Misbehaving jumping horses - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 39 Old 05-18-2020, 05:42 PM Thread Starter
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Misbehaving jumping horses

I've noticed that all of the horses at my barn that are higher level jumpers are poorly behaved. Most of them buck, many refuse jumps, and several are aggressive on the ground. But they still have people who want to lease them. Is this just typical of higher-level horses? Like, they are very high strung so they are prone to outbursts? Or is it just my barn? I'm guessing it's just my barn, but I was wondering. I just can't understand why someone would choose to ride a horse like that.

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post #2 of 39 Old 05-18-2020, 07:06 PM
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I've seen these horses. Not sure why they're like that, or why anyone wants to ride those horses either! I feel like sometimes there are shortcuts taken by riders who only care about jumping higher and higher. At least that's what I've observed in my area. People who have these types of horses just don't want to spend time teaching them ground manners and how to be a good horse citizen. They don't school on the flat enough, don't take them out of the ring much, and push them hard so they're stressed all the time and develop vices like cribbing, biting, kicking, etc. Again, I'm thinking of the ones in my area, so not trying to generalize.
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post #3 of 39 Old 05-18-2020, 08:34 PM
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Typically this is behavior caused by riders who want nothing but speed and have no regard for anything else. I don't ride English, but I see this often in the barrel racing population. Some people grab a young horse, teach him to run and turn a barrel, then let everything else go to pot. Those are the yahoos you see riding in the arena yanking on their horse's mouth because they can't be controlled.

These people never go anywhere important with their riding career and tend to ruin horses while they're at it. They give barrel horses a bad name simply because theirs are absolutely nuts. In an event where the only rules are to go fast, follow the pattern (or course), and not hit the obstacles, it's easier for horses and riders to get away with insanity.

Take those horses into a dressage ring and you're done. Some people only care about speed and that's when horses like this tend to show up.

Side note: In all honesty there are a billion things that could make a horse anxious and spooky. This is just one of the worst ones. I have a hard time believing that a large group of horses all acting up is because all of their saddles don't fit or that they're all being fed sweet feed. Often it's purely poor training. Nothing else.

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post #4 of 39 Old 05-18-2020, 09:58 PM
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Its not just your barn AC, sadly.


I had a horse like what you described...not fun.
I leased with option to buy him, working to pay him off for a set price on inspection cause I knew once we worked his issues he was going to be dynamite, unbeatable and worth a fortune...
He was a investment, not a horse I wanted as a forever animal... Honestly, a means to a end and a way for me to get there.
This horse was never taught the basics to build on, no understanding what was expected taught to him but he was scared off the ground, forced to jump so he jumped huge everything.
He would jump a 2' fence like it was a 5' oxer and clear it with tons of room to spare...scary actually to ride.
He could not do a cavaletti, could not..he did not know how, he was terrified of them.

He vibrated at the show grounds and ring side he shook with nerves...forget what mine then were like.
There was no rating him...point and hang on praying he not crash.
My horse was a product of harsh handling and being rushed, scared and shown abuse so he would jump...once he learned it could be different he became a different animal.
I also saw other horses similar who acted out because they did have pain and their bad behavior was a way they tried to escape pain and rough handling of their face, body and hurts endured.
Some horses though are so wound in excitement, they love to jump they vibrate with anticipation and appear absolutely dangerous and they are to the wrong handlers or the inexperienced.
Many of them that resemble what you describe are not fun to ride, but they get the job done and produce the ribbons that some only care about acquiring...
Not a situation I would want to be associated with ever again.
My horse over time and with slow teaching and great care became a wonderful mount but you could never be rough with him or it was like he would mentally snap and go bonkers...quiet , confident rider who asked he would do anything for..
There is usually a reason, always a reason why you are seeing what you see...and knowing you want no part of it is great too.
There is no excuse for seeing what you see. I worked with all levels and training of horses from H/J to jumpers...most of them would stand ringside and snooze but once on their back they were all business and knew the job they had to do...but "aggressive, mean or nasty" that was never tolerated by me or at the barns I worked at..
Horses had no reason to act such a way as that and learned quickly how to behave through firm, fair handling and consistent care.
...
jmo...

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post #5 of 39 Old 05-19-2020, 03:56 AM
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Maybe not 'just' behavioural either, maybe pain - serious jumping is hard on a horse's body, esp if they're not prepared/don't carry themselves well.

Why would people want to ride these horses? Ego??
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post #6 of 39 Old 05-19-2020, 07:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loosie View Post
Maybe not 'just' behavioural either, maybe pain - serious jumping is hard on a horse's body, esp if they're not prepared/don't carry themselves well.

