New Ideas Needed
So when my boy was learning how to jump he was extremely cautious and unsure of the jumps to begin with. Well one night while walking over a crossrail, he got his leg stuck in the middle somehow, it snapped underneath his belly, the girl riding him fell off and he was traumatized.
Ever since then he would not go near, much less touch a pole on the ground. So I started working with him, and desensitizing him to the big scary horse-eating jumps, and we started from the ground up, going over ground poles and crossrails, and we went up and up to where we have jumped 3 feet.
Here's where the problem came up. When I was first re-training him, I let him look, sniff, measure, and bite the jumps before jumping them. Just to make sure he was completely familiar and comfortable with them, making sure he wouldn't get scared. My trainer wanted me to wean him off of that habit, which I agree with, and so she informed that there would be about 2 months of complete hell and of him testing me. Well, it's been a long time of hell and he's not getting any better. When I don't allow him to look at them he refuses, he's unhappy, he gets frustrated and angry. Only when I ride him with a crop in each hand will he eventually go over them.
It's sad though, because he's a phenomenal jumper, like I said, we've jumped 3 feet, and he absolutely loves it. He has such talent and he's so happy when he's actually jumping, it's just the getting there that's a problem.
I also know that 99.9% of the time it's the rider's fault for refusals, but my trainer has told me I'm riding him correctly and well.
Lately we've been conditioning for an endurance ride and working on some dressage, and I've told myself that if in 2 years when I leave for college if he's still not jumping consistently that I won't make him anymore, but I find that such a shame because he's such a talented happy jumper.
Any new ideas for me to try on him? Keep in mind that he's extremely smart and strong willed.
so he would go up to a jump, stop and sniff it, then jump it...and you did this up to three feet???
i would maybe try jumpinghis on the lead line... andtry making him go over, crack the whip if you have to. but i dont really knwo the horse, and i dont really understand...so im not sure that would be such a good idea ;)
Oh no, sorry for not clarifying, I mean while on him, I'd let him walk up, look at the jump, sniff it and all that, then ride a big circle, come back to the jump and then jump it. Not from a standstill.
Thanks for the idea! I've tried it before and it didn't work out so well but I'll see if my trainer will help me.
Well if your horse is scared and frustrated, I certainly wouldn't add to that by hitting him with the crop just to get him over. Have you tried free-jumping him? If you set up sort of a channel down one side of the ring with a few jumps in it and just see if he'll go down and jump them all. If he jumps them all without hesitating or sniffing them first, then he's not really scared of the jump, he's just getting away with it when you ride him. If he does refuse to jump even without a rider, you may just need to start over again with ground poles, crossrails, etc, and not let him sniff the jumps before jumping.
But then, my view on the crop, i'm not sure if this is right, but I mean, if he goes over the same jump every single day, and I let him sniff it every single day, he should not be that "scared" of it, should he? That's why my trainer was having me use a crop because she didn't think that after every single day of doing the same exact jump over and over again, that we should have this problem. But maybe it's just the routine?
Maybe start with just a plain ground pole and walk over it. Deep breaths, sit deep, and relaxed and act as though nothing is different. If he gets nervous and won't step over it, try having some one lead you over it. If he goes over several times by himself calmly, trot it. Then canter. Then trot over a pole raised a few inches on one side, then a tiny cross pole, etc. If at any time he refuses, gets nervous or seems upset, drop it back to a ground pole and walk over, then keep going. This might take days or it might take weeks, but take it slow.
Never ask more than he'll give you and go in baby steps. if he starts trusting and you demand more than he will give, it will take even longer to build up his confidence again
do you know for a fact he dosent have sight problems?
1dog3cats17rodents, what you just typed is EXACTLY what I did, but I think like you said, I will back all the way up and re-start. Thanks for the tips :)
And sillybunny, I know for a fact that he does not have sight problems.
I do not allow horses to sniff jumps. If they are really looky, I will walk them up to the jump and allow them to look at it. I had an old coach who did not let me let my horse sniff jumps, I cannot remember the exact reasoning. I agree with the pole idea. Go right back down to poles and then work your way back up to cavalettis and grids. He likely needs to get his confidence back and he will get a lot of that confidence from you as a rider. Make sure you praise him when he is good and let him know he is fine with your body language. Sit tall, keep your leg on, and drive with your seat if you have to if he is a little nervous.
You could also try freejumping as someone mentioned.
I think positive reinforcement is the best Method, start small again but don't give him the opportunity to stop or sniff at the jumps. When he does it, praise him and when he doesn't make him, not by cropping him (i personally have no problem with the crop but in this situation it will probably make your horse more headstrong and resistant) but by not allowing him to turn away from, sniff, shy or back away from the jump. Everytime he tries something different you have to be ready to block him, not aggressively but just so he knows he has no alternative but to go over the jump.
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