My horse has short legs, could I still do cross country with her???? Details inside
My pinto mare is 15.1hh and she's a qh x Arabian (that's what the owner thought she was, but there's no doubt she's qh) and I want to do cross country with her. She has short legs in comparison the her body, so could I still cross country with her?
Guess you just have to try it to find out. Have fun!:-)
Pretty much anything can do lower level eventing. If she can safely clear the fences and enjoys it, why not?
My mare (in my user pic) is only 15.1 and we're doing Prelim with no signs of stopping, so I'd say go for it! :)
I have another thread for this, but it's related. My mare's canter is super fast and she can't get the strides for the jumps, how do I get her canter under control, and how do I get her to start liking jumping. I have to get those things first before cross country. If you guys answered, I'd love you forever!!!!!
First, you need to work with her to gain control of the speed in all the gaits. This is a thread, or a lesson plan in itself.
Secondly, she needs to be taught jumping properly, with the correct introduction to poles on the ground, cross poles with placing poles etc. If she learns properly, and always succeeds she will enjoy it. If she is over faced with jumps that are too high or difficult or scary or challenging or confusing, then she won't enjoy it.
Finally, she will need to be introduced to cross country courses. She'll need to learn that they don't fall over when she hits them :-). She'll need to learn about the different approaches, and exits. She'll need to gain confidence in water.
All of these things are her education. Without them, she'll most likely fail in some way and neither she nor you will be safe or happy.
I think I understand where you are coming from, OP. (aka orginal poster, just if you didn't know--took me awhile to figure that out on here)
First- There is a small little pony at my barn who is 13.2 and jumps like no other. He loves it. Just point him at a jump and off he goes. Moreso he is actually quite a skilled little guy. His current rider jumps him 2'3-2'6 and he does just fine. He has short legs too so I would say there is no doubt that your mare is definetly capable of jumping. Just how high is yet to be determined.
Second- I own a full blooded Arab. It took months and months of really consistant work to get her canter perfect. Your mare sounds just like her. There are a few things you can do to slow down a canter on the flat. first, just for right now, forget jumping and work on slowing her down. What you can do is take her in circles-lots and lots of circles! Doing sprials helps alot too: start out with a large circle about half the size of the arena. Pick a spot on the ground or even put a cone in the middle and slowly take her in smaller and smaller circles getting closer and closer to the cone. Then spiral back out, going away from the cone. The smaller the circles are, the slower she will canter. You can also try stopping and backing her up if she is fast. And I don't mean 2-4 steps. I mean like 10-15 steps back and then stop and "rest" for a minute. Then ask for the canter again.
Now as far as jumping goes: First teach her to jump if she doesn't already know how. I'd try doing trot poles riding her and lunging her over very small jumps, maybe about 10" at first. Once she gets good at that you can raise it up. Never try jumping her with a rider until you can go over a ground pole in all directions at the canter. this is why her canter is very important. Fix that issue first. Then, once you've mastered that, try trotting a small jump, like an 18" cross rail. ALWAYS trot the jumps first with a green jumper. Let her find her footing and build confidence.
since cross country is always over solid jumps, start taking her over those on the line. At my barn we happen to have barrels and hay bales and a handmade coop to jump so I took my mare on the line and asked her to go over them several times both directions before I tried riding her over it.
If you have any more questions I'd be happy to help. Eveything you are going through is exactly what I just finished dealing with with my Arab. :) So I've been there!!
A forum friend of mine has just WON a novice event (3ft jumps) in the US on her less than 13.2 pony....:D
No one thought very much of 14.1hh Teddy O'Connor until he strolled out onto the course on Rolex Three Day in Kentucky and rocked the cross country course in the PanAm games...he was an Olympic short-listed pony. Size doesn't really matter as long as you have the scope and heart.
If your mare can't find her spots, she isn't just fast, she's unbalanced and most likely green over fences. A balanced horse will take a jump three ways, short, long or in-stride without changing the pace of the canter. Jumping is essentially stride control and if you can't ride the canter forward, you can't change the stride.
It may be a good idea to take a step away from jumping and start at the basics. If you aren't sure quite how to get where you want, find a trainer who is experienced in eventing who will have a background in Dressage and cross country. Make sure your trot work is good, your horse is balanced, she's into your hands and is accepting of contact. A horse who doesn't accept contact either roots out of it or draws away and both are a recipe for disaster for jumping and even more so over cross country fences. Work on lateral bending, shoulder-in, haunches-in, leg yields, etc...the best jumpers (in hunters, jumpers or eventing) usually have very solid ground work and a lot of times even hunter riders school second level Dressage movements. Circles are so important in schooling and by changing the size of the circle you make your horse think, help her balance and slow her down in some cases. If you work a lot on lateral movements, you can use them as tools when your mare gets too fast. Asking her for a shoulder-in should make her stand out to her hand, her back should soften and she should slow down if she is being unbalanced. Having this background and these "tools" to use will make cantering and jumping so much easier and enjoyable for both of you.
We have been doing ground poles and still spooked and jumped it as if it were a meter. I lost my stirrups cause I was expecting that. It was my fault to not keep guard at that, but I still was wondering why she did that.
Here is a video of her owner riding her (we are going to buy here soon, once we come up with a bill of sale): kaya - YouTube
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