View Full Version : Issues with new jumper

May. 15, 2009, 10:30 PM
My new jumper that I just bought a couple weeks ago has been fabulous in my lessons but has a real gate issue that I was not aware of when I bought him. I took him to our first competition and he started being unmanageable and rearing at the in gate. I am not comfortable with that at all. I need to focus when I go into the ring not worry about a gate issue. Any suggestions??? Is it unreasonable to think of sending the horse back to the trainer I purchased from? I really do enjoy the horse except for this problem, but I bought him to get my confidence up and this is not happening now.
Thanks for your time!

May. 15, 2009, 11:19 PM
I suppose it depends on what the circuit is like where you are showing, but I imagine that here anyways they would let you just go and school the in gate when there are no classes going on. Maybe you should look into that next time you plan on going to a show?

If not maybe you could get a your trainer or another pro take the horse in a couple classes just to deal with the gate issue? (Guess this also depends on the circuit as you wouldn't want to spend $300 in classes just to school the gate!)

I would look into some of your options before you give the horse back though since it seems like you get along otherwise.

Good Luck!

May. 15, 2009, 11:42 PM
Try backing into the gate.

May. 16, 2009, 12:42 AM
Do you have a trainer you're working with? And are we talking about rearing because he doesn't want to go in? (Because I used to ride a pony jumper who would rear because she wanted to go jump. That's a whole 'nother ballgame.) The following response is assuming he doesn't want to go in.

I'd be inclined to go to a bunch of cheap schooling shows (you know, where the classes are like 5 bucks) walk in the gate, feed him a cookie, and walk back out. Go in, make a relaxed lap on a loose rein, tip your hat and walk out. If that's not an option, school him at home thru gates like that. Get on him, walk thru the gate, give him a treat or praise him, walk around a little bit, then end there. Like, literally get on, go thru the gate a few times, and get off. He's balking because he doesn't want to work. So trick him. Show him he doesn't always have to work.

Or spend a month going on trail rides. If he's sour on ring work, as opposed to simply gate sour.

And are you talking about sending him back to the trainer you bought him from for more training, or returning him and wanting your money back? I don't really see that as a reason to give him back, (JMO) but talk to the trainer. If you're uncomfortable with it, and can't or don't want to make him behave, he needs some pro rides to make him do what he doesn't want to.

May. 16, 2009, 02:33 AM
The other thing that occurs is that you say you bought him to help with confidence issues, and you need to focus before you go in - it may be that he has an issue which is then being exacerbated if you get tense at the gate when you're anticipating going in.

If you think that might be part of it, there's a lot of sports psychology stuff to do with being focused but calm and dealing with stress in intense situations - even something like a few breathing exercises might help relax you, and in doing so help relax him.

(Not saying you shouldn't also school the gate in some way- just that you might be able to make your chances of resolving the issue even better if you deal with the horse side of things and the you side of things, if the problem might be coming from both sides. :) )

May. 16, 2009, 03:18 AM
I was just getting ready to say the same thing - try backing in. Quite a few of the grand prix riders have this issue too and then things are fine. You may want to talk with your trainer and see if you have anything in there about a return for an issue such as this, and at least put them "on notice" that this is happening............ ;) Good luck!

May. 16, 2009, 07:17 AM
I had a horse who did this.
At first we had a barn mate stay in the ring and circle until my horse would go in (small shows).
Since its a jumper what we did was have him trot into the ring, right from the schooling area. This worked well and he would get a cookie when he went into the ring. By the 4th day of a show horse went right into the ring with little encouragement!

May. 16, 2009, 09:10 AM
My guy has this issue, and i know how distracting it can be trying to focus on a course while dealing with a problem at the gate, but don't give up so fast if you otherwise like your horse. I either have trainer stand with us close but not at the gate when were next, then trainer walks in calmly, or if he's really tense, keep him walking until its time to go and trainer walks up behind him to keep him moving through the gate area. If you do have an issue going in, you have 30 sec after the whistle to be at the first fence, use it to regroup and make sure where your going. Also, i have been told by several trainers to never ever ever stop anywhere near the gate, inside or outside of the ring with him..... He did try some things inside the ring too during our 1st year - such as leaving the ring while on course w gate open, pitching a fit between clear round and immediate jump off when i pulled up too close to the gate. Just simply no stopping while schooling near a gate has helped, for a while i would work in different rings, and when i could enter one gate, shut all gates, and exit a completely other gate, sometimes exiting mounted, sometime dismounting, just always changing it up...so he never knew exactly where he was going.

