How to time your striding towards a jump? help?
So we're retiring Cheyenne in September and I'm moving up to a new horse. He's much different...instead of an old, expirienced quarter pony, I'm going to a young, inexpirienced Arabian. Big difference! Maverick's a 6 year old Arabian gelding; 15hh. He's a good horse but he needs a lot of work.
So I've been working with him a bit and VERY quickly found out that he's an incredible jumper! So I've been jumping him and his owner and I want me to compete in show jumping with him once I get him going well.
He gets over the jumps with enough room to spare, tucks up his legs and keeps his head in a good position without throwing it over a jump. Our main issue right now is the timing. He doesn't know how to time his strides to go towards a jump and neither do I. This is always a problem. No matter if we're too far away or too close to the jump, he always makes it over anyway, but it always causes problems when we go over a grid.
Usually we time it well or he'll jump too close to the jump. He doesn't often take a leap too far away.
But anyway, how do you time strides to a jump? How do you know when to collect him and make his strides shorter or tell him to extend his trot or canter so that he'll go over the jump at a good position? Help please!!
Ground pole. Set it on the ground before the jump about the heighth of the jump away from the jump, so 2 foot jump = put pole 2 feet away from jump.
It will be extreamly difficult to explain over the computer. You need your eye to be on to see if you have to hold back or move up. No one can tell you how to do this. Practice with poles to get your horse and you at the right spot but a better way without poles is set up a small oxer like 2ft or x but oxer would be better that you can jump both way. Go back and fourth over the jump over and over and over again with no poles (you can add poles but I wouldn't for now) and this will help your eye improve so you can FEEL what jump felt good and why, or bad and why and you will begin to know what distance to see and how to react whether you should hold or move up.
You need a jumper coach to work with both you and your horse. Jumping is dangerous, even more do when people try to teach themselves. Please please get a good coach.
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I do agree with what others have said, and if he is INEXPERIENCED I would definitley enlist the help of a trainer for both of you. You don't want him learning the wrong way, because jumping the wrong way is a bad habit to break and a lot of times can become dangerous. It sounds like you will have a lot of fun with him though, I would just do it the right way with a trainer. Have fun! If you want to practice on your own I would start on the basics with jumping and go from there. (:
It's hard to explain, An being able to see your distances is without a doubt one of the most difficult part of jumping, it's something that takes a while to get a feel for. I just sit back(when I lean forward I have more trouble seeing my distance ironically). I try not to get to hasty and don't make any moves until I'm sure I see a distance. Being able to assess when to move up, when to hold back, or when to stay the same takes time. Also I don't really time anything, and only count when I'm doing a line or a combo.
To be quite honest it sounds like you really should try to train more before actually going to a show. I applaude you for having a great goal but as a trainer myself advising someone to jump without a trainer is dangrous, especially when they clearly need some help. I can suggest some exercises to help without really sending you over the fence.
Remember jumping is just dressage over fences. Basically all your flatwork inbetween fences is very very important. If not more important than the fence itself. A steady pace in the horses rhythm and proper balance is essential. As well as keeping the pace before and after the fence, throughout a whole course. In this case I suggest first starting with just a pole, cantering over the pole noting to keep the same pace before and after the pole. Nothing should change. Also how you approach is huge, are you making sure you enter in perfectly straight or are you shaving corners, falling out, in the mist of this again is your horse keeping the same pace? You clearly need to enter in straight, if needed for a bit set up cones from your turn into the pole to clearly mark where you should turn. You can make this "simple" exercise more complicated as you want later on. It can turn into a "course of poles" working on clean changes as well over the poles. The poles eventually turn into fences. I even suggest canter poles, laying two poles approx. 9 feet apart. If your horse lands heavy on the forehand doing this over a set of 2/3 poles as canter poles will make him have to balance up a bit more. Even placing the poles a touch closer together more like 8 feet apart making you ride enterning in more on a conservative pace, will make him have to keep that extra soft ness as well and collect a bit more. Does that make sense? Eventually when that is very simple for you and your horse the same excersise over fences will make it a new challenge. I hope some of these excersises help you and good luck!
Definitely get a coach, but also read up on free jumping. By free jumping your horse, one of the many valuable things he will learn is how to see his own distance. For you seeing your spot takes a lot of practice and time in the saddle. Even once you get it, you will sometimes not be able to see a spot. In those situations it is soooooo handy to be on a horse that can find his own spot!
So get a coach to teach you AND your horse how to find a spot! :)
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