Refusing Small and Large Jumps - How Do I Correct?
Today I have a problem with my 2nd pony - Storm. He is the most amazing jumper I have ever ridden. He is 12 hands high but he doesn't do serious jumps, he does about (pony) knee height. Which he clears like a charm.
He has 1 problem though, he refuses most of his jumps. I actually get quite annoyed by this and I get very angry. I've tried kicking before/over the jump but still manages to stop in front of it, I usually turn straight around and start again. He still refuses. I turn around and make him do more work but that still doesn't teach him ANYTHING.
By now you can probably see my frustration. So I am asking you guys for help. How do I correct this behaviour?
Thanks for taking your time to read this and hopefully you can help my situation.
-get a vet check, check his hooves too - vet has to say he is sound to jump
-check all his tack if it fits him
-Get a trainer
-free jump him
-get a more experienced to try to jump with him
-If all is fine, get a load of lessons to learn how to ask a horse to jump.
How old is he? Has he jumped before? Has he had problems before?
He is 5 years old, so quite young. He has jumped way before, and he has always had this problem.
Just asking for someone to give me some tips.
If there only small, make him walk over them.
But make sure you grab him mane, or put a neck strap on or something as you don't want to jab him in the mouth when he goes over as it may be a bit if a cat leap.
Him being so young as well, don't jump him too much, you'll make him sour and he won't really enjoy it, jump once a week at most.
If you have ruled out physical pain and tack fit issues, my suggestion is to go back to the basics. It could be the pony not wanting to jump, afraid to jump or not feeling balanced or it could be you interfering in some manner, dropping him ahead of the fence, off balance, popping him in the mouth when he does actually jump.
You said he is an amazing jumper and clears pony height fences easily but he refuses most of his jumps so something there is confusing me. He may be able to clear a jump but it is clear he doens't have the attitude of a willing jumper.
Basics: let's address you first...do a lot of two point at the trot and trotting over ground poles. Make sure your position is really strong and steady. Knot your reins at about the withers and go through the poles, in two-point, with your arms outstretched...you may find your two-point isn't as solid as you think and will give you a place to start to strengthen..it isn't never a bad idea to go back to this type of exercise even if your position is very solid. You have to remember that YOUR balance affects the horse's ability to jump. If a horse is confident and competent in jumping they can handle a little rider unbalance but if a less experienced jumper the horse needs the rider to be better balanced and consistent in that balance.
The pony: Before actually jumping this pony again, my suggestion is to lunge him over jumps first. If he jumps more easily without a rider than it is a balance issue, either his with a rider or your balance itself. If you have the area available, allowing him to free jump (not attached to a lunge line and no rider) may also help. Once he seems more confident, start at the bottom again when you ride...do poles, then small cavaletti, then small jumps etc. You need to rebuild his confidence in jumping. Trot and canter over poles...pay attention to your distances and your position.
As with others, if you still can't stop the refusals a trainer is going to be a must. We can give suggestions here but since we can't see what is happening we can only guess as to the actual problem. Yelling, kicking, using a crop before a jump won't solve the problem..it only makes the horse/pony more afraid of the rider than they are of the jump and that is a major accident just waiting to happen as they are highly unpredictable as to their reaction to a jump. If this was an occasional issue the voice or crop reminder may be just that, a reminder; but your issue sounds much deeper than just the occasional slip up.
Back to basics - start taking him over poles and then move to cross rails. I would also see if someone can film you jumping him, there might be something you are doing to make him refuse.
Also, getting angry will do nothing. You said you get quite angry and then make him turn around and do more work. He could very well be getting mixed signals and starting to view jumps as nothing but negative. You as the rider and trainer need to stay focused and calm, and not angry.
Don't outrule the possibility that he just may not enjoy jumping and may be happier with a different job.
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I agree with the above.. he may just not enjoy it. Also, when he stops, don't turn around and start again, that's letting him win. Simply back him up directly in front of the jump until about 4 strides away, then try again. If he really don't enjoy it, I wouldn't force it upon him however.
Thanks to my dad coming out and doing some training with us, Storm has improved his jumping and now jumps fine. He enjoys it. If he didn't i think i'd know.
Can you post a video?
#1 no-no is turning a horse away from a jump. Start small, and if the horse refuses, DO NOT TURN THEIR NOSE AWAY. Keep them facing the jump and make him walk over hoof by hoof if need be. If you turn them away, you teach them that they can get away with refusing.
Then comes the ego.. horses are an excellent lesson in humility. You will never be the best of the best, and even if you are, someone will always be nipping at your heels. Recognize that you are constantly learning and that everyone is here to help you learn. People are not attacking you here, they're trying to provide assistance, and have very valid points for how much information they have to work with.
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