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View Full Version : What age is safe to free jump?



La Gringa
Apr. 9, 2009, 12:06 PM
My filly just turned 2 April 4th!

I haven't free jumped her yet, but I so want to...

When is the perfect age?

She sure does a lot of acrobatic of her own already! :lol:

When can I see if she can really put that to good use??

monalisa
Apr. 9, 2009, 12:57 PM
I have a very large 3 year old and I have yet to free jump her even though we have started her under saddle.

La Gringa
Apr. 9, 2009, 03:00 PM
Yeah I don't want to risk any injuries... so I would love some input on this..

TBlitz
Apr. 9, 2009, 03:32 PM
I'm planning on doing some small stuff this summer with my guy that's a day older than yours. He's been begging for work for a long time now and his walks are not as much fun (for me) anymore. He's also going to start ground-driving this summer too.

With the way he charges around the (rocky, steep-hilled) pasture like a maniac and jumping over any bush or obstacle he can find, I don't think mixing a little bit of free jumping (under 2') into his "work" will hurt him. He still has the attention span of a goldfish so we'll be keeping things short and easy at this point.

caevent
Apr. 9, 2009, 03:37 PM
At the farm where I used to work, we would start the weanlings with their mamas going around the arena over a ground pole. Yearlings did maybe a 1' vertical, 2 year olds maybe a 2' oxer, 3 year olds we would start to put the jumps up a bit to test them. Granted, these babies would go around and jump maybe 2 or 3 times in each direction. Nothing to break a sweat, just enough to get them interested and be able to see the way they used their bodies. We maybe did 3 or 4 sessions in the spring time with the 2 year olds, that's it.

LivviesMom
Apr. 9, 2009, 03:53 PM
I free jumped my mare at about 2 and a half. Very little stuff to introduce her to the idea.. started with trot poles and then small cavellettis.
I made a chute for her and she got the idea pretty quickly. highest I put a fence was about 2'6 with a tiny wee spread.

Did maybe 2 or 3 sessions over 3 months and havent done it since to be honest.
Free jumping is not going to really show you waht the horse will be like over fences with a rider.. whole different ball game. So I don't put much stock into what i see when I free jump. It' more about getting them comfortable over poles etc..

ImTheOwner
Apr. 9, 2009, 04:04 PM
I went to a Free-Jumping clinic over the weekend at Hilltop Farm Inc. This question was asked of the clinician (Michael Bragdell). He said that at age 2, he does not jump them more than a few times during that year, and at low heights. The goal at age 2 is to basically to get them used to the chute so they get the "idea" of jump, canter, jump. IIRC, he began with poles on the ground for the demo 2 year old filly and ended with 2 crossrails. At 3 years old, he begins to raise the height of the second jump to nothing exceeding about 3'. I think the demo 3 year old gelding (who was lazy) ended with two 2'-ish verticals. My BO's 3 year old stallion that went ended with jumping the second jump in the chute at about 3'. Try emailing Hilltop and ask to get a copy of the handouts. It shows jump placement and distances. A few other tips, he said you should max out at 8 to 10 runs through the chute (I believe this was for a closed chute which was used - it may be less for an open chute). If you need to make changes or add poles, do it early in the session and don't make changes late in the session. If the horse is good after 5 or 6 times through, then you should stop on a good note. Hope this helps!

La Gringa
Apr. 9, 2009, 04:29 PM
Thanks!

My girl has just had the basic handling, bringing in, brushing, bathing etc so far. Right now she's out in the pasture with other babies her age, growing up.

I hope to begin more stuff later in the year, getting her used to a saddle, and that sort of stuff. She could probably do that now, just wearing it, but I am busy job hunting and possibly moving so I have decided to just let her be for the time being.

Once things get settled towards fall, I may just do some poles as people suggested..and a low low chute thing.

Thanks for the input!

It's fun watching her grow up... it's hard to be patient sometimes... but so worth the wait! :winkgrin:

goeslikestink
Apr. 9, 2009, 06:48 PM
My filly just turned 2 April 4th!

I haven't free jumped her yet, but I so want to...

When is the perfect age?

She sure does a lot of acrobatic of her own already! :lol:

When can I see if she can really put that to good use??

shouldnt jump a horse before its 5 as its bones and musles havent fully developed

kookicat
Apr. 9, 2009, 07:24 PM
shouldnt jump a horse before its 5 as its bones and musles havent fully developed

Actually, there has been a few studies that show a moderate amount of stress on the bones is good for long term bone health.

