Jumping... Good News and Bad News
Jerry has been very good about jumping most things up until about 2'3". He seems to be enjoying himself, actually. Anyways. We have a slight problem, and a good thing. I'll start out with the good thing.
Today in my lesson, my instructor had us doing a grid, which I thought would end up a complete disaster. Well, once again, Jerry proved me wrong. :D The grid was three trot poles, and then three jumps spaced out so that he could take one stride in between each one. He was PERFECT going through it! I was so proud! I didn't think he had the ability to do that yet! Plus, he seemed to enjoy thundering through the jumps (he was going very quickly...). My instructor told me that in this situation, though, you want a bit faster than lazy so that they get through it. Anyways, I was very proud.
On to the problem. Jerry HATES single fences. I had him going over maybe a 2' verticle the other day, and we had tons of refusals! I know I was in a proper position, he was headed for it straight, and I had my leg on, reins short (but not pulling), and I was encouraging with my seat. He just DID NOT like it! I can put him through a grid perfectly, but not a single fence. Any ideas why? Any suggestions on how to get him over it easily and enjoyably? :?
when you did the single jump were you trotting or cantering into it ?
i would guess that he is having trouble knowing when to take off with out a placement pole.
I always trot the first time, then we go up to a canter. He usually does okay at the trot, you know, he gets over it (not very nicely though). But when you pick up the canter he either races through it and takes it way too big or stops in front of it and takes it really high, or just ducks out of it and doesn't do it at all.
Maybe he's doing better at the grid since it's not just a big jump set out there. Confidence wise doing the trot poles first allows him to be doing something easy that he knows is safe and he can handle and builds his confidence going into the jumps where as a jump on its own may be a little unnerving to him.
So should I put a few trot poles in front of the jump and work my way up to jumping it on it's own?
It is actually more difficult for a horse to see a decipher the height and width a vertical fence, rather than that of an oxer or a series of fences.
When a horse approaches an object, it will actually go out of focus and (depending on the object) eventually disappear from his field of vision. He also has poor depth perception - and I can relate this to my sister, who has zero depth perception, and does showjumping.
Imagine what the horse sees when trotting or cantering to a fence. He relies on you to get him there, and teach him to see those distances. Vertical, single fences have no depth. My sister tells me that these are the fences that scare he the most on course, because she can't see the distance very well. The horse may not be able to see the distance or the height very well, and this causes some to over-jump, take off early, refuse, et cetera.
Now, your guy. First, I would check for any vision problems that may be hindering him furthur than a regular horse. Second, check yourself - are you letting him have his head to freely adjust his vision (does he have a poorly adjusted martingale or something of the sort on)? Are you hestitating, or to the opposite, being aggressive? Are you being his confidence, his leader, giving him a reason to trust you?
Set up the fence with things like trot poles (or canter poles), ground lines, anything to give it some depth, and then slowly take that depth away until he is more sure of himself.
And remember to be understanding and empathetic - when a horse refuses or does something silly over a jump, he has a good reason for doing such. Don't get angry, don't get passive - just reassess, retry, find the root of the problem, and approach it. It already sounds like you are doing such though! ~
Check out these articles. I also saw a video a while back that simulated the horses vision as it approached a jump, but I can't find it. I'll try to, though.
Wikipedia - Equine Vision
Suite 101 - Horse Vision
^^ i can totally relate to that, i really only have vision in one eye & so my depth perception is basically not... once im close to a jump i really have no idea where im at i just have to feel it. verticles especially on a diagonal are very hard, i just have no idea where the jump is. horses dont just know their striding when they start out jumping. i would use trot poles or a single placement pole in front of single jumps.
Video's would really help to decipher what is going on :)
he is trying to tell you he is not happy maybe he is not confident! maybe removew the large jumps and do trot pole, cross rails and cavellettis to build hid confidence.
the rushing tells me that though he is jumping he is trying to get it over with as fast as possible!
HOw old is has been jumping long?
Could his legs and saddle be hurting him?
However,On the flip side. I used to ride a horse that used to rush because he was SO excited!!! If you jumped him ANYTHING under 3ft he would be bored to death (he was a 4'3 jumper) and he would rush like CRAZY because he was excited and just wanted to go higher.
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