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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been progressing pretty quickly and my instructor thinks I'm ready to try jumping.

Today we learned to take the jump straight on. We trotted over a pole on the ground and then two poles shaped like an X.

Right before the trot approach we get up on the two-point and then after the jump we're instructed to halt.

During my halts following the jump, my horse seemed to have a tendency to canter away versus continuing the trot.

A couple of times, as I tried to halt the canter after the jump, he started to buck and kick. My instructor said I may have inadvertently got him with the spurs. So on the ensuing jumps I tried to really keep those spurs off but then I found that my heels were coming up and my legs really went too far back- it felt like almost as if i was riding the horses neck with my upper body.

Anybody have any insight/advice ? on what may be happening. my instructor said it was fine because i'm just beginning and will get better with practice. just doing some extra hw here
 

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My best advice would be two-point on the flat then after you do that do more two-point on the flat. Also do tons of no stirrup work. When you are doing two-point really work on keeping your heels down. Nicking the horse with your spurs over the jump is a sign your heels are coming up. When I started wearing spurs (after 5 years of working on my heel and lower leg position,) I wore them on the flat but not over jumps for awhile so that I knew I had full controll of them over fences. If you keep wearing your spurs as you jump make sure your heels are down and toes are straight. I will strongly urge you to start without spurs so you can think less on keeping the spur off and more on keeping your form over the jump and when your leg becomes solid and not moving as you ride then I would then add the spur. If your horse is on the slower side and needs impolstion(I don't think I spelled that right lol) bring a shorter crop with you instead of spurs. I rode for 5 years and had jumped 2' to 2'6 before my trainer would let me ride with spurs on her horses. I am not trying to say that you are wrong inwearing spurs if you and your trainer have desided that you should wear them then it is your choice I can not stop you or make you do anything just giving you some ideas and exsamples of my experices with spurs.

Practice, practice, practice, you will get there. Your trainer is right you are just starting jumping so don't worry about it!

I am excited you are starting to jump it really is such an awesome sport! I really hope you enjoy it!

Hope I helped and did not sound harsh I really don't mean to!
:D
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Not at all. I really appreciate your advice. And you're right, this is really an amazing sports.

ever since I have started I have been obsessed with horses and everything related to equine. Its such a bizarre feeling, I'm not even interested in girls anymore all I can think about are horses Lol. Unless of course it is an equestrian girl and then I am extremely all over that. Haha
 

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It's been a year and a bit since I started riding and I know just how you feel. About the horses that is. I find once you trot over that first jump the horses tenancy is to canter, you have to be prepared. My instructor hasn't given me my spurs yet and probably for good reason. There's so much to learn and the more I try to analyze it the more I hear, it is a feeling. Be patient and learn to laugh at yourself. My wife got me in the sport kind of and now I have 2 horses and ride twice a day. This summer 1.1 meter jumper. Crazy fun!!!
 

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^Horses generally prefer to canter fences because it is easier.

I agree with Live's advice... Hooking your horse with spurs over fences isn't something that should be happening. I'd forgo the stirrups until you have more control of your leg over fences.

Have fun!
 

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^Whoa, typo. o.o That was supposed to say forgo the SPURS not stirrups xD
 

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^Horses generally prefer to canter fences because it is easier.
Exactly! :D A jump is technically a canter stride so while it may be easier as a beginner to push off from a trot (less setup for an inexperienced rider/horse to do than at a canter) it is far easier for the horse to land and take off into a canter. It takes a lot of balance for a horse to transition back to the trot immediately after the jump, and if the rider is green it can make things that much harder. The best remedy is practice! Lots of other good advice has been given so far in this thread so I won't repeat it but I certainly agree.

Have fun!!! Also you lucky butt, I wish I could turn all of my focus to horses and just ignore the boys completely. Seems like i'm just wired that way hehe. I wouldn't give up my fuzzy man for anything, but I'm sure he's also glad to have the days off here and there as well! :lol::wink:
 

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First, practicing will help- practice your two point. Also check your stirrups and make sure they aren't too long, they should be a little shorter for jumping.

Trotting directly after a jump is somewhat difficult for horses and takes some time to train. Ask you instructor if you can work with the horse jumping a little and that may help.

As far as the kicking out goes, there could be many causes. It could be the spurs, but what I've noticed is that some horses are very soft mouthed and will get irritated when you pull back hard- that was one of my worst habits when I started jumping. Try not pulling as hard.

Hope this helps!
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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Went jumping today. and after one of the jumps my horse got spooked by another horse and BOLTED. I was already at the end of the ring and he was going full speed into the metal rail. The horse could have gone left, right or jumped the rail I suppose. I'm really not sure what happened, because it occurred so quickly but I flew above the rail and hit a tree. Thinking back I feel like I "bailed" because I wasn't sure of what the horse would do and his speed was already so fast. In retrospect I feel like I probably could have tried to stay on and mitigate the situation. What is the most correct response in a situation like this? What would a good rider do? Stop the bolt from the outset?

I was already so close to the end of the track i got flustered and bailed. Would a good rider have been able to stop him? or would he have anticipated the horse to go left and stayed on? The horse was running counter-clock wise so the most likely scenario would have been to go left for the horse.

