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Discussion Starter #1
Okay, so there's this big, black TB mare I ride at my barn (an ex-racehorse), who I'm having some problems with. I'm not jumping that high, but I would like to move up. And I think some of the reason for that is the fact that I tend to drop her before the jumps, and she takes advantage of that and skirts around them.

So my main question is, how do I become a more firm rider, and make her understand that I actually want to go over the jumps? :p

One more thing that may help; I feel that part of the reason I tend to drop her is because of lack of confidence. I took some pretty nasty falls at my old barn (moved to a closer one), which has made me terrified to gallop through a course. Whenever I do end up galloping, I make mistakes- I hunch my back, forget to release, get left behind, cut my corners, etc. So my second question would be how to work on building my confidence back up. I trust the mare, but it seems like I don't trust myself.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Sorry, I meant with one-strides and two-strides. Not the entire course. :]

EDIT: Indi (the mare) likes to try and make the strides as short as possible.
 

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I think you should still keep a steady canter through one and two stride combinations. Galloping will give her more chances to duck out because you're going so fast she can't collect her thoughts for the next jump.
My advice? SLOW DOWN! Even try trotting through the course, then you will have more time to think about what you are doing. Sit up straight and look to the next jump (but not at the ground!) Keep your hands steady and a nice even contact on the reins. Keep both your legs on with equal pressure on both sides.
Something my instructor does with me that I think you should try is he stands after a jump and as I go over he holds up a different number of fingers, and I have to tell him how many he was holding up as I went over the jump. This really helped me to look up and sit tall.
Good luck and have fun! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you for the input so far. I agree 100% with the whole slow down thing. I'm still working on getting her to slow down and listen to me after the jumps, as she has a tendancy to grab the bit and go however fast she wants, especially going towards home.

Captain: I have a lesson this Saturday, so I'll be sure to ask my trainer if I can trot my course a few times. And the number thing is a very good idea too; I'll talk to her about that as well.

Another thing I really need to work on is remembering to breathe, and not get all flustered. :p
 

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There should be no galloping during a course, unless you're doing XC, and then, it should be slowed down to a canter well before the jump. You can't jump at a gallop.

Also, I don't know why you're looking to move up when you feel that your confidence is shaken. If anything, move down, get back to basics, that's what's going to help you become a more confident rider. You can't build up your confidence on a shaky foundation.

I say until you can canter a small course of crossrails without dropping your mare before the fence, hunching your back, cutting corners and not releasing, stick to crossrails. I'm not trying to be mean, I just think that's probably going to help you more than anything.

The other poster gave you some good suggestions too. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you for the suggestions. And, like I explained two times before, I'm not intentionally galloping a course. The mare likes to grab the bit in between lines, and I'm working on getting her to slow down for me.
 

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Also, I don't know why you're looking to move up when you feel that your confidence is shaken. If anything, move down, get back to basics, that's what's going to help you become a more confident rider. You can't build up your confidence on a shaky foundation.

I have to agree with this, even though my experience in jumping is extremely limited. I also ride a giant TB ex-racer and when I have confidence issues, I ride poorly and he knows it. He gets uneasy because I am uneasy and the whole thing unravels. I think if you're having trouble adjusting her strides/speed then you need to take a step back because you're totally right, these guys love to grab the bit and go for it, especially when they can tell you're not going to take care of them. If my boy senses that I am hesitant, he goes into complete self preservation mode and I become a total passenger.

Maybe try spending some time during your next lesson working on speed and stride control. Mares and TB's are quite sensitive in general and I think once you two understand each other a bit better, she'll be much more willing to take you over the jumps when you ask.
 

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There should be no galloping during a course, unless you're doing XC, and then, it should be slowed down to a canter well before the jump. You can't jump at a gallop.
Lol - You most definately can! I do my courses at a nice steady canter, but in the jump off? I gallop about the whole course. If you don't gallop the jump off you won't place.

But I agree, work on getting her to slow down will be very beneficial :]
 

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Why not just take some lessons and concentrate just on the galloping and the canter?
:)
It might just help you get the confidence you need to do the higher jumps too!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you all for the suggestions. I did much better in my lesson yesterday, and I was able to control her speed much better than usual, even though she was being extremely fast and crazy. :p
 

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I won't go into detail on the galloping thing. Everything already covered it.

I'm guessing she tries to run out the same way each time? Usually horse's take advantage of your weak side. A great way to strengthen it is to drop the stirrup on just your weak side and trot around both posting and in half seat. It will burn like hell, but it will make you very strong.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'll definately try that. Thinking about it, she does tend to duck out to the right more often than the left. Thanks. :]
 
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