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coateske 08-03-2011 12:07 PM

Horse running off after fence...psychological?
So my barn recently acquired a new horse, who was trained western, but we've converted to english.I've been riding her this summer, mostly dressage.

In my lessons we've started jumping her over crossrails and some 18' verticals and she gets excited when we jump. If it's a new jump she may suck back or stop 1 or 2 times, but she'll usually walk/hop over them if i ask her to. Anyways, she's been taking off after the jump. She's usually fairly relaxed over the fence but it's like 2 strides after landing she decides to take off...which i think is kind of odd? And i feel like if it were a back issue she's tense up either before the jump (anticipation) or on the landing?

At first i thought it was me because i do have a tendency to jump ahead, but i lunged her last over a low jump and she didn't take off (probably because she could stay more balanced on the circle) but i noticed 2 strides after the jump she'd raise her head and get tight (even if i gave her complete freedom with the lunge line, not touching her mouth).

She does have a history...and i'm wondering if that has something to do with it...let's just say her old western trainer like to utilize walls to work on her sliding stops... and it took the longest time to get her to canter without being nervous that she was going to be run into the wall. She's not the most confident horse, but she's super sweet and has lots of potential.

Has anyone seen anything like this before and/or have ideas on how to work her through it?

ChingazMyBoy 08-06-2011 02:34 PM

Have you considered this isn’t just a training issue?. Horses run because they are either anxious or in pain, I’m not saying this is all the time, I mean – my horse runs around like a nut out in the paddock; I know his certainly not in pain and the way he behaves tells me he’s not anxious or worried about things.

Do you have a video of you riding him? Maybe your accidently pulling on his mouth before or over the jump. You say that she avoids the jump at the approach and then bolts afterwards – gives me the ide it may be a tack, equipment or rider issue. Do you have a coach? Or someone more experienced that can watch you ride? Sometimes having someone on the ground to watch you can be very useful.
Now that she’s done it a few times – are you getting stiff and anxious that she will do it again? She will reflect on this and respond with doing so.

Remember, two very important things – 90% of time it is rider error & if we expect a horse to respond negatively, they will.

However, if you are certain it isn’t pain or rider error – make sure you come into the jump steadily, be confident. Put your leg on and make sure you have a good solid line. Maybe put a few trot polls out in front of it too make her be aware where her legs are and not to rush, once your over the jump you can turn her in a circle – an averaged sized one. Instead of allowing to go off she will have to think, woah.. wait. I’m actually having too do something different. Remember to reward her when she’s doing something correctly – she is only learning and it will build her confidence.

Other times you can mix it up, go over the jump than ask her to do a down wards transition or halt. Hope I could help and goodluck.

Edit; I just realised I call your horse both her and him, sorry! It's four AM.

Spastic_Dove 08-06-2011 03:29 PM

How did you go about training the horse to start jumping?

How drastically are you jumping ahead? Are you a fairly solid jumper otherwise?

My guess is this is a training issue. The horse seems to not be able to or know how to properly balance it's self over the fence and may be lacking confidence.

If you are not solid over the jumps, you may be hindering him as he is still green and a stable rider would be very helpful to him.

Allison Finch 08-06-2011 03:47 PM

Any way to post a video with multiple jumps on it? It sure would help offering advice.

coateske 08-07-2011 09:41 PM

@ChingazMyBoy- That's partially my point... I really think this is something beyond training, or at least the training i've put into her. Even when i test rode her at her old barn (her rider had gone off to college and she'd been sitting in the pasture), she was a bit anxious. And i really do think it has resulted because of her personality (being super sensitive/not confident) and the hard western training she received before.... those don't mix well.

I don't have video but I can try to get some. I'm riding under my trainer and she's said that i'm not catching her in the mouth, i'm staying out of her way on the landing. I'm not jumping that far ahead...but it's more of, i anticipate the jump and that's how i get ahead. i don't know if that makes sense.... i don't jump early, just anticipate it a split second too soon. But i am taking lessons on another horse to work on my eq. because it's not where it should be. my leg is solid and stuff, i'm just not folding from my hips into 2 point enough. kind of like this picture (except my leg is solid and i release well) the point being my rear doesn't retreat to the back of the saddle :P

I do like the circle idea. when i lunged her over fences, she didn't seem to run off afterwards because she had to rebalance her self and it wasn't a free for all.

Also, I realized that I keep my leg on before the fence but because she runs away after i don't keep it on that much...she's not a confident horse, so maybe she needs that leg? even though its sooo counter intuitive. I'll have to try that in my next lesson...

@Spastic Dove
I kind of answered the rider part above...i'm pretty solid, i just don't fold enough in 2 point and anticipate the jump...i read somewhere about waiting for the jump to come to you, not worrrying about getting to the jump, so i'm going to work on that. I'm more of a dressage rider though so like sometimes i'm not a completely confident jumper, but even when i was she'd still take off after the jump.

And we started over trot poles and then worked on a single low x that she could step over, and eventually a little bit of bounces...

@Allison- i do not have any video but i will see if i can get some this week....

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