Is 3 to young for my filly to jump? Or should I wait till shes 4?
I would wait until she's 4; then that way you dont have to worry about soundness issues later in life.
You could introduce one or two SMALL crossrails for something new every once in a while, but I would make sure that she has w/t/c and some lateral movements (ie leg yielding, shoulder in) down before asking her to jump.
ok becuase she is allready showing potential she has long legs and a streamline apperence she is sound but like you said I'll wait till she's 4 to do anything big, I'm hoping to build her up to 4" jumps.
I agree, wait until she's 4. :)
Yeah, jumping is high joint stress.
I would definitely wait until she is older to even start her. As for jumping 4', I would not plan on building her up to that as a four year old. I would consider her maturity and how well she advances in her training and base height increases on that alone.
She will not likely be fully grown at age four, so do you think that landing from 4' jumps will benefit her long term joint health? My gelding was started jumping lightly as a 6 year old, and he took to it very naturally - he loved it. As a 7 year old, he took every height increase with confidence, and by the end of the summer season, he was jumping over 3' consistently. He jumped all through the winter, and was off for several weeks as an 8 year old due to some stone bruises, but is now jumping 3'9" fairly consistently as an 8 year old.
With jumping being such a high impact sport on the body and mind, what is the rush. I am not saying that practicing with ground rails and low cross poles are not a great idea to get her striding down, your seat position down, and her confidence and relaxations up, but I would think very hard about waiting to add any height until she is a couple of years older if you have any concern about her long term soundness.
One other thing to consider is both of your training level. Do you have a solid base in huntseat equitation? Does she know how to move collected with impulsion and consistency through the walk, trot and canter. Does she pick up both leads when cued? Sidepass? Halfpass? direct and indirect rein? back? turn on haunches? forehand? etc...? I consider these all things that should be a prerequisite to any specialized sport (jumping, reining, gaming, etc). If you and your horse are not able to do these things, how are you going to make quick, subtle, and necessary corrections in stride, pace, lead, direction, etc. that are needed when jumping? I am not saying it is not possible (I know it is), but that seems like a lot for a 3 year old to have mastered.
If it were me, I would create a checklist including the above flatwork, and some others you may think of, and when your horse can do everything on your list, begin working on jumping.
If she has a natural ability now, it will still be there in a couple of years, but be even better with more training, and will last longer if you prevent damaging growing joints.
You think im going to make her jump 4" when she's 4? Are u crazy? lol no no no u understood me wrong I said I am going to build her up. Thanx u guys thats what In thought, becuase people back where I ride were saying I should teach her jumping at 3 they said it wasn't too young and horses were incredably strong, but I thought when there that young there bones arn't fully developed.
And also, she is very intelligent but I don't do that whole sidepass, shoulder in stuff yet, but I can still do jumping, I allready have good seat position and all that becuase I train jumping. It's just these people over here are confusing me! lol I have taken her over poles at the walk and trot.
But she needs to do alot of work becuase she's well, a race horse! lol She's a paint but she has alot of thoroughbreds in her blood including Man O' War, Sir Gallahad, War Admiral, and Snip Bar.(i love bragging bout that! he he!)She's very hyper!
Yeahh definately wait until she's four. Like other posts mentioned, jumping forces a lot of pressure on their joints. And even if you start jumping now and she seems fine, it will show up later on when she's older. I know a woman who jumped her 2 YEAR OLD at 2'6!!!! Despite all the persistence she got from myself and others around the barn, she argued that her horse seemed fine and wasn't coming up lame. Well, fast forward to a couple years down the road and her horse is laid up in a stall at 4 years old, retired to a life of easy trail riding and light flat work without any jumping. I feel really bad for him because he is not allowed to go out to pasture except for a few hours each day. He is passionate about working and never wants to stop, but unfortunately he has to. It turned out he has severe bone chips and the onset of chronic laminits. His ignorant owner refused to keep him because he was "worhtless" but forutnately for the horse the barn owner didn't have the heart to see him go, so she took him on. it is a sad story and let it be a lesson to all people who are jumping their young horses to early. :cry:
And in the next year, while you wait for her body to develop, you can do a lot to prepare for jumping (so you won't have to do it later!) Ground poles at Walk, Trot, and Canter will help both of you judge distance better...probably more for her since it sounds like you're an experienced jumper.
Also, something I didn't think of until now (I'll be starting jumping my 8 y/o Paint/TB soon): Scary jumps! Get her used to going over ground poles that have standards set on the sides, flower boxes all over, and anything else she may encounter on a hunter/jumper course!
Like everyones said, wait until 4.
We don't train our horses past cross rails and 2 feet at 4 either. I know lots of people will jump a lot higher sooner, but there a LOT of things you can do in jumping training that doesn't need higher jumps. Things like changes, pace, regularity, confindance and responce can all be taught without jumping over 2 feet. It also gives the horse a very safe amount of time to grow up, and GREATLY reduces the chance of the horse developing unsoundnesses like arthritus as it ages. We focus on basic flat at 3, latteral movements, leads, etc and basics to jumping at 4, and then they're ready to really ride at 5. Once the horse is 5, we know it's bones are physcally mature, and we'll start on higher jumps. We find that since we took the time as 4 year olds to get the basics perfected, height doesn't scare them, and they can enjoy their job more because they learned how to do it so well at an easy level.
I would STRONGLY recomend teaching your horse latteral movements before even consider jumping. We don't start our horses on anything past ground poles until they recognise the signals and pick up correct leads. And that comes from good schooling on the flat. It can help a lot when jumping. If your horse doesn't know latteral aids, it will more likely take to running out when confronted with a test than a horse that you can keep straight all the way to the jump with your leg.
I hope this helps, good luck.
EDIT: A little story about jumping horses too fast.
There's a barn in town here that's natorious for jumping horses to young and pushing them too high. At one show, they actually took a 4 year in a 5-bar-challenge (5 jumps in a row, keep raising the jumps until they knock them down). Unfortuanately, the 4 year old won (highest was 3'9, it was a small show, lol), making the owner think what they did was right. But the truth is, is that they had been jumping him all day at 2'9 - 3'0, jumpers with tight turns and tricky lines. The poor horse was so scared, and when his rider pulled out the whip, he shut down. He wouldn't move, and then he would rear before giving into her and finishing the course. He was afraid, and they hadn't taken the time to school him. The straight line of jumps was a relief to him. After he went down it twice, he grew a smile on his face and just did it, because he is SUCH a good horse, and FINALLY understood what he was being asked to do! The story does have a happy ending though. 2 weeks later a good friend of mine bought him. He had 2 huge splints from the show, that have gone down a lot since, thank goodness. The first time she rode him he was SUPER tense and was trying to rear and bolt. She simply made him walk, and when she did, she left him alone, he hasn't reared or put a foot wrong since. They're spending the next year focusing on dressage and very basic jumping, since he was scared so badly. The first time we did a cross rail he got a bit hot, but we just trotted it afew times, and now he completely trusts my friend isn't going to push him too fast, and he's doing everything she asks of him, as if he knows that this girl saved him.
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