Why would people want to ride these horses? Ego??
I see it in some barns where young girls with wealthy parents ride, and are in a hurry to jump higher and bring home ribbons. They get bored of their plain jane horses very quickly, and get their parents to buy them a bigger, faster, and fancier horse. They don't want to wait, or train, they want to get the expensive horse home and jump, jump, jump.

My daughter's coach insists riders school on the flat, and do hunters before jumpers. You can't have any of that silliness in hunters. But other coaches are into bigger, faster, flashier, and let their kids ride without mastering proper form or schooling the horses properly. These are the same kids who regularly crash into jumps too.
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post #7 of 39 Old 05-19-2020, 09:02 AM
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Too many people value jump height over horse rideability.

I even see some TOP riders failing to put the time into making a horse rideable because they're pros so they can handle it, right? Yeah, but then that leaves them open to checking a horse a little too much or not quite enough and the horse getting in too close or standing off too far, which sometimes causes rails, and sometimes causes wrecks.

If you can reliably ALWAYS check just the right amount, for every horse you ride, you can maybe get away with it.

But combine a focus on jump height over rideability and a horse that's a hotter, more sensitive temperament, and you get the horses the OP talks about. Those horses that are bitey, those horses that are as likely to bolt at a fence as they are to jump it nicely, those horses that are ridden in all manner of contraptions (occasionally cruel) whose riders talk about how "you don't know what it's like to ride a high octane jumping horse" if you have anything to say about it.

You know what? No, I don't know what it's like to ride a high octane jumping horse. Because my horses are rideable. I took four years to get my mare over a 1m vertical, because she needed three years of flatwork, and because I don't increase height until she's jumping in a nice rhythm and responding appropriately to leg and hand. I can put a nervous rider on my big mare and she will take care of them, because she's rideable. But under me, she's as good a jumper as any I've ridden. Better, because I can RIDE her, I'm not just a passenger clinging on and praying.

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post #8 of 39 Old 05-19-2020, 10:14 AM
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I agree with what others have said. Most often this is the result of rushing the horses training and pushing it so hard that it causes stress. Although not about jumping I often comment on a local person that gives backyard lessons to local kids. She has a slew of ponies and teaches her "kids" how to canter and jump. Most of these young riders are not taught the basics of riding and when the graduate to low jumps they are hanging on the horses mouth, have no form, do not post, know nothing of diagonals and the poor lesson ponies and horses suffer with bouncing riders. This person posts prolifically on social media about how her young kids are jumping (small risers) and her kids and parents just rave about the "fun" they have. Some of these riders tried to go to the lesson barn my husband takes lessons at (the trainer is a well known AQHA trainer) and leave very quickly as she takes them back to basics - the trainer puts good form and proper technique over bouncing over a pole and cantering like mad around the arena.

I feel sorry for horses like that as their ending is usually not very pretty.
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post #9 of 39 Old 05-19-2020, 11:15 AM
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I also think that in many cases young riders think it makes them look good if their horse is playing up and they are 'riding' it. They thin it good that the horse is over fed and hyper active.
'Gosh, she must be a great rider, look at her horse spooking and bucking and she can still ride it!'

This is the sort of action that might impress non horsey friends or novice riders, doesn't impress those in the know!

I was amazed when I went to a top event rider's yard and found most of the horses were lacking in manners, nothing terrible but would walk into you, not move back when you entered the stable and fidgety when being led. I asked why this was and was told that they like each horse to have its own personality.

So do I but they can have both manners and personality.
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post #10 of 39 Old 05-19-2020, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Foxhunter View Post
I also think that in many cases young riders think it makes them look good if their horse is playing up and they are 'riding' it. They thin it good that the horse is over fed and hyper active.
'Gosh, she must be a great rider, look at her horse spooking and bucking and she can still ride it!'

This is the sort of action that might impress non horsey friends or novice riders, doesn't impress those in the know!

I was amazed when I went to a top event rider's yard and found most of the horses were lacking in manners, nothing terrible but would walk into you, not move back when you entered the stable and fidgety when being led. I asked why this was and was told that they like each horse to have its own personality.

So do I but they can have both manners and personality.
This seems to be a pretty commonplace belief. At one (5* so we are talking proper pros here) eventing stable I worked at, the only horse that had any manners at all was the one that the girls all said was crazy. He was a handful, but at least he wasn't on top of me or yanking on the lead! They all hated handling him and "made" me handle him every day, while I appreciated the reprieve from all the rude horses. While I do think the number of horses vs the number of stablehands contributed (no time for groundwork when there are 50 horses to be ridden every day and only 5 stablehands), those horses that lacked manners did improve when I handled them, because I had long since perfected the art of correcting without interrupting the flow of the workday.

And I cared enough to do it.

And the girls did not.
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