My mare is 4 and has started to learn to jump. She's been jumping little things every now and then for the past 6 months. I didn't want to jump too much because she is still young, and our dressage still needed work. Now that our dressage is 100 times better, I thought we'd start jumping a little more (about once a week, nothing over 2'3). Sunny has a tendancy to speed up before and after the jump and not listen when I ask for stride adjustments. it's either a fast trot or a fast canter- no inbetween for jumping (we have it in dressage though). She gets stiff and overly focused on the jump.
Today I set up an exercise that I LOVED. I put two poles on the center line that were 3 strides apart. Then I put a pole on the diagonal next to the furthest pole on each side. So it was like: Go over the first pole and then you have a choice- 3 strides bending line left, 3 strides straight, or three strides bending line right. I never made the poles into jumps because any exercise I can do without actually jumping is awesome (she's still young and I'm worried about joints). This got her to listen to me, we practiced lead changes, and staying supple up to the "jump". Also, It was a nice change from our normal boring dressage figures.
What other exercises can I set up that will help? I was thinking about the Wheel of Death to keep an even stride. Any and all ideas, opinions or comments are welcome :)
my mare has been naughty over fences lately haha thats what happens when you take a few weeks off of jumping =P
i have been setting 3 poles in a straight line all set 45ft apart. instead of doing 3 strides i have been making her do 4 even strides. shes been trying to get away from me, especially if she doesnt hit the middle pole correctly. no matter how she 'jumps' in over the first pole, i always always always half halt on landing and then put my leg on. same with the second pole. a few times i have had to halt her in the middle so she gets the picture a little more clearly =]
Have you tried placing poles out before and after the jumps?
I'm no jumping expert, so I'm sorry if it's not something you should do or anything D:
I have a good book that I'd recommend, "101 jumping exercises for horse and rider"
Definitely worth the money!
I have tried doing the placement poles before and after the jump. Sunny doesn't really care about them. She's the kind of horse who will get through anything- even if it doesn't look good. The other day I set up an oxer, but it was 2 cross rails. Somehow she got a leg between the front and back rail and I thought it was going to end badly, but nope- she just hit the rail hard and kept on going lie it was no big deal. I guess I should've added into my first post that she's really uncoordinated. Sometimes it feels like there are legs going everywhere :)
I like the idea of the 4 stride activity, but it will be very hard for her to do that :)
i also like setting up a regular 5 stride line [12 foot strides] and seeing how many strides i can get in it. also, practising getting 5 strides, 6 strides, 5 strides. makes your horse super adjustable.
i forgot to add, that the exercise in my first post i will also do with the center pole as a jump.
The pole exercise sounds good, but I'm concerned that she is rushing. That will only get worse if you don't address it. Do you ever lunge her over poles? My current horses are NOT jumpers, but I use poles and cavaletti, anyway. Principally, for trail horses, I want to desensitize them to obstacles. Non jumpers will rush an obstacle out of fear, and to get it over with. I want my TRAIL horses to just step over logs and things in the way, remaining calm and...bored.
I think she has a fear issue.
I would lunge her over poles and low cavaletti until she is so bored that she makes the minimum effort. Then, get back on and use your new exercise.
Lunging her is a nightmare. She just goes faster and faster at anything that isn't a slow trot or walk. I lunged her until I got her to behave and then we were done. I don't really like lunging and so I don't do it often. I get better results when I'm on her because when I got her she had only ever been lunged to the left and at a canter. I have free lunged her which is a bit easier and have set up the free jumping chute. She didn't have any issues with that so we just moved on. The rushing isn't really our of fear (I don't think). It's more like she wants any opportunity that she can to run. We still have to work on controlling the thoroughbred mentality sometimes (especially with other horses in the ring). The rushing has gotten 10x better by just practice practice practice. I think at first she didn't know what to do with a jump and now she's getting a bit more confident. Also- she is a hot mare! I've never reached her limit before; never seen her use minimum effort- not even in a 2 hour grids clinic! If possible, I think she's a little too fit for her own good :) Or it might be that she's getting 14 lbs of grain a day....
I like the plain old one jump on a 20 meter circle exercise. It really seems to help the horse (and rider) find a consistent rhythm, distance and balance.
Another one I like is placing one jump on each long side mid way down the line. Pick up canter and circle until you get the quality canter you want. Only when you have a nice balanced canter, proceed to the jump. After the jump, resume circling at the other end until you have the good canter again and then jump the other jump. Lather, rinse repeat.
MyBoyPuck- Sounds like an easy enough exercise :) We'll try it, but with her baby brain, we might have to throw in something else every now and again- she gets bored fast.... What about the circle, jump, then 2 10 meter circles (one on each side of the center line), then jump.... That would probably give the same results, but without being so repetetive right?
The thing with the circling exercise is to teach her to listen to you and not jump when she darn well feels like it. It's more an exercise to teach a horse that has already developed a rushing habit. I can see where it would backfire on a horse that needs to be more brain engaged, since it's purpose is more geared toward focusing on the rider.
Maybe try this one. Either two ground poles or jumps placed 3 to 4 strides apart. Go over jump one, circle, come back over jump one, straight to jump two, circle again and then go large back to square one. You can mix this one up anyway you want. It might keep her more interested. Just make sure you have a plan. I often make the mistake of changing my mind mid jump about whether proceeding straight onto fence 2 or circling and getting my horse angry at me.
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