Won't Jump Small Obstacles
I've started my mare jumping a little while ago on very small jumps, they're probably close to one foot. And now that we've been working at it more, she won't jump anything small (she has a very big stride and can easily just step over it). I'm finding that I have to go higher and wider to get her to jump. We're at about two feet now, and she can still do her little step over. I was planning on taking her to a jumper show and doing trot classes over cross rails, but now I'm thinking she won't even jump the cross rail class, but I don't feel she's ready to canter a full course. Anything I should be doing? Our goal is to do eventing, and I know that the pretraining jumps aren't very big either ... and I don't know how to get her to jump small jumps.
My first thought was to get her to shorten her stride and collect a bit more. That would be accomplished by putting trotting poles closer together before the jump. Hope that helps. She's a very nice looking mare, by the way.
Looks to me like you need to get her moving, I'd start cantering, not tantering (trotting and half cantering) but moving forward so she doesn't have the opportunity to step over. That would drive me nuts! When you canter her she will more than likely try to slow and step the jump, be prepared to make her move. You have to 'untrain' this easy way out for her now. Good luck.
I tried to put trot poles before the jumps (they were six strides apart. Should they be more or less than that?), but my mom came out and said that I should leave a clear path to the jump so that "she doesn't have to think about anything other than the jump."
ETA: Can you put poles after a jump, too?
Agree with above. I will add that you should school on the flat first, and ask for a reliable walk to canter transition, then walk to the tiny jumps and cue to canter right in front. Mix it up and ask for different things. I don't think she is listening to you bc she thinks that she has jumping figured out. So school on the flat to get better obedience. =D
For the distance between trotting poles you can work down to no strides between poles. At that point you'll probably have to experiment a bit to get the distance right but by putting the poles closer together here you create the shortening of stride; when this happens the horse starts shifting it weight on the hindquarters (collecting) and sets the scene to have the horse actually jump, rather than step, over the jump with height.
I think a carrot is stuck in my post - I wonder if it will show up when I submit the post?
If it's too easy the horse sees no reason to exert the energy to pop over.
I have the same problem with my horse occasionally as he is much more experienced at jumping that I am (I just started learning, he used to be an awesome steeplechaser). I find that I can get him to jump my 'baby jumps' if I give him more impulsion. We also constantly change the direction I come at the jump from, the look of the jump, put ground poles in front/behind, etc. Basically do anything to make him look at the jump as different so that he is concentrated on the jump.
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