I am going to start riding a horse named JD, he is a 14 year old Egyptian Arabian gelding and probably stands between 14hh and 15hh. I haven't actually met him yet, he is a friends horse. Now from what my friend has told me about this gelding he is a very good boy, my boyfriend rode this horse and he was a complete beginner had only ever been on a horse once before, and JD did pretty well with him.
Now the thing is that I am going to be doing jumpers with JD and probably cross country if he takes to it alright. My friend has told me that JD is their best jumper and that he is speedy and jumps really well around courses. The only problem is that from what my friend has said, JD has a problem with refusing more than the other horses do. I now how to stay on during a refusal and am pretty used to them from when I first started bonding and learning to jump with Junior. My friend believes that JD refuses sometimes because he loses his confidence and gets intimidated.
Any thoughts or ideas on how to work with him on his confidence and not getting intimidated while jumping? When I do start riding him I will let you know if he feels like he is just being stubborn or if he is really just trying to work with poor confidence. I don't think it is the stubborness cause as I said he was wonderful for my boyfriend. It could also be that he needs a rider that is more willing to push him forward, I don't know the full situation yet.
But anyway any thoughts or ideas on exercises to do with him would be great :] I have high hopes of using him as my next competition horse and possibly doing BN eventing with him.
To build confidence, start with low x's, like he's new to jumping. Reward the crap out of him. Gradually raise the jumps, not constantly through one lesson until he's maxed out, but maybe start with x's, and then low verticals in the same lesson to get a feel for him.
Don't try to find his weakness height right away, remember you are a new team and you need to trust eachother for him to be confident in you and himself, start slow and low. If he gets bored, do some bounces, lots of gymnastics, etc. Next lesson, raise them a little more, and so on and so forth.
You build confidence and trust at the lower levels and only move up when he's 100% solid! You'll do fine.
Please avoid the mistake of "showing" him the jumps first.
This is a well-intentioned training mistake that gives the horses an impression that they get to have a look first before they have to jump. They don't. :-)
Don't jump until you're very comfortable with flatwork, particularly upward transtions and changes of speed within a gait - this ensures he's listening and in front of your leg. Start, as the previous poster suggested, with easy low fences as confidence builders, and work up slowly, but the rule is he must *go* - first time, every time. If you get a refusal, punish quicky and calmly with a stick behind your leg, present him to the jump again and praise profusely when he goes.
When you're ready, make sure to jump lots of grids/gymnastics on a loose rein and a steady, stable position - you want him to be able to jump himself out of trouble, whether or not you've jumped ahead or dropped him and without reliance on your supporting aids.
I agree with Maura.
But I would like to add - horses jump blindly. They cannot see the fence at all when they are 3 strides out from it. That is why they rely 100% on their riders solidity, confidence, support and functionallity.
Here is a great thread on this very topic:
So, before a rider puts blame on the horse, they really should stop and look at what it is they are, or are not doing in the saddle, while on approach to the fence to cause the outcome.
Piggbacking on MIEventer, the signifigance of that is that the vast majority of riders should ensure that they maintain the same balance, direction or pace in the last three strides in front of the fence. Making a change close to the fence is iextremely disconcerting for the horse and may result in a refusal from uncertainy or fear.
As Ian Millar Says *He is an Olypic GP Jumper*
"A good rider blames themselves. A poor rider blames their horse"
Thanks everyone. I never blame the horse as MIEventer has said, I always know that is is something I did wrong and try to fix it.
On that note until I ride this horse I have no idea how he acts under saddle. The friend that owns him isn't an experienced english rider and admits that he never really picked up on doing it correctly and accurately. I am thinking that JD [the horse] might be a little better with a rider that is more confident in their skills. I am going to give it a try here in the next couple weeks and see how it goes. Regardless, I plan on sticking with this horse and helping him through his problems whatever the extent of them may be. I plan on showing him eventually.
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