Creative Jumps! Lunging over jumps! And other questions!
I'm just lunging my pony over one jump right now because we're just starting out and I have a feeling that he's getting bored with our same old same old jumps. (PVC poles and tires or square bales as standards., sometimes I put saddle blankets on them so they look scarier. :P)
So I want to throw something exciting at him.. Improvise a little bit..
I have an old gymnastics mat that's about 2 feet in height when folded up. It's colorful, about 1 foot 'deep', and 5 feet wide. Could I jump him over that? It'd definitely spice things up a bit! And I'd think it'd be safe because it's cushy... But I don't know.. Would you do it?
Second thing; am I moving too fast with him? I've been lunging him over 1 jump for a over a month now. I've moved it up every time I felt he was ready to jump higher. Right now I've got him jumping him over a square bale's height (2 ish feet I'm guessing?)..
I'm not looking to ever compete with him.. It's just something new/fun to do rather than our usual western pleasure workouts and stuff. Plus it's always good to have a really really versatile horse!
What are some other drills I could do with him (jumping) before I decide to hop on and jump him undersaddle? What are some things I should look for in him (calmness, technique, whatever?) before I decide to ride him over a jump?
(if anyone is wondering, I do ride English occasionally, I have had lessons in English riding, and I have jumped before with an instructor, but not much at all. I'm mainly a Western rider.)
Teach him to free longe, if he doesn't already know. Once he's good at that you can free jump him which is much safer because you don't have the risk of the longe line getting tangled on jump standards.
Then, start adding jumps so he is jumping combinations. This will be really good for adding interest and variety because you can change the distance from no strides in between, to one stride or two strides or more between two jumps. If you get 3 jumps (hay bales are really good, safe, inviting jumps) you could have no stride between 1 and 2 and 2 strides between 2 and 3, or whatever your imagination comes up with!
as amanda said above,
I agree with having your horse free lunge over fences. I don't ever jump a horse with a lunge line attached. That's how my trainer trains her jumpers, and it's how i've been taught how to train my jumpers as well.
I will free jump my horse over just about anything. We've free jumped him over empty sparklettes water bottles, empty laundry baskets, traffic cones, and anything else i can possibly find that will get a reaction out of him!
When i'm looking at a jumper to purchase, and we're free jumping him/her, I am looking for a few things: I like them to have their own eye to the fence. He/she needs to be able to see their own distance to some degree. I like them to be keen up to the fence, this means i want them to keep their eye on it and their ears forward. They should approach it calmly and collected, and should jump with their legs up and in front of them, not under their shoulder or hanging a leg. This is all what i look for before i jump a horse under saddle.
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