Jumping a younger green horse
I started riding a green Thoroughbred and he is doing really well. I started taking him over ground poles and small cross rails. He is very brave and goes anything that is in front of him.
Now, I'm afraid that I am not riding him correctly, and that I might hit him in the mouth or hurt his back...and then make him afraid to jump. I tried riding a two point all the way to the jump, so I would stay off his back and let him figure out his own spot, but when I did that he takes really long spots. If I ride him how I normally ride, and wait for the jump to get in my two point, he takes off when I stand up..and doesn't take such a long spot. I don't hit him in the mouth when I ride normally, but I'm afraid that he may jump weird or take a long spot, then I'll hit him the mouth and bounce on his back, therefor making him sour to jumping.
Am I just being too cautious? Or is there anything I should or should not be doing when training a green horse to jump?
It sounds like you're progressing well so far with him.
Perhaps it's just me, but I've noticed that greener horses (to jumping) tend to be more comfortable jumping a little off the base, that is slightly long. Not all green horses, by any means, but a good number that I've worked with. I don't see a problem with you riding him up to the correct spot at the base. It will help him to feel more comfortable with this take off spot. If you're worried about bumping him in the mouth or bouncing on his back just grab some mane. It'll keep your hands in one place and will help remind you to stay off his back in the landing.
I like to do a lot of lunging over jumps with my green horses that way they can learn how to controle thier body before i add me into the mix. I ride small cross rails and poles for ever so I am also keeping the control. I do not want them to start rushing and getting excited. i also like to place a pole one stride out from the jump and one just infront to help keep them from taking off to long. Doing alot of these with your self will help you get more stable to. If you are worried about getting him then stay small and work on your leg and seat till you feel more stable.
If you are new to jumping I don't suggest teaching a horse to jump as there is a lot involved. If you don't have an instructor then please try to find one to help you with this :) in the mean time if you insist on continuing yourself definitely grab mane before the fence, practice lots of no stirrup and 2 point in walk, trot and canter to strengthen yourself so you can hold the 2 point over the fence and you won't be worried about hitting him on the back. A 2 point is not standing up in your stirrups, your leg should stay solidly underneath you supporting your upper body, close your hip angle just a little bit and bring yourself out of the saddle a few inches, place your hands up his neck and grab that mane. You should just be following your horses movement as HE jumps, he should not be jumping when you do.
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Thanks everyone for the advice!
Rosie, I'm not new to jumping by any means...I've been jumping for about 10 years. But I haven't jumped a young green horse in a long time. I'm still trying to get the feel of him.
I've been getting a little paranoid I guess, because I've been reading about horses becoming sour to jumping. I really don't want that to happen, because he is such a nice horse with a lot of potential. I just didn't know if I should be just riding how I normally do and sitting to the base of the jump...or ride in a 2-point or half seat all the way to the jump..just so he can figure out his own footing.
But he seems to be better if I just sit the whole time. I'm just scared if he takes off weird or something happens and I get him in the mouth and then he'll be afraid to jump.
I think you are doing him no favors by going into a 2 point early and letting him figure it out, he is green and needs your help.
If you are worried about catching his mouth, that is a separate issue from a 2 point and your body. You could move your hands up and grab mane rather than going into a 2 point.
Good to see you are back in the saddle.
First, what is your definition of 'green'? Is he green to jumps or green in general? Personally I don't point a green horse at jumps period. They must be have solid flat work first, in particular responding to aids given to change pace, leg yielding and will yield the shoulder/hind on command.
By the time I am jumping a green horse, I ride to the jump exactly as I would on an experienced horse: If they try to approach on an angle I correct for that. If they try to rush I correct for that. All the aids are clear and understood by the horse so that jumping is really no different from flat work except you are suspended momentarily in the air. If you get into two point too early you will lose all the aids coming from your seat and therefore lose the ability to give your horse direction and reassurance.
The only thing I do differently on a green horse is give a little extra release and grab some mane in case of a greenie cat leap, which can happen too :wink:
with green horses i like to start with exercises that set them up for success. so i start with trot poles, then trot poles to a cross rail, and then a 5 stride line with a placement pole at the first jump. this way i can get in 2pt, give a release a couple strides out [so they learn they wont get yanked on], and they learn to jump correctly. their is a fine line between teaching them to jump for themselves and doing all the work for them. you want them to learn correctly, but you also when them to be correct even if you arent micromanaging their every stride. to a certain extend they do need to just figure it out on their own.
Thanks everyone for the great advice.
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