Rushing to jumps?
I've started jumping Sailor at my barn's cross country course. I'm not serious about competing---there are no jumping (or english, for that matter) shows where I live anyways. However, I'd like to improve. The problem we've been having is that Sailor gets excited oftentimes and will rush toward the jump, causing him to hit it with his hind hooves while going over. I also do not know how to lengthen/shorten his strides. As a result, Sailor will sometimes be too far/close at the take off.
All of this only happens while cantering. I usually trot Sailor as to avoid the rushing issue. I know several of you will want to tell me to get jumping lessons, but that is impossible for me. I know something like legthening/shortening strides cannot be taught over the internet, but I would appreciate any tips/help to point me into the right direction.
For starters, ignore anyone who may have told you to look up or past the jump. When approaching the jump, look at it until it goes out of view between your horse's eyes, then look ahead. That will help with some of your horse's distance judgement problems.
I don't know how you're riding on approach to the fences, but for the last 5 to 8 strides before the fence you should be sitting in the saddle in a 3 point or light seat. You want to sit tall, close your legs around your horse in a bear hug, sink your heels down as you come into 2 point at the base of the fence, and press your knuckles against the side of your horse's neck as you provide a release over the fence. If you have been approaching the fence already out of the saddle to date, it might feel weird to be sitting, but you will quickly find it gives you a much better communication with your horse. The good ones will wait for that big bear hug to tell them it's time to jump.
As for judging distances, place two poles on the ground about 48' apart. Canter over them a few times and count how many strides your horse takes between the poles. Once you figure out how many strides he gets within a certain distance, place the poles to that distance and first practice keeping a nice, even rhythm over them. Once that's cake, role the second pole our 1/2 a stride and practice switching between a forward distance and a collected one. It's not the easiest size, but once you get it, it will come easier.
Hope that helps. Have fun!
any pics/videos? are you a self taught jumper?
I do not have any pics or videos. I first jumped back when I took riding lessons. My instructor was more of a western teacher so she certainly didn't specialize in jumping but she did start me over jumps. So I am not entirely self-taught.
If you watch the really good upper lever jumpers, when you hit the ground on the other side, immediately get your horse under control. Don't wait. Get your horse under control the first 3/4 or so of the ride, then give him some freedom for a few strides to let him do his thing. Hope this hel.
i think it would be best if you worked on controlling his stride length before jumping him a lot.
Rocket has had the same problem with this. What my trainer has me do is trot in to the jump, and if he speeds up bring him to a complete stop. Hope I could help!
I used to ride a horse with the same problems.
To control the canter a bit more, I would do half halts before the jump to slow the canter down a bit, which allows more control of the canter.
If the horse your riding continues to run the fence, circle him before it, multiple times if necessary, until he slows down.
Also, counting your strides towards the fence will help. A simple 1, 2, 1, 2 as you come towards the fence. And when you find the spot you like, you should count down in 1,2,1,2,3. The three should indicate the spot you want your horse to jump at. That way if you notice that his canter is too fast, you could slow it down.
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