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View Full Version : How often do you jump a young horse?



AmandaandTuff
Jul. 30, 2009, 11:38 AM
How often do you jump a young horse, age 5? Yesterday I jumped a total of 5 minutes over nothing bigger than 2 feet. Would I be able to jump today over higher fences for a longer period of time? I haven't jumped since July, but I don't want to over work the horse. Then wait until next week and start a schedule of flatting on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, jumping on Tuesday and Thursday.

Does this sound like a light enough work load?

mrsbradbury
Jul. 30, 2009, 12:44 PM
You have to let the horse tell you a bit. I jump my young and training horses once a week, the other days are flat work, poles and barn etiquette. They seem to progress nicely. Most of my clients jump once per week as well, unless we are schooling before a show, then we adjust to each teams' needs.

My program is admittedly slow, but careful. I don't think that twice per week is too much. If the jumps start falling apart, step away and go back to the flat for a while.

MintHillFarm
Jul. 30, 2009, 09:47 PM
I am a conservative, and like the other poster, I too go slowly...I don't jump a young horse 2 days in a row. Usually 1x a week is fine for mine and I do add in poles some as well. He jumps better and is more interested in making good efforts over the jumps, as well as saving those joints from too much pounding.

With my 5 yr old, I usually ride 3 or 4 days max in a row and then give him a day off. I think for me as he is so quiet, it keeps his mind fresh and cheerful.

HJPony
Jul. 30, 2009, 10:52 PM
In my opinion, one rigorous training session over fences per week is acceptable. Of course, conditioning and maintenance is key. By this I mean..don't show up for your "once a week jumping lesson" without conditioning your horse's muscles on all the other days. There are so many things an owner or handler can do to maintain a horse's soundness, no matter what age.
Fortunately, working with poles on a daily basis may really improve your horses jumping skills. Poles probably won't help your horse's jumping style but will be beneficial in many other areas.

PNWjumper
Jul. 31, 2009, 12:25 AM
For starters, I don't consider jumping 2' fences a "jumping session," even with a young horse, and I don't consider a 5 year old *that* young of a horse unless the particular individual is a slow maturer. The only caveat being if it's mentally taxing for the horse (in which case my progress would be much slower).

Generally speaking, I consider 2' jumps to be an extension of the flatwork with no more wear and tear on the horse than would be caused by the dressage work that should be being done on a day to day basis (again, the exception being if it's mentally tough on the horse causing them to overreact to the jumps). Once I start doing gymnastics and fences I try to incorporate a few small fences or gymnastics into the work just about every day.

As a general rule, I much prefer to do a small amount regularly than a "hard jumping session" once a week. Of course this doesn't work out terribly well if you're in a boarding situation where you can only jump in a lesson. But I hold that rule for all of my horses from my youngsters to my big jumpers. I found that when I switched my AO Jumper mare's schedule over from 2x a week to 6 days a week (probably pretty close to the same number of jumps over the course of those 6 days as it would be in two more rigorous sessions) her stamina noticeably improved.

I don't think your schedule sounds difficult at all for a horse who's kept in a good training/conditioning program. But that's such a wild card from person to person and barn to barn, that it's hard to affirmatively state whether it would be tough for your horse or not. Just listen to the horse. If you jump the second day and he's acting pissy or "off-normal" in any way then scale it back.

*Liz*
Jul. 31, 2009, 07:12 AM
I jump my 5 year old BWP mare about 1x per week, occasionally 2x per week, and often more like 1x every 10 days or so. I usually jump her in a lesson, so she'll usually do about 2-3 courses worth of 2'6-3' jumps or gymnastics up to 3'3-3'6. Sometimes I'll hop her over just a few jumps to keep her mind fresh, but I usually keep my jumping to a minimum.

When I was showing my A/O jumper he would jump about 1x every 7-10 days at 4'-4'9''. We would have 1-2 conditioning rides per week (20 min trot, 15 min canter, 20 min trot - just asking for forward engagement, incorporating some hills, bending, and lead changes) and about 2 or 3 dressage rides per week. He kept stamina and form beautifully on this routine.

Personally, I want to save my horse's jumps as much as possible. I've always held true to the adage that a good jumper is born from good flatwork ;)

MintHillFarm
Jul. 31, 2009, 07:58 AM
I jump my 5 year old BWP mare about 1x per week, occasionally 2x per week, and often more like 1x every 10 days or so. I

Personally, I want to save my horse's jumps as much as possible. I've always held true to the adage that a good jumper is born from good flatwork ;)

I agree; and also with the HJ Pony's point on the rails...
Using rails has always improved rideability, and personally for me keeps my eye in tune too...

When I do school in the 1x a week or so session, it is not a hard one by any means. I trot a few, canter a couple and do some lines; trotting in and cantering out. He has the winters off, so he is not as far along as some 5 yrs olds and I am in no rush...he has grown from 15.2 hh to big 16.2 in the 3 yrs I have had him - he has jumped up in hgt more than I thought he would!

Einstein
Jul. 31, 2009, 08:47 AM
My 5 yr old is jumped 2x a week at 2'6''.
The days we jump, it's not an intense jumping session.
We do some x rails, grids and add in a few lines.:D

AmandaandTuff
Jul. 31, 2009, 10:28 AM
I'm trying to do one day small stuff, one day higher stuff. Tuesday I did 2' max, Thursday I did 2'6" - 2'9". On my last horse I was maxed out at 3', and I have a feeling this horse can go much further. I'm just going very, very slow. I don't want her or myself to lose confidence.

sp56
Jul. 31, 2009, 05:52 PM
Depends on the horse and the horse's brain and your availability.

Some horses learn better by doing a little bit every single day. Other horses pick up on things quickly and don't need to be schooled that often.

If you have a horse with short term memory loss, jumping just a few small fences (under 2') several times a week may be the way to go with one or two more serious sessions thrown in there. If you have a quick learner, then perhaps fewer days per week, but with a slightly bigger fence height. When you're not jumping, you can work on pole exercises to teach them how to be clever with their feet (Linda Allen's book has some good stuff in it).

Each horse is different - you just