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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A little background info on my horse may be helpful in this critique: He is a VERY spooky ride, and has a tendency to be a dirty stopper. It got so bad about a month ago, he refused to go over any jump the first, or even the second time. We ended up having some sort of unspoken negotiation that he would stop twice before every jump, and then go over it on the third attempt.

He was an abuse case, and has very little confidence in himself, so even though he has a great heart and wants to please, he is not naturally brave and aggressive to the fences. Over the past month, my trainer and I have been working hard on letting him build his confidence. We change the course often, and I ride him aggressively all the way to the base of the fence, and yell like a crazy lady to get him to go.

Luckily, my witch screams seem to be working (not sure what the neighbors think, though), and he is actually stepping up to the challenge of an obstacle, rather than backing off 3 strides out.

Today, in my lesson we did some extensive grid work to get Agent thinking foward- a ground pole to a large X-rail, then one stride to a 2'6 vertical and another stride to a 2'9 vertical. This is the first time I have ever jumped 2'9.

Here is a video clip of the grid, and a video still over the 2'9 fence. (I'm working off a Mac and can't get them to embed into this page, so I have to put YouTube links :( --) Constructive criticism is greatly appreciated!



 

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The top video of the grid is working. Are your stirrups are a little long for jumping? It looks like you are not really able to bend your knees and lower your heel; more like just standing up trying to get out of the saddle. Work on that 2 point in trot to really get that leg strong. Ride that same 2 point over all the jumps and be sure to wait for the horse. You are getting in that bad habit of going into jumping position before the jumps and ending up ahead. More over the first 2 tiny ones than the last. Just hold your 2 point and stay there over these smaller jumps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
My stirrups are about a hole or two longer than I usually have them over fences, mostly for the added security since he's become such a nasty stopper. I guess since he's going forward again, I can bring them back up!

I have always had a tendency to jump ahead, and I have a really hard time breaking that habit! I do a lot of work in my two point and without stirrups, but I still seem to do it over the smaller fences! I need to focus on making myself wait for him to push me up out of the saddle. Thank you!
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i sold my last jumper because he was pretty wrecked by his previous owner and was a dirty stopper. I felt it was time for him to go on to a home where he could just be a horse... be loved and ridden by someone... and not to have to BEG him to jump at the base of a fence anymore.

So my new jumper is incredibly spooky. He's a power packed jumper but i can barely walk him around on the lead line without him being HIGHLY reactive to something. anything! I'm talking: bags, wind, trees, bees, butterflies, dogs, people walking by, you name it... it's trying to kill him.
However, i have started to work with him on the ground. I stick his butt in that round pen and we lunge. We do flexing, lateral work, pressure and release, and desensitizing. i don't pretend to know anything about natural horsemanship, but some of the desensitization and leadership work that they do is exactly what my horse needed. I'm just trying to get my horse to respond, INSTEAD of react. Which has been working miracles for both him, and i.
The moral of my story here, is that your horse is in desperate need for you to be the leader. I'm sure your confidence in him is just as fragile as his confidence in himself. I'm no trainer and i can't really tell you the miracle fix for the issue with your boy... but i would venture to say that you'd be pleasantly surprised at how much ground work helps.
 

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You had no leg on coming into the 'x', sat back way too soon over the second and third jump.

Since he is a dirty stopper, I am going to say that you were unwilling to stay forward through the gymnastic, just in case. However, because you are sitting back too soon in the saddle, your horse is jumping flat. Stay in your two point in the grid, and over exaggerate the two point on the landing side, to keep yourself forward.
 

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personally since he say he's become a stopper it may be due to you getting a head of him, since you say he's not brave to begin with you may be throwing his balance off which then makes him stop. i would sit up to the fence leg on and go thru the grid and each stride btwn the fences SQUEEZE! and do not get forward in your seat wait for him
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
He was a stopper long before I got him, but I'm sure my jumping ahead is not helping the situation now. Because he stops, I have gotten in the habit of riding very defensively to the fence and then having to fling myself foward at the base to catch up with him in the air. In the video still I have (if I can ever get it to upload!) I am right with his motion, not ahead or behind.. so I've kind of perfected this incorrect technique apparently :/.. I just have to throw myself forward for that split second right before he leaves the ground. Not correctly ridden but hard to fix until I can trust that he will go.. its a bit of a vicious cycle!
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