Free jumping! - The Horse Forum
  • 2 Post By ACinATX
  • 4 Post By Foxhunter
  • 4 Post By ApuetsoT
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post #1 of 3 Old 02-27-2020, 03:32 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: CenTex
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Free jumping!

OK, now on to something I can do with Pony that doesn't require a saddle. In response to my post about getting him ready to be trained to jump, someone suggested basically free jumping him. That sounded like fun, so I tried something today.

I put a pole perpendicular to and touching one wall of the arena. I put an orange safety pylon / cone thing about 7 meters away from the pole, lined up to the center of the pole. The goal would be to start at one pylon, cross the pole, and then touch the other pylon. I wanted to do it at liberty.

He picked it up pretty quickly. A couple of times he ducked out of the open side, but I just sent him back when he did that. So he walked over it enough times to where he understood the goal. Then I trotted him over it several times. Then I walked him again. Then I raised the pole, to where it is maybe 6-8 inches off the ground. I walked him over that many times, then trotted him over it a few times, then walked him again. I felt like he started to lose interest then, so I had him go over one more time, really nicely, then we stopped.


1.What should I do next? Raise the pole a little higher and have him trot over it again? At some point, presumably, he will decide to just jump it rather than trotting it, right? Raise it, ask him to walk over (fine if he jumps?) a few times, then trot? Or just solidify what we've done so far?

2. How much is too much, per session or right now? He hasn't done raised poles in almost three months because of his back injury and me riding him bareback (I am confident of my ability to stay on him bareback as he goes over raised poles, and in fact I've done it several times, but I feel bad for not really being able to get off his back when he does it, so I haven't asked much).

3. Should the cones be farther away from the pole? Am I giving him enough space to get up some energy to go over the pole?

4. I could do it in the roundpen, but (1) I'd have to lug all the stuff over there, (2) I keep reading that going in circles isn't good for their joints, and surely jumping in circles would be even less so, and (3) the spot where we're doing it in the arena is his "bad" spot, so I'm hoping this will overlay some good behavior there. I guess the benefit of the roundpen would be that he could really get a head of steam up, and also go over it again and again, rather than having to stop at each end, turn around, and go again. Thoughts?

He did really well, and I think we both had fun.
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post #2 of 3 Old 02-27-2020, 05:02 PM
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You really need to build an enclosed grid so he cannot duck out.

There are two schools of thought on loose jumping

You can start with trot poles then a X rail at the end 8' to 10' away from the last trot pole. As the horse progresses the rail can be raised and every other trot rail removed so if he wants to canter he can

This idea of loose jumping is to have them balanced going into a fence.

The other is to just have a rail and let them think about what they are doing. This makes them engage their brain and sort thinpngs out for themselves.
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post #3 of 3 Old 02-27-2020, 06:05 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2014
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Build a chute. That way he can have a proper approach and landing and will go forward. You can build this out of jump standard and have jumps set up to create the wall, or you can set up standards and string something like flagging, bunting, or lunge lines. It needs to be long enough that they are set up for the fence, straight to it, and have time to see it. I like it to extend the length of the long side, ending ~15m away from the short side.

When you free lunge, it's not just chasing them in circles or letting them run at the fence. Your whip and body are still aids. If they are rushing, you tell them to woah, or easy. If they need more pace, you raise the whip. You give them a moment to rest when they do the chute well. Change directions if the chute allows(grids will often increase distances progressively, so you can't reverse them). Should be very low stress, low excitement.

Always send them through the chute both directions without any jumps set up, or everything as ground poles (especially when they are new to it, an experience horse doesn't need to, but will need a warm up still). You want them to get familiar with the chute, going through it, and so their first experience isn't ,'omg a dead end, how do I get out'. Sometimes they will try to go under/around the walls of the chute if they are feeling over faced. I've had one who went between the wall and the jump wing...

Placement poles are good to help them find their pace, especially since you have minimal influence over them on the ground. Depending on what the horse needs, there are different configurations of single fences, bounces, lines, oxers, singles, ect. Usually, beyond first introductions, single fences aren't used as they don't teach them much or set them up well in the chute.

These are decent videos

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