situation now. Any advice would be nice!
Hoanna has picked up some bad habits, I'm guessing they are stemming from anxiousness about jumping. She not afraid of the jumps themselves, she just tends to get a little anxious about jumping lately. Currently she is rushing at jumps when we are heading towards the entrance of the outdoor arena, maybe she's a bit barn sour? She also stops right before jumps even though I always have a solid plan in my head of where we are going after the jump and I have plenty of leg on her. Lastly she runs out on jumps, almost always to the left. Which I guess is because my left leg is weaker.
I don't have any video but from that brief description can anyone offer some advice? Hoanna's kinda at the stage where she is always looking around at everything, especially on the flat, and it's hard to get her to round and pay attention.
Have you tried setting up a pole to create a 'chute' to keep her from ducking out? Also, for the rushing, try talking to her, or giving her a quick reassuring pat or neck rub as you approach the fence. Maybe trot some small fences then canter some as soon as she settles. If she rushes, go back to trotting. If she wasn't ducking out or stopping, I'd say to ask her to halt between fences. But that wouldn't be very helpful. Haha.
Have you heard of the 101 Jumping Exercises book? My barn owner is letting me borrow her copy. I have an OTTB gelding that started jumping around January, too. Recently, my horse and I have become aware of a few little lose ends in our jumping (nothing serious, just needing to work on straightness, adjustability, suppleness). This book has been helping a ton! We start at the very, very beginning and just start working on each exercise. We get through one or two each ride (most of them just being pole exercises - trot poles, single poles, canter poles) and it seems to be filling in any gaps we may have missed before. It's also keeping my boy on his toes.
Might be something for you to look into! Good luck and have fun! And I love Akhal-Tekes! Would love to see pictures!
Honestly at that age while you are teaching her - I would get an instructor to help - I know you said you instructor is away for a week - thats not long - just wait! You dont want to make things worse and they learn so fast... she only four so theres no hurry! You wont mess her up in one lesson which goes badly but you really dont wanna spend a week going over the same issues without resolving... Do something else that you boh do well or work on poles or anything else
You instructor wil be able to see better than we could ever give you advice over a forum
Well I bought that book called 101 Jumping Exercises for Horse and Rider and I did the first six today with Hoanna. All of it was groundpoles, circling and various patterns. She was more relaxed today and happy. She did get a bit anxious when I pointed her towards two standards with the pole lying on the ground between them. She launched herself over it like it was a two foot jump for the first time. Eventually though I got her to trot over it without throwing herself over it like "OMG I hope I can make it!!!".
Rushing is often a sign of anxiety. It can be that she's been overfaced, had a bad ride, or that her rider may be doing something like jumping ahead or hitting her mouth that cause her to rush. Hard to say without a vid.
I think going back down to poles is a great idea. At 4 you really shouldn't be jumping all that much that you should be trying to fix a problem in a week. Take your time to do it properly now, rather than having to fix it for the rest of her career.
Focus on your flat and pole work. Jumping is mostly flatwork with a little air time. It's that flat work that makes it all work out properly.
I have a project horse, 6 year old Arabian gelding, who would ALWAYS stop in front of the jumps. What I did was take him extremely low. Like a couple inches off the ground. I overexaggerated my kicking and pushed him super hard with my seat. Since the jump was so low it wasn't important to 2-point to I wasn't worrying about that at all. If he stopped in front of it I kept kicking despite the fact that he stopped. Grab a crop if your leg isn't enough and tap him on with it. If he stopped then stepped over it, I rewarded him for going over it and let him trot around the arena once before going over the jump again. I kept repeating this and made the trots around the arena shorter and shorter until I could successfully go to two jumps in a row without any hesitation. Once he got the idea I gave him his head and cooled him off and put him back in his paddock. Don't rush your training!
My old mare, Cheyenne used to ALWAYS go around the jump. What I ended up doing was putting poles (like what you'd use for pole bending) on either side of the jump on the way up there. Another thing was putting jumping poles and layed them down like a path towards the jump. I used as much leg as I could and stayed extremely cautious, if she started to veer either way a bit I kicked her hard on that side and then pushed hard with both legs.
Those are just what I did with my two, I'm sure there are other ways that are better, but it worked great on my two and we don't have problems at all anymore. :)
Hope this helped, good luck with your horse!
grid work grid work and more grids. I cant have enough to say about jumping and grids. If the horse cannot do a pole on the ground properly it simply wont jump properly.
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All these problems are confidence issues in the horse. ALL. OF. THEM.
That means you're overfacing her. Drop the height until she's comfortable, and then perhaps put a stick in each jump cup underneath your jump pole to raise it a teeny tiny bit. The slower you increase the height, and the smaller the increments, the faster she will truly progress. Take the time it takes, so it takes less time :) it's a Parelli-ism and I don't like Parelli, but it's SO true with horses!
For the rushing issues try grid work to teach her to back off a bit, also doing a pole course. Lots of transitions, and when approaching count to your self (1,2,1,2) keep that consistent rhythm and if she tries to rush half hault sit up and ask her to wait by holding your body. This all comes with basic flat training. Remember the Trianing scale: Rhythm, Suppleness, Contact, Impulsion, Straightness, and Collection. Following this scale is critical when it comes to a green horse. Now what may have happened is you may of over phased her. Only being 4, your focus should be flat work. Getting smooth transitions, relaxation, suppleness, accepting contact, working on consitent rhythm. Whenever I first start teaching a horse to jump I normally only do it once a week, but keep consitent on poles so they learn striding and approach. Green horses are though, but maybe slow down a bit. Focus on the flat, encouperate some pole work, than maybe in a week or so try jumping again, but nothing over a small cross-rail and maybe only a single fence. Some young horses get confused, or over phased really easy and they then loose confidence in themselves or turn sour which is what it seems like has happened. She is only 4. Take it slow, you have time
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