View Full Version : Ideas? (helping him understand!)

Apr. 12, 2009, 12:42 PM
Heya, I'm a very new member and from England! I haven't posted on here before, but it looks like a buzzy forum and I was wondering if I could get any cc on my jumping?

I had a lesson last weekend with a quite famous rider in our area, Richard Maxwell and he told me I can get my cob to jump with his legs as pairs rather than all over the place. there's a video on youtube of our lesson and by the end of it I can see an improvement but can anyone else?

Today my sister took some photos of me trying to replicate my lesson on my own but my dopey pony looks like he's going backwards. Is there anything I could do to help him work out what I'm asking of him? He was jumping like a baby today!

Any help welcome :) and thank you!

Apr. 12, 2009, 01:59 PM
It is hard to do a comparison between a video and a still photo. But, it would appear that the rider, yeah you, is sucking back in the photos, probably also not approaching with the same forward enthusiasm. An instructor being there pushing is a great motivator. ;)

Kick on!!!!

Apr. 12, 2009, 02:14 PM
Hey, is your horse named Coconut? I've seen your videos on youtube :) He's really gorgeous

My TB used to do this too, when he was greener; the thing that worked for me is gridwork, starting off fairly small, but the fences still have to be big enough to encourage an effort. The best tip I got from my instructor was (it sounds rather obvious, but it does work) is a squeeze at the base, a firm squeeze, and perhaps a cluck; not only does it signify to the horse that some extra effort is required here, it brings your balance back to avoid jumping ahead. Works best with nine-foot rails, at least for me! :)

Apr. 12, 2009, 08:57 PM
What a cute pony!

I could not watch your video, however by viewing your pictures I see a horse who is behind the leg a bit, and a rider who is very very "handsy". I would do work in the two point, with very light pressure and feel in the reins to the obstacle- just enough to ensure that the pony doesn't veer away. His head and neck look very restricted, and if you follow his head you are more likely to get your bum out of the saddle so you do not restrict his hind end either!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE how your heels are down, your leg is fairly secure and your eyes are up and looking ahead!

Keep up the good work and keep us updated!

Apr. 13, 2009, 10:43 AM
thank you :) yes he's called coconut cream and I've got lots of old vids on youtube :p it's funny how the internet connects people sometimes!

I've been told on another forum that I look like I'm jabbing him in the mouth, and in pictures I often do seem to be, but I've always asked instructors about this and they've said I follow his head nicely? :s they never pick up on it? I may stop using his stronger bit though and see if that helps him.

He is a strong boy with jumps usually but admittedly I was holding him very together when these were taken, I will concentrate on pushing him on - I know he won't object!

Thank you for your crit, it's really helpful and you're all so nice about it! :) very appreciated!

Apr. 13, 2009, 11:44 AM
one of my friends has a draft cross that jumped similar to your horse the thing that fixed his jumping style was to not worry about his head as long as he had it out infront of himself and to keep going forward and following him and landing and going.

Apr. 13, 2009, 12:18 PM
Hi there!

We encounter this problem sometimes with our sale horses. Clumsy jumping habits usually occur when the horse is either lazy or is lacking muscling in their hind end. Here are some exercises that to encourage the horse to use himself a bit more:

1) Grids and bounces
2) Counter cantering (builds up hind end)
3) Transitions (also builds up hind end)
4) A squeeze, cluck, or tap with the whip before the fence

Apr. 13, 2009, 12:41 PM
heya, thanks again guys, these are really helpful and different tips to what I've heard before.

I don't think I'm selling him very well though poor boy lol. He can jump really nicely, easily over a 3' course and xc 2'9. He has a good basis of jumping but he's never used his legs as a front pair and hind pair when taking off. He naturally takes off with all 4 feet at different points, which is straining for his legs and back, and limits his ability - hence this weird fence!

He loves his jumping and rarely knocks a pole, not lazy and tucks his legs up well. It's just this new approach is confusing him! I wondered if anyone else had had similar problems and how they worked through them! seem fine in lessons but alone it seems to go to pot!

but thank you again guys, really helpful to hear different ideas :)

Apr. 13, 2009, 12:56 PM
First of all, the rider needs to let go of his face. He probably doesn't want to move forward and can't because of that. seriously, just let go of the reins and see what he does. Lots of grids and bounces usually helps teach a horse to pick up and tuck their front legs.

