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Hello! So my horse has a problem with tucking his knees over jumps. He lets his legs dangle and they are uneven. I believe we’ve talked about this before and someone said that he needs more impulsion over the jumps. What kind of impulsion and how can I achieve that? Also, someone told me to do low wide oxers and cross rails with high sides, what are your opinions with that? Tia.
 

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He just needs to be fitter in general, that means more hacking outside of an arena if you can do that because it’s the most effective and least boring (for you and the horse) way to do it.
You need to aim at the horse being conditioned physically to be more energetic and sharper off your leg and then learn how to contain that energy to produce impulsive and then elevation.
Look at articles by Jim Wofford and Bernie Traurig and use basic dressage techniques in your schooling routines combined with grid work.
What your horse is doing, even at the slightly higher fence, is cantering over it rather than lifting up and jumping over it.
 

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You need to stop trying to lift the horse off the ground and allow the horse to rise to meet you.
Yes, you ride in front of the balance point, look where your crotch is in the first picture...you've thrown your body, your weight forward and that hinders the horse from rising and using his forehand, shoulder muscles to raise & tuck those legs.

When you approach a fence you also need to be straight and square to it, coming at a direct straight line not from a angle as the one picture shows...
Advanced riders can and do ride cutting strides out of a line or by riding a bending line can ride even stride distances but, not putting you down, you are not skilled enough yet to see these distances nor ride them effectively.
Please use ground rails/poles for take-off distances seen easier for the horse and for you as you learn.

You would do well to work with "bounces", a type of gymnastic that teaches the horse to push off from behind as they go over several fences closely spaced. These are also known as gridwork...
I rode them at a trot to the base of the first then the horse cantered with a impulsive push off to clear 5 low cross-rails or verticals in a row...
If you don't stay off the front end, you will hit them.
It teaches you to use a effective 2-point, be still and let the horse rise to you not you collapse on the horse which is a habit of yours.
Because you ride with a rigid "over-flexed" spine does not make you in balance with the horse...

We know both horses will clear larger fences in height...
You need to learn to clear low fences properly first with good human body position, horse approach and execution of the fence and quiet ride off to the next element {fence}.
You need to learn how to send a horse forward from their hind end not drag themselves around on a heavy forehand.

This is one example of simple bounces...cross-rail, low straight, low straight to vertical.
They will help you to learn how to send not be dragged from the forehand or you can't do the exercise well.
These type of fences do not have non-jumping strides in between them - the horse lands with his front feet over one fence but then has to pick up to take off for the second fence, just as his hind feet touch the ground, having negotiated the first fence.

To tackle these fences successfully the horse has to be sharper in his shoulders, picking up his front legs neatly and also using his hindlegs more actively. More athleticism and power is needed from the horse and he has to think quickly.

Once a horse has had experience of jumping bounce fences he will find it easier to tackle cross country fences such as drops and steps.

You can introduce your horse to bounce fences as part of a grid, providing your horse is comfortable jumping a grid. Your first bounce fences must be small as your horse needs the opportunity to realise what he has to do. You could introduce just one bounce into a grid eg a small cross pole to a small vertical. The distance between the two bounce fences should not be less than 12ft unless they are very small.

Make sure your horse is confident bouncing between two fences before you start to add any more - and remember that it's sensible to restrict yourself to no more than five fences in a bounce grid. This is because the exercise is strenuous for the horse, especially as the fence height increases.

It's important that the rider keeps the horse balanced and with plenty of impulsion to negotiate bounce fences - and riders will also find that riding bounces helps improve their own balance and suppleness. JUMPING BOUNCE FENCES - Reap the benefits - Horse Answers Today


Also known as gridwork...endless combinations can be made.
Use care to measure distances between poles/rails carefully.
Start with rails on the ground aka cavaletti.
Work to rails and a cross-bar and eventually onto vertical, vertical and rail combos...
You start by trotting, then work to cantering them...but a work in progress you need to learn to do to strengthen your core, the horses agility and way of carrying their body over fences of any height.
You don't jump high till you accomplish low correctly or you will crash at some point, period.

Engaging the hind end, impulsion, your being in correct balance and not collapsing on his front end are necessary things you need to correct and learn...
This is some combinations of bounce/grid fences and their distances between them...


There is much available in video along with reading material if you take the time to look for it.
Many books and articles in magazines are also available and learning to ride these in partnership with the horses will improve you and them as you jump...but you don't need to go high, you need to go correctly.

The greatest show jumping horses who have done Puissance classes, jumping world class high fences...some clearing 7' plus fences do that from a trot...very controlled.
It is impulsion, push-off not speed that gives the ability to jump and clear.
It is impulsion that allows the horse to arc over a fence and snap their knees high and tight...
Ride from behind not off the front-end.
:runninghorse2:...
 

