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horsegirlmaddy 07-14-2010 07:15 PM

Jumping training help
There's a funny story that goes with why we started training Copper to jump. Copper is a Western show horse who my mentor recently bought to be a lesson horse. He goes English and Western, but hasn't done any jumping as far as we know. On Sunday, Copper (who is unfortunately very herd-bound, but not when he's working), jumped a four-foot fence to get back to his herd. Seeing him do this, we decided to start jumping him under saddle. I warmed him up trotting over a couple little crossrails before asking him to trot into verticals. I would have cantered him over, but he was still hesitant and not QUITE sure what to do with his feet over the jumps, and I wanted to build up his confidence. The highest we did was a 1'6 vertical, so nothing big at all! But even after a couple tries and about an hour of riding off and on over little crossrails and small verticals, Copper wouldn't JUMP, he just trotted over the fences.

So I have a couple questions. One, how can I get him to jump over instead of trotting over? And how can I get him to have tight knees? I know he had really good knees over the four-foot fence he jumped, but how can I get him to have good knees over smaller jumps? And how can I build up his confidence so he can canter over jumps confidently? Basically, what do I do next with his jumping training?

Cookies to whoever read that whole thing!

munschk 07-15-2010 01:53 AM

Throwing my two cents in, my horse would also only trot over smaller jumps but when they got a bit bigger, she jumped over them perfectly fine so in experience it was never a problem that she trotted instead of jumped tiny jumps. You can always try and slightly bigger cross when he's ready for it, because they look 'bigger' to horses, even though the center where you're jumping is not that high and see what he does.

Tight knees, lots of cavaletti will help with that. Grids etc, all of that.

As for cantering over jumps, start off first with cantering over a pole on the ground, then a pole between the uprights of the jump and then finally, when he's doing all the rest calmly, canter him over a small jump. Trick is to take it slow and go at a pace that he can understand what you're asking him. Also remember, you want a nice steady canter into the jump, no rushing!

horsegirlmaddy 07-15-2010 11:39 AM

Thank you!! I think that might be the same with Copper, because I know he can JUMP. And isn't it a good thing that he's relaxed enough to trot over them? And if we canter in, he might jump it. I only want him to jump them because we might be competing in hunters, and going one hoof at a time doesn't look so good :P

That's good advice about going slow and building him up to it. Right now, when we warmed up at the canter, I put down some ground poles, and he jumped so high over them, which I was TOTALLY not expecting! And currently, we will have no problems with rushing, because he has quite a slow, even Western-style canter (but it's still a canter and not a lope when he's being ridden English, thank god!)

munschk 07-15-2010 11:50 AM

I believe it is a good thing, my old instructor was often trying to get my horse to trot over small jumps instead of jumping then (back when she was starting her jumping training) so I guess its good?

A lot of horses do that in the beginning, jump over the canter poles, so continue doing them until he simply canters over them without jumping, then he's nice and relaxed with the exercise. Then move on to a small jump. Just be warned, even some calm horses sometimes get excited about jumping and their nice calm canter becomes rushed going into a jump because of it.

Glad I could help a little bit though =)

gypsygirl 07-15-2010 12:44 PM

i would do a lot of trot poles to a small cross rail to help him get his feet & sit back.

as far as cantering into jumps, i would do a lot of work over just poles. when he is getting his feet right you can put a placement pole 9ft out from a crossrail to help him know where to take off

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