May. 16, 2009, 09:51 AM
My horse had this issue too, but its gotten much better. He would get within 100 yards of the gate and throw a tantrum. He spun//backed/hopped himself all the way back to our stabling at a horse show once. Quite embarassing. But at home, I would ride for 20 min in one ring, and then leave, and go to another. He'd throw a fit, and I'd make my best attempt at riding through it. What ended up working, though, was putting him in check before the fit even starts. When you're walking out to the ring, give him a sharp tap behind your leg with your crop, put your leg on and ride him up into your hand. Let him know you're boss before he even gets the chance to act up. And if he does act up, another sharp tap, keep looking where YOU want to go, and keep your leg on. It really can be a confidence builder because it makes you take charge and ignore whatever antics your horse may try to pull.

May. 16, 2009, 11:05 AM
I consider rearing a very dangerous vice and this should have been disclosed prior to the sale being final, especially if it is habitual (ie rearing at the in gate). Seller should be called on it, especially if you were honest about looking for a horse to help you with confidence issues.

May. 16, 2009, 11:08 AM
Thanks everyone!
Your resonses have been very encouraging. I am working part time with a trainer but I do keep my horses at home so work alone for part of the week as well. I like the idea of getting him to a bunch of different places and schooling the gate. We have a lower level circuit that I could attend to do that plus my neighbours all have their own small jumping rings that I could trail ride over to and go in and out of I'm sure. At the show where this happened (our first show) the trainer did get on right away and got in with much less difficulty than I did. She is very assertive and I think nipped it in the bud before it really started. But then I got on and it was bad again. So for sure there is a ME factor in all of this. I do get nervous going into the ring and I'm hoping with more miles that goes away a little. I really do enjoy my new horse so I'm hoping that we can work this out together and be very successful.
Thanks again for all the advice!!

May. 16, 2009, 11:09 AM
I will usually let a green horse hang out by the in gate for hours whenever I go to a show, as long as I am not blocking traffic.

May. 16, 2009, 11:12 AM
Flash44............That was my first thought too! Although I do like this horse very much the rearing terrifies me and is dangerous in the crowd that always ends up at or near the in-gate. There was definitely no mention of this when I bought him and I had only owned him 2 weeks when this happened. Is it possible my nerves created this monster? I would like to talk to the trainer about it but have not had luck getting ahold of him.

May. 16, 2009, 09:44 PM
Glad to hear you want to stick with it.

Can you or your trainer talk to the trainer you bought from? I only mention this because if you do end up wanting to send him back, it will be much more of an issue if you wait a long time. Not sure how recently you bought him.

I have never needed to take a horse back, and I'm not sure what my policy would even be on that, but I know I'd have those WTF thoughts if someone came to me 6 months after the sale and said the horse rears. Know what I mean? Of course, if my horse rears, you'd know about it from the first phone call, before you even came out to see him.

Anyway, might be worth it to mention you're having trouble. (Or not. Up to you.) Could just be a personality clash.

May. 16, 2009, 09:54 PM
I do not know you or how you ride, but I will e you this story to think about. Last year I had a woman come to me looking for a horse. She was an event rider and (supposedly) evented thru training level (3'3") with her current part connemara that was now too old. She was seeking a replacement. When she got here to look at a cute, young TB mare, she told me how she WOULD NOT buy a warmblood ever again because she ahd one and it "was crazy". She said after she had had it for about a month it began rearing, bucking etc. Now this was a young horse, I believe a 4 or 5 yr old. SO anyways, she watches the mare go around, and really liked her. Then wanted to ride. Let me start this part by saying how FORGIVING that poor little mare was to this woman. LITERALLY on of her hands was a FOOT in the air, and the other below the withers! I honestly couldn't believe it, and she had a DEATHGRIP on the reins!! I, hopefully tactfully, asked if she was working with a triner, and she said yes she had just started with XXXX a fairly well known trainer in the event world. So perhaps there would be some hope for her, but I was SO HOPING she wouldn't buy this little mare and create the same monster she had with her poor unfortunate WB! Luckily she did not buy the mare. The reason I relate this is because sometimes horses begin bad habits due to something the rider is doing but is not aware of. Obviosuly I do not think you ride this way, but if this is a horse that has a bit of a balk in him, but was always ridden thru the gate in a very positive way, he may never HAVE reared with the former riders. But if you are being timid, he may have figured out that he can get away with this form of balking. I think you need to assess (or have a trainer assess) what you might be doing or more importantly NOT doing that causes this behavoir. Start from there and then work thru it. good luck, rearing is scary and dangerous!