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If the first photo is a better example of how you usually look when jumping, I think your position looks just fine for the level you are at. You are in front of your horse, yes, but you are releasing well and staying out of his way. He does look like he is lacking impulsion. Definitely get him fitter and off your leg, but also gymnastic exercises and a jumping lane will help him 'sharpen up.'

Gymnastic exercises such as bounces are great as well as using ground poles to help you learn to shorten and lengthen your canter stride.

A jumping lane is great because it lets you see your horses natural 'form' without rider influence. It can also be great for green horses to learn technique, how to get themselves to the base of the fence, and in this horses case, how to tighten knees up over a higher fence without a rider.
 

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We must use jump lanes differently as we ride ours over them. We also do grids and bounces. Each exercise has a different reason for being introduced and used but all of the riders where my child rides uses them at some point and then uses then to sharpen either themselves or the horse. I keep them set up in the riding area and find my child just enjoys the different patterns he can create between them and the small jumps set up. Just remember a horse only has so many jumps in him and considering where you are you may want to limit even further due to the heat and humidity.
 

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It helps if your horse is trained to sit back before the fence.

I will train a young horse to do this by jumping a fence, halt, then turn and jump it back, halt, repeat.

You do need to let the horse jump to you. You are jumping like this is a 4ft jump... it's not!

I also agree, your back is extremely tense, you need to relax your back, shoulder, and hip while still maintaining good form.
 

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This doesn't look like a horse that is 'just cantering over' a jump. It seems to be pushing off with both hind feet. And, it's not THAT small of a jump.


Would be nice to see a video.





 

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Bernie Traurig’s equestriancoach.com always has a free video of the month and this month is about gymnastics. Perfect timing for you.

Free Video of the Month | Equestrian Coach

I have not watched it, but everything is quality from this website. Jaydee mentioned Bernie above, and I linked another video of his on another thread of yours.


**adding on, I’ve watched some of this video and if you do not have enough standards to make jumps, use poles of the ground.
 

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This doesn't look like a horse that is 'just cantering over' a jump. It seems to be pushing off with both hind feet. And, it's not THAT small of a jump.


Would be nice to see a video
I disagree all round!

In the second picture you can see hat he is not pushing off with both hind legs equally, in the first you can't see both hind legs.

I doubt if that fence is anything more than 2'6" which, for any horse is not going to get him to make an effort over the rail.

Impulsion into a fence is vital, not just cantering into it.

Spreads rather than uprights, lots of grid work.

The rider is making to much effort to swing forward. As said, there is a lot of stiffness in the body. Over a fence htat size the swing should be minimal.

Try the grids and when he is familiar with them, domthem without stirrups, that should stop you over swinging forward, if you are still doing it, do the grid with your eyes shut!
 

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If you look at the top picture, where his legs are more even, he is pushing off and getting a more upwards action but in the second picture where his one leg is dropped well below the other his back legs are spaced out so he’d never gone from his canter stride to that half halt, gather and push stage.
She isn’t lying on his neck and her hands are allowing him to move forwards, there are faults in her position but I’ve seen worse in riders on horses jumping a whole course of big fences in a lovely outline
The difference between those horses and this one is lack of fitness.
 

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I agree 100% with jaydee. Yes, the position of the rider is probably not helping this horse, but if you look at any hunter jumper circuit (I think that's what it's called over there) you will see hundreds of riders riding much more detrimentally then this one, and their horses still snapping their knees up.

I do not think you can say it's the rider causing these knees, nor would I personally be worried about the jump these pictures are presenting at this level. The jumps are small, horses effort is minimal. With more implosion, a bigger or scarier jump, even with the rider remaining in a position like this, I think youd see a very different picture.

I do have to say OP that jumping where I am in NZ is very different from in the states.
 

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You can totally ride a very well trained hunter horse by laying down across their back, throwing your shoulder at them, and they still jump super. Because the horse is trained to do so. That's part of why those horses demand a high price. Does that work for all? No, some you still need to ride properly to get the good jump, but from my years of experience and in riding hunters most of them are going to be jumped with you laying across their neck. Then there's the horses who were never taught, or just lack the natural ability who can still jump hunters but don't expect them to place like the others do!

While it may be a factor I don't think it's all fitness, I think the horse is jumping lazily because it doesn't know how to jump well. It's not been trained in how to jump well while the rider throws it's shoulder. I've seen fit horses who jump with uneven knees because they are being lazy. I've seen unfit horses jump with even knees because they are being careful and not lazy. In fact, I own one of each.

The horse is not born knowing how to jump nicely, it's a learned skill. Even if it was born with natural talent, it can still be improved through coaching. Just because it's more fit doesn't mean it will suddenly care more and jump properly. Lazy horses just want to make it over the fence the easy way regardless of fitness. The rider needs to guide the horse to jump well.