A few short free jumping sessions a month shouldn't hurt her. Like anything, build up to it slowly, and watch her. You know her- you'll know if she's sore or off. :)

LockeMeadows
Apr. 9, 2009, 11:04 PM
This year, I free jumped a 2yo and a 3yo (both ponies) for a sale video. The jump was about 2' tall and each jumped it 4-5 times. The gelding actually liked it and was eager for me to catch him the next day! It didn't seem to make a difference at all with the filly. I don't think I would regularly free-jump anything less than four years old. However, I also don't think it would hurt to send youngster over a jump a few times to get an idea of their heart and potential scope. My gosh, they buck higher than the jump I had set up. Both of these guys are from successful pony hunter bloodlines and jumped just the way their papers indicated they would.

DMK
Apr. 10, 2009, 08:56 AM
shouldnt jump a horse before its 5 as its bones and musles havent fully developed

This is true. You should also keep them from moving around a lot. I like padded stalls for this purpose.



Moderation in all things is usually a good idea, but this concept goes in both directions.

gasrgoose
Apr. 10, 2009, 11:01 AM
I'm assuming ponies can start jumping earlier. The Grand Green Pony Champion at Pony Finals(Sparkle Plenty) last year was 5.

tidy rabbit
Apr. 10, 2009, 11:33 AM
You should wait until the horse is 13, then any bone fusing it was going through will be completed.

DMK starts them way too young. I've seen DMK on a baby before! Terrible. Criminal.

Portia
Apr. 10, 2009, 11:40 AM
You should wait until the horse is 13, then any bone fusing it was going through will be completed.

DMK starts them way too young. I've seen DMK on a baby before! Terrible. Criminal.
You're absolutely right TR. DMK has this 16 year old that she jumps regularly, over 3'6"! Really, he should barely be started under saddle at this point.

tidy rabbit
Apr. 10, 2009, 11:53 AM
Look, here's DMK on Aero before I bought him. http://sports.webshots.com/photo/2885094900048495570xHmdvt

Poor Aero. :cry:

DMK
Apr. 10, 2009, 12:03 PM
No, he's 17 now so I can get away with the jumping. *whew* Last year was a no go for the jumping. :D

I consider my riding on Aero to be some of my finest work. But see how badly they go when you wait a year like Tidy does:

http://sports.webshots.com/photo/2273855490048495570gwUwpH

See how inverted and unspecial he is? Tsk tsk. Of course later she took my suggestion and jumped him and draw reins and was able to save the day. ;)

tidy rabbit
Apr. 10, 2009, 12:13 PM
Hey NOW! Wait just a cotton pick'n minute! That photo of me and Dodger was at Traders Point in the pre-weanling division. He's 4 months old there. At least I could make mine trot!

DMK
Apr. 10, 2009, 12:38 PM
a year, four months... what does it matter? It's all too late. :D

Trees4U
Apr. 10, 2009, 12:44 PM
Baby Greens anyone?

merrygoround
Apr. 10, 2009, 12:54 PM
I'm assuming ponies can start jumping earlier. The Grand Green Pony Champion at Pony Finals(Sparkle Plenty) last year was 5.

Sorry, I do believe that ponies mature at the same rate. They just have a habit of hanging around longer.

I would like to wait til 3 to start any serious free jumping. But then I like to sit on them a little at 3, pick them up again at 4, and really go into work at 5.

Tilly
Apr. 10, 2009, 12:58 PM
I think light free-jumping at 2 is okay. I would save any real jumping until 3, though :yes:

Portia
Apr. 10, 2009, 05:01 PM
Look, here's DMK on Aero before I bought him. http://sports.webshots.com/photo/2885094900048495570xHmdvt

Poor Aero. :cry:
:D :D :D

Wanderluster
Apr. 10, 2009, 08:39 PM
OH PUHLEEZE. GLS you are way off the mark here. Our filly was free jumping herself around the pasture over irrigation pipes when she was a few months old... I guess she didn't read the manual that said to wait until she was five to jump.
I have gone to breeding farms where a shoot was set and these youngins decide to romp around and play over the jumps, none were pressured they just had the jumping genes. FWIW they often free jumped themselves in and out of pastures, some leaving a very distraught mama while they jumped over the stall door to go exploring.
The young horses that I have scouted (mostly two year olds) have suffered no ill effects from showing their jumping skills through a shoot as the matured into riding/show horses. :)