May. 16, 2009, 11:15 PM
We had a young horse that reared too, ever since we purchased him. We ended up basically giving him away after 4 years of trying to work through it. He did it with professionals, etc. too. We thought he had EPM, ulcers, OCD, you name it. He was extremely talented, so we tried to work through it. We should have sent him back to a cowboy, as we believe he wasn't handled a lot as a youngster. However, rearing is extremely dangerous and doesn't help your confidence one bit. It had my child in tears at the time and my stomach in knots. We tried the egg on the head between the ears, etc. too.

He ended up going to a dressage trainer and the last time we heard - he was still rearing. We disclosed it in our sales agreement (and almost didn't "give" him away, as he was getting worse) and he had a 10 movement on the flat, along with the 10+ hunter jump and would have been a phenomenal horse, if we could have made him go around. He won some of the hunter flats in Florida with 70+ horses, so he was a beautiful mover. It is rare that you get a great jumper and a great mover. Everyone just told us that the good ones were never easy. He got worse as the fences went up and I am sure that my daughter's lack of confidence at that time didn't help either.

However, I wish we would not have kept him as long as we did and moved on sooner, as it really damaged her confidence. We could not afford a really nice hunter and we thought this would be her chance to have a "nice horse." Later, we found out that the siblings of this horse did the same thing. Our daughter worked with a sports psychologist, got a "backyard confidence builder" that turned out to be a really nice horse and is doing extremely well now. However, she lost a lot of her junior years dealing with this.

One thing she was always told was to keep him moving forward as they can't rear if they are going forward. She had begun to ride "backwards" due to her fear. This horse would have issues going into the trailer some days (2 hours+ to load) and other days would walk right in. We always wondered if he "hurt" somewhere and we tried really hard to look at any physical possiblities first, including saddle fit, etc. We used magnetic blankets on him, did chiro and massage, etc. I promise you, this horse would limp if he had a hangnail. We started wondering if he just "had our number." I don't know though, as professionals had issues with him too.

We had to be really careful with her confidence builder and do good maintenance as he had never had any and we think he would have gone in the ring if he had only 3 legs. His pre purchase exam showed 4+ flexions in all fours, EPM, tieback surgery, underweight 350 pounds, and had rolled down a hill in a trailer. Why he was such a saint is beyond me!! He is currently about 20 and teaching an almost 70 year old how to ride! You may want to consider leasing an "old schoolmaster." I can't tell you how much my daughter learned and how quickly she learned once she had the confidence builder. It was night and day.

The other thing is to be assertive and don't wait too long to do something. There are other horses out there. Believe me..........particularly in this economy. It isn't worth damaging your confidence, risking a serious injury, or taking a long time for you to recover.

Good luck with everything! There are some great suggestions on this forum! :)

tidy rabbit
May. 16, 2009, 11:26 PM
I bet you'll find this horse has other "holes" as well. They can be fixed. Start talking to people in your area who have had similar problems and trainers who have been able to help them. A really good resource are the local vets, they'll know a million people in your area who have horses with problems going forward into trailers and other "scary" circumstances and could be able to tell you trainers in the area who can help. About 10 years ago I was in your same situation and I was able to get my mare past it and she went on to be a really fun A/O jumper.

Ruby G. Weber
May. 17, 2009, 05:21 PM
Send the horse back to whomever you purchased it from with a letter from you lawyer stating you expect to be returned all of the purchase fee minus a mutually agreed upon fee for "use of the horse" during the time you have had it.