I know there's a difference between east and west coast hunters, but some things stay the same. My experience tells me the horse lacks training or the rider isn't capable of bringing that level of ability out of the horse due to rider needing more training.
 

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Isn't this horse supposed to be a fancy, well trainer hunter?


The average sized horse doesn't start actually jumping fences until 3'+, everything else is a big canter stride.



I really wouldn't worry about his knees. The forearms are up which is really the most important part. Some horses will be really scopey and have cute knees over everything, and they usually aren't beginner horses. This one is jumping a bit bigger to accommodate, because why not. If the fences started getting bigger, you'd probably see him change his game, like if he went through a chute. If the forearms are up and he's not knocking fences, I wouldn't make it a priority, it'll come as part of improving elsewhere.


While there's room to improve on her position, it's really not that bad. He's a big horse, she's small. How he's ridden to the fences will have more of an influence on how he jumps than her being a little forward like that. If you can ride them straight and together right to the base of the fence, you can impress them and they'll snap their knees right up, but that can be difficult to do for a beginner rider. Tall, skinny Xs, and grids will help encourage the knees to be tighter if you really must. Trotting and walking into fences also makes them sit at the base and tighten up.
 

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In the left hand photo he isn't too bad at all, in the right hand one his one leg is well below the other and that means a high risk of getting the pole between his legs, even over small fences.
Fitness does play a big part in it, you could have a horse that's fit enough to trail ride all day but doesn't have the developed muscles for jumping - OK for just one or two little schooling jumps but a real strain over a whole course.
The one short video clip isn't enough to give a really informed opinion. If the rider is trusting to luck that the horse will place himself right for take off he might do that over a few of the jumps but fail over the rest.
What you aim for is consistency.
For a rider and horse that's struggling with the half halt, gather and push off sequence you can use a ground pole in front of the fence as a visual 'forced' half halt.
The distance should be such that the horse goes over the ground pole and then only has just enough room to complete his stride before taking off - what we call a bounce (not sure if that's what its called in the US). The stride has to be short enough that he has to gather himself together and shorten up, hind legs underneath him so both hind legs are then together and pushing off together.
That makes the horse straighter as he goes forwards so one front leg isn't on 'catch up' with the other.


I thought this was the horse that had raced?
If the OP is looking at the Hunter classes over fences competitions then the horse has to look correct because how it looks reflects on the rider
If she's looking at show jumping then the horse needs to be jumping safely and correctly or its not going to stay sound.


Showjumping in the UK seems a bit different to the US. We have local unaffiliated shows where the height for Beginner Novice would be about 2ft 3 but at affiliated shows the lowest class is British Novice where the jumps have a max. height of what works out at about 2ft11 and most aren't much below that so we'd be expecting a horse to comfortably jump a course at 3ft 3 to go in the ring at novice level
We don't have Hunter classes at all that compare to the US competitions
This video shows how a 'bounce' works to get the horse in the right position for take off - the trainer is using a small jump for the first part of the fence, but I'd start off with a ground pole with a horse like the OP's. She also explains about getting the distance between the first and second part right to help a green horse
 

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You can totally ride a very well trained hunter horse by laying down across their back, throwing your shoulder at them, and they still jump super. Because the horse is trained to do so. That's part of why those horses demand a high price. Does that work for all? No, some you still need to ride properly to get the good jump, but from my years of experience and in riding hunters most of them are going to be jumped with you laying across their neck. Then there's the horses who were never taught, or just lack the natural ability who can still jump hunters but don't expect them to place like the others do!

While it may be a factor I don't think it's all fitness, I think the horse is jumping lazily because it doesn't know how to jump well. It's not been trained in how to jump well while the rider throws it's shoulder. I've seen fit horses who jump with uneven knees because they are being lazy. I've seen unfit horses jump with even knees because they are being careful and not lazy. In fact, I own one of each.

The horse is not born knowing how to jump nicely, it's a learned skill. Even if it was born with natural talent, it can still be improved through coaching. Just because it's more fit doesn't mean it will suddenly care more and jump properly. Lazy horses just want to make it over the fence the easy way regardless of fitness. The rider needs to guide the horse to jump well.

I know there's a difference between east and west coast hunters, but some things stay the same. My experience tells me the horse lacks training or the rider isn't capable of bringing that level of ability out of the horse due to rider needing more training.
Laying down across a horse’s neck is never correct. Peter Pletcher, a winning hunter rider, explains in this video.
 

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I remember reading in the book, "The Eighty Dollar Champion" about how Snowman was initially a poor jumper, putting in as little as possible, or grabbing the bit and plowing around without much attention to the jumps. I can't remember what made the change, but something clicked, and he changed.



Also, (not related to any advise to the OP as a rider) I saw video of his rider's jumping style. It was pretty outrageous!


 
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