After getting back on, we worked on some stopping and my instructor showed me that in those situations, you have to really jerk back aggressively on the reins. I'm a pretty strong guy so I've been holding myself back when it comes to being too aggressive. When a horse bolts like that, is there a limit to how aggressive one can be or is it open-season? For some reason I feel like I could really harm/injure the horse if I were to aggressively and explosively pull back with 100% of my strength, is this not the case?
 

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A horse who wants to run will run. No bit, device or person is going to stop them. My best advice would be to pull him into a circle. It's hard for horses to run in a circle. Then break it down to a one rein stop. Worst case sit back, use your stirrups for leverage and (do your best to) MAKE HIM STOP.
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After getting back on, we worked on some stopping and my instructor showed me that in those situations, you have to really jerk back aggressively on the reins. I'm a pretty strong guy so I've been holding myself back when it comes to being too aggressive. When a horse bolts like that, is there a limit to how aggressive one can be or is it open-season? For some reason I feel like I could really harm/injure the horse if I were to aggressively and explosively pull back with 100% of my strength, is this not the case?
IMO you have to meet or exceed the same energy level the horse has. If the horse is running like his tail is on fire I'm not going to be acting like his mouth is made of eggshells. Bolting like that isn't only dangerous to you but it can be dangerous for the horse too! Falling could seriously hurt or kill you. If he bolts, especially on trail, what if it hits a hole? Runs into the woods and gets his tack stuck on a tree? A few sharp yanks or some see sawing is way better then a broken leg, neck, paralysis or your horse dying.
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
IMO you have to meet or exceed the same energy level the horse has. If the horse is running like his tail is on fire I'm not going to be acting like his mouth is made of eggshells. Bolting like that isn't only dangerous to you but it can be dangerous for the horse too! Falling could seriously hurt or kill you. If he bolts, especially on trail, what if it hits a hole? Runs into the woods and gets his tack stuck on a tree? A few sharp yanks or some see sawing is way better then a broken leg, neck, paralysis or your horse dying.
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Thanks slidestop, that is good insight.

You mentioned getting the horse to run in a circle earlier. In a maneuver like this, do you just pull on one side of the rein and lean appropriately to that side?

How tight of a diameter do you make? Still trying to understand, you say that if a horse wants to bolt, nothing will stop him, so what do experienced riders do? They just keep pulling that rein until the horse tires out?
 

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Thanks slidestop, that is good insight.

You mentioned getting the horse to run in a circle earlier. In a maneuver like this, do you just pull on one side of the rein and lean appropriately to that side?

How tight of a diameter do you make? Still trying to understand, you say that if a horse wants to bolt, nothing will stop him, so what do experienced riders do? They just keep pulling that rein until the horse tires out?
Ideally you would want to make it as small as he will make it. Keep going down smaller until he stops. I'd be hesitant to just do a straight out one rein stop one your horse as a gallop... I think it's a good way to flip them. If you can get them to slow it up a bit in a circle there will me much less momentum to bring to a screeching halt. And no leaning, especially towards the direction your turning! That's a good way to make you horse lose balance and fall.

Bottom line is you do what needs to be done. There is no size. There is no standard way of pulling that will get every horse to stop. You have to gauge it in the moment. It's going to depend on your terrain, horse, rider, space, etc. In the heat of the moment you'll be lucky if you remember just getting him into a circle.

As for your last statement, horses are flight or fight animals. 99% of the time he is going to run if something scares him. When horses are in a sheer panic (not just naughty) there training goes out their ears and they just go. To them you might as well be telling them to stop running from a mountain lion. Obviously this varies GREATLY from horse to horse. There are some I've met who spook every ride and other that are impossible to try to scare.
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
As for your last statement, horses are flight or fight animals. 99% of the time he is going to run if something scares him. When horses are in a sheer panic (not just naughty) there training goes out their ears and they just go. To them you might as well be telling them to stop running from a mountain lion. Obviously this varies GREATLY from horse to horse. There are some I've met who spook every ride and other that are impossible to try to scare.
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So even an extremely experienced rider like an Olympic gold medalist equestrian still gets thrown off from a spooked/bolting horse every now and then?
 

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A well trained rider won't come off many spooking horses IF the rider expects a spook. It helps to have your legs wrapped around a horse when they spook hard, but that obviously is not the best position for jumping.

Riding involves compromises. If your horse is inclined to suddenly do a spread legged halt - what I call The OMG Crouch - then legs long and forward, heels down is a good position. But it is not a good position on a well trained horse because your feet are too far forward to cue easily. The jockey position is great for racing, but not a good idea if someone takes up cutting cattle.

The jump position is secure. It wouldn't work for jumping if it wasn't. But it is not optimum for staying on a horse who wants you off or who jumps sideways, spins, etc.

Here is a technique to keep in your hip pocket. I do not practice it because it is a bit harsh, but it has stopped Mia a couple of times when we were in the desert and she was heading toward places she could never have handled:

 

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So even an extremely experienced rider like an Olympic gold medalist equestrian still gets thrown off from a spooked/bolting horse every now and then?
Yes, they aren't immune to falling off. Their odds of hanging on are probably better then mine or yours... But they can still fall.
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