Apr. 13, 2009, 03:08 PM
I'm not trying to teach him to pick up or tuck in his front legs actually. He can do that already. Read my other comments on this thread to understand what I was doing. I am not holding onto his face, thank you for that. He is a forward boy and I was holding him in to make his strides more collected in the hope it would help him raise his front end which it did. I've had many lessons and often bought up the subject with my instructor (a respected show jumper and well known for his work with problem horses) who says I go with his head very well and don't need to change that. I will however be changing his bit to a normal eggbutt snaffle and see what that will do for him.

Apr. 13, 2009, 03:31 PM
I've read the comments on this thread, but I still concur that you seem to be hitting him in the mouth, even if you don't want to hear that. He's got his mouth wide open and appears to be straining against the bit in several of these photos. Try grabbing mane or using a neck strap for guidance.

He's certainly a darling horse. :)

Apr. 13, 2009, 03:37 PM
He doesn't have a mane though, he's hogged because it's much more manageable, he has a bush not a mane! :p and thank you :)

I can see what you mean about giving though and I've noticed it before. But as I've said I've bought it up with this instructor and ones before and they have always said I don't have problems with giving him his head?

What am I meant to do if my instructors won't work on this with me, as they don't see it as an issue? I've got videos on youtube that show how we jump and they don't look as bad as these pictures do...


Does it look like I'm being as heavy with my hands?

Hunter Mom
Apr. 13, 2009, 03:47 PM
You also look like you've mildly gotten left in some of the jumps on the second video. It is hard to ride a horse who pulls to the base and still release over the jump. Make sure you're using his neck as a base for your hands over the fence, and don't let them fly up when you land. Grids are a wonderful tool for rider and horse.

Apr. 13, 2009, 03:53 PM
I'm having a hard time with the video, but if you can't grab mane, try fastening a stirrup leather around his neck where you want your hands as a neckstrap and use that to guide you as where your hands should be for a crest release.

Is it possible that you're doing it more when you jump at home than you do with your instructors?

Apr. 13, 2009, 04:02 PM
yeah it's being really jumpy with me at the moment, I thought it was just my computer though. I shall try that, and make a conscious effort to really push my hands away. I do think a lot of the time I get left behind, you're right. I can't seem to quite get it right especially when he takes off further out. perhaps lots of grid work and thinking about my strides more will help.

It's funny how different american riding seems to be, you appear to place a lot more emphasis on the rider than we do, having looked through some of these threads. I suppose you have a whole equitation discipline, here the bog standard 2 round show jumping is as varied as it gets at most shows!

Hunter Mom
Apr. 13, 2009, 04:07 PM
Yes, equitation is huge here. I find that when I do the right things, my girl jumps better.

Apr. 13, 2009, 04:12 PM
Yes of course :) Not many of them will be able to be perfect with a numpty on their back. thank you for all your advice, it has been taken on board and I will be changing his bit tomorrow to see what I get, as well as actively giving him head rather than just trying to go with him.

Thank you all again :)

Apr. 13, 2009, 04:22 PM
I agree that it looks as if you are getting left behind and not giving enough release in some of those pictures/video. It looks best in the one where you are having the lesson, so I'm guessing that whatever your instructor was telling you was helping.

I think that you need to do some flatwork designed to improve your horse's canter. He is as cute as they come, but he has a big strong front end and his canter looks a little unbalanced and on the forehand. It is hard to let go with a canter like that! He is built that way, but you can still try to help him a bit.

You need to teach him to carry his own head, instead of you just doing it for him all the time. Pick him up when he gets heavy (think strong half-halt), and then let go when he is light. You'll probably have to repeat, oh, say, ten million times before he consistently starts carrying himself without getting down on the forehand. If you try to package him at every step, he will never learn to make his own way to the jump. Just keep rebalancing and lightening, and don't worry if he makes mistakes at the jumps. When he does jump, give!

Some exercises on the flat that will help his carriage and his muscle are: lateral movements (shoulder-in, haunches in), lots of lenthening and shortening at all gaits (practice really forward posting trot for 20 steps, slow collected sitting trot for 10, etc), counter canter, and make his body go straight (I've noticed that he's a bit wobbly).

He is very cute, though! His knees are quite nice when he gets there right, and he is a beautiful solid boy.

Good luck with him!

Apr. 13, 2009, 04:35 PM
I agree with what lonewolf said about flatwork. If you can get him to carry himself, he'll be less inclined to haul you down to the jumps. It's also quite possible that in a lesson, your instructor helps you to get him carrying himself better so it's less of an issue. But when the flatwork is solid, the jumps only get better. Some trainers like to think of a fence as just one stride or so of a course of flatwork.

Post pictures as you progress!