Advice on a Horse that get's Hot and Uncontrollable over Jumps
My horse gets extremely hot over jumps. At the sight he throws his head and speeds up. He had the tendency to rush jumps, and go faster and faster as the course progresses.
Yesterday I cantered him up to a fallen tree and jump that, which he was calm over but as soon as I turned around to do it again he threw his head up and rushed over it, and deer jumped. As soon as he was over, and was rushing for home (where 2 motorcycles and a quad were driving in our path) I did an emergency stop and circled him. Then I turned around and made him do it one more time calmly.
What exercises can I do to help this? I have 3 sets of standards and 20 poles. I will have more standards and poles after next week. Any exercises on the flat?
My old trainer had me post the trot over ground poles leading to a jump and not go into a 2-point over it, and just post it. (Crossrails ofc)
Also, what are the spacings between trot poles, canter poles?
Will reply later with a full keyboard. Being the horse back to flat work. Transitions. Lots and lots of transitions. Yielding fore and hind, lateral work. Then add in a single pole and do a ton of transitions before and after it.
Will reply more when I don't risk working my thumbs down to bloody stubs. Hahah.
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Flat work flat work and more flat work.
My mare has recently needed to have her brain rewired for jumping. What we did was set up a line of ground poles in a chute. The poles were spaced as bounces with 6 poles. I would walk through on a loose rein over and over and over. When I got to the end of the line we would turn around and walk back through. I would then pick up contact and walk through on contact.
We then would pick up the trot and trot through over and over and over again. When she did that quietly I would start doing it in two point. We do a serpentine, go through the poles in two point, go large, poles in two point, serpentine with a circle in the middle, poles in two point. When she did that quiet I would go through the chute with no reins in two point.
After we were calm and relaxed that way we would raise the middle pole to a caveletti and went back to walking back and forth on a loose rein. When she was relaxed walking over the poles and cavaletti we would trot down the poles in two point. If she landed and cantered I would sink into my two point and relax on the reins and she would come right back. A lot of horses will start to rush expecting you to pick up the contact and hold onto their faces. So I had to rewire my own brain to actually throw away the contact and she would come back into a quiet trot. It took a few times of throwing away the contact before she caught on.
Once she started doing the poles with the small cavaletti we added a super small cross rail into it and once again walked over the xrail and cavaletti(spaced at a one stride) and then would pick up the contact and go do it in a trot.
This did not happen over night. We have been doing this for about a month now and doing a lot of flat rides between so I didn't blow her mind. But I always ended any flat ride with going down the poles nice and relaxed like there is nothing to even think about.
The biggest thing though is making sure you are NOT touching his mouth at any point going over the poles or jump and not even touching his mouth on landing. This is why we do it in a chute on the long side. Trotting the poles in two point with no reins will help you learn to use your seat to control his stride so you are not giving him anything to lean on and rush through.
I have not done h/j since I was a kid, but, I saw a fantastic episode of Clinton Anderson working with a New Zealand TB who was hot and rushing jumps. What he did was so remarkably simple and made so much sense. He would periodically just shut the horse down about a stride before the jump (by shutting down, I mean a one rein stop and hindquarter disengagement). Then he would go back to doing some flat work for a few minutes, let the horse take a jump or two, and then shut him down again before another jump.
The horse very quickly realized that when he was headed towards a jump, he may or may not be shut down. He began to approach the jumps very carefully, obviously paying close attention to Clinton to see if he was going to be allowed to go over a jump. That is exactly what you want in a horse that is rushing jumps.
This was a horse in with top notch trainers, and they had been fighting him for ages, using running martingales, stronger bits, see sawing on him as he was approaching to try to get him under contol. That simply never solves any problem, it just winds the horse up more. With Clinton's idea, you just need a regular snaffle bit and a horse that will give laterally to it (if the horse won't give laterally there is no way he should be jumped anyway, he is not completely broke).
Obviously this is not something you would practice on a horse that is refusing jumps. It is something that is really only used for a horse that is excitable or rushing at jumps.
Another great exercise involves 2 jumps about 5 strides apart. Start with small x's. Ride in at a trot over the first jump, do a large circle and come around to the second jump. If he is rushing just keep circling until you have a nice steady trot then take the second jump. Circle in both directions, jump both jumps sometimes and just mix it up. Really get him thinking about what you are going to ask not just the next jump.
You can also jump the first jump, circle around and catch the second jump coming from the other direction. Do a sort of figure 8 so you are doing both jumps jumping towards the middle of the line, then switch it up and jump both jumps from the inside of the line and out.
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