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Schooling a greenie over jumps.

1352 Views 10 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  sillybunny11486
I just want to know what everyone does to get their green horses used to jumping.

Do you let them loose in the ring to check it out, walk them over it, let the sniff it, lunge them over it ect?
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I always free jump or lunge my horses over fences first. I vastly prefer free jumping but I'll lunge them if I don't have the facilities to free jump.

It tells me what I need to know about the horse - is this horse going to make a good jumper? Does s/he have natural talent? My Arab mare took to jumping like a duck in water, and yet an Arab mare we rescued had virtually zero jumping ability. Even when free jumping, she'd hang her knees and deer hop over them. We rode her over a few small fences and it just never changed, she was a god awful jumper.

I also want to make sure a horse is good and balanced and learning to negotiate fences on his/her own. Free jumping is fun to most horses, hence why I prefer it to lunging. They're allowed to gallop around and have fun and asked to do something with the obstacles that appear in their path. It gets a horse moving forward, teaches him how to judge distance, learn how to balance himself for take off and landing, etc. I would never personally train my horse to jump until s/he'd been free jumped. To much can go wrong to discourage the horse those first jumps - and you only increase the odds when the horse has ZERO clue how to navigate even a crossrail by himself much less with the rider.

I think you may need to face the fact that this mare may never be a jumper - some horses flat out hate it, don't have the momentum, don't have the style, etc. I would highly advise free jumping her if you haven't already to get an idea of what she's thinking - is she happy doing it without a rider, or is she still sluggish and annoyed?

Shay-las neice had a TB mare at our place that she wanted to jump and wasn't having any luck. I hopped on the mare to see if I could encourage her - she was clueless. She wouldn't give any effort, she'd demolish the jumps, she just didn't care. I set up a chute for her and it was the exact same thing - she'd simply demolish them. Sure, you can probably work with a horse like this, but it will never be a "natural" and it will never find enjoyment out of jumping so I prefer altering disciplines or find a new horse.

Likewise, we're working with a 4 year old pony. She's a bit clutzy and unbalanced, and jumps quite wonky with a rider and usually takes the jump down BUT - we put her through the chute and she had form to DIE for, with absolutely no real encouragement she just kept flying around me in a circle and jumping that jump. This tells me the horse has a flair for jumping and is just having difficulty learning how to do it with a rider, but patience will likely pay off.

Hope that helped a bit :)
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If you build a proper chute, ducking out isn't an option and neither is stopping really. If the horse you're free jumping is slamming on the brakes for a 2'0" fence in a chute, you pretty much have your answer about it's jumping capabilities. Even the horses I've free jumped that turned out to be awful jumps always jumped the fence. I've never had an issue with any horse ducking out or stopping when the equipment is set up properly.
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