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horseylover1_1 05-23-2008 05:58 PM

Refuses too much! (Help!)
Okay. I have a 23-year-old Saddlebred which I have recently started to jump. (2 months) He can, I know he can. The problem is he does not want to. If I approach it slowly, walk or slow trot, he pops over it just fine. However, if I canter toward it he runs out! When he does that I give him a nice smack with the whip. It worked at first, but recently he has ignored it. :roll: I know I should trick him to do it, which I do, but I want to jump from a canter straight on. What can I do? Thanks everyone!

JustDressageIt 05-23-2008 07:34 PM

You need to ride your horse between your hands and legs. Don't LET him run out or refuse; remember you need to control the shoulder, not the nose; if you just point his nose to the jump, he can say "haha no!" and push his shoulder out.
If needed, you can put poles leaning up against the standards to make "wings" that won't let him run out.

horseylover1_1 05-23-2008 09:58 PM


Originally Posted by JustDressageIt
You need to ride your horse between your hands and legs. Don't LET him run out or refuse; remember you need to control the shoulder, not the nose; if you just point his nose to the jump, he can say "haha no!" and push his shoulder out.
If needed, you can put poles leaning up against the standards to make "wings" that won't let him run out.

How exactly do you do that? I have done wings, but he is so smart I think he knows what I'm doing. I really need to know how to control the shoulder, I have not been in training since last summer. :(

upnover 05-24-2008 01:02 AM

this is one of those times when it would be so nice to see a video! there are so many things that could be going on...

1. is he green over fences and learning how to canter them?
2. is he hurting anywhere?
3. are you anticipating a refusal when you canter in?
4. have you ever accidently hit him in the mouth/back when you canter in?
5. is he afraid?
6. are you afraid?

Horses will stop because of pain, fear, or a learned habit. Assuming that this is purely an attitude thing and not a physical or 'green' issue... I'd start off by cantering lots and lots of poles on the ground so he gets used to steping over something in his canter stride. Then i would suggest making a jump that's very small. (like, a tiny crossbar he can easily step over) Then canter towards it with your legs long, seat deep, staring intently at the jump. Basically wtih your entire body say "jump it". Your eyes should always be on the top rail (never at the bottom of the fence) until right before the fence you look past it. If you feel him at all ask the question "are you sure" (hesitates even slightly, barely slows his pace, lifts his head, looks somewhere else, etc), close your leg on. It is very important that your hands are independant from your body because as he goes to the jump you can't let him look left or right! If he stops, his nose better be pointed straight in front of him, in front of the fence. If he stops, force him to go over it, even at a stand still if that's where he's at (it's tiny, he can do it). If he's going to jump it from a stand still grab mane as he goes over so you don't hit him in the mouth. Do it over and over again. Give him huge praise once he gets over. Also I'd suggest always cantering as soon as he lands (regardless of whether he steps over it or just kind of trots over). That way he learns that after the jump is always a time to be forward (not fast, forward).

Equina 05-24-2008 01:33 AM


Originally Posted by upnover
3. are you anticipating a refusal when you canter in?

This was the biggest obstacle I had to overcome when I was working with a pony who would run out like you describe. On approach, I was always thinking in my head, "ok, if he goes left, I need to immediately use my left leg and right rein to get him back over to the right...if he goes right, I need to...etc" I was telling him to run out with my body language without even knowing it.

I finally realized this, and was able to overcome it (and so did the Pony). I put an extra jump standard on either side of the jump so that it kind of boxed us in. Then, I would give us a long, straightaway for the approach so we could get well balanced and centered. Then all I had to do was look up and straight (upnover said at the top rail and then just beyond the jump). I just looked STRAIGHT beyond the fence the entire time.

I also lowered the fence a little at first because I was suffering from upnover's Number 6 (I was a little scared).

That was basically a really long post saying, "I agree with upnover!"

jazzyrider 05-24-2008 01:37 PM

my 25 year old does this. i put it down to him telling me he is too old for this carry on lol the vet also suggested that his age may be playing a factor. cougar seems to have decided that he has spent plenty of years jumping things so now he just wont unless he is just plodding along and can pop over the jump without too much effort and to be honest, considering his age im happy to let him do that.

can i ask why you are teaching such an old horse to jump?

sunners 05-24-2008 03:44 PM

Jumping a 23 year old horse who enjoys it and is healthy is fine - but you need to make sure that you aren't pushing your horse too hard. (Jumping can be very hard on the joints and such, so I'd only stick to crosspoles and small verticals no more than once a week, and have the horse on a glucosamine supplement).

Starting out over crosspoles is your best bet. The low dip in the middle gives the horse a low spot to jump, and it looks more inviting to the horse.

When you star to do low verticals, leave one end of the jump up on the standard, and let the other side of the pole rest on the ground. (This is like half a crosspole :) ) This gives the horse the option to jump the low side, which looks inviting, or jump the higher side. Still aim for the middle, but allow the horse to take the lower route until he or she is comfortable. Do this at the trott and the canter.

Do canter excercises on a 20 m circle over poles, to help your horse with distances (trotting into a jump is often easier for the horse to find a distance. Cantering can be hard. if your horse isn't getting the right distance, a refusal is a possibility).

You need to make sure that when you discipline your horse, you aren't going to far with it. Sometimes, if you get too upset with the horse at a refusal, the horse will start to jump out of fear rather than willingness, which is sad. You want to be encouraging, but take action when needed.

If you're getting angry at your horse because they're refusing out of confusion or frustration, you need to take a step back and start again.

I hope this helped !

horseylover1_1 05-24-2008 11:10 PM

Well under my circumstances I can only get one horse. I love jumping, and I may have him awhile, so...

as far as physical abitlity the vet said for a horse his age, he looks very good. Little arthritus, you know. I guess he is jumping about a foot at this point. For some reason he hates x's. I guess I can try them again. Lately I have trotted him toward a jump, than maybe 7 feet before the jump I canter him and he ususally does that. I am building on that. Maybe next time I can try 8 feet or something.

sunners 05-24-2008 11:56 PM

The fact that you're cantering 7 feet before the jump may be the issue. He might be refusing because of distances.
Start by cantering ground poles.

I'd put about 5 on a 20 meter circle, or space them out to his striding, you may need more or less. Aim for the same number of strides between the land and take off of each ground pole.

This will help him with distances.

When you want to start cantering, rather than asking for the canter that late, maybe actually fully canter in.

Set up a vertical, make a 1/2 X (like I said, drop one end completely to the ground) and let him canter the lower end of the verticle. Just sit up, be encouraging, look past the jump, and remember to give a small release :)

If you can, maybe you can try joining a group lesson or have an instructor come out to help you.

horseylover1_1 05-26-2008 10:43 PM

He actually jumps better if I do it at 7 feet. But, he seems to be getting better, now that I am being encouraging instead of mad when he does not jump. He is actually almost starting to like it... he jumped it with about a foot to spare twice today. I guess some horses need discipline, but most need the encouragement. I'll keep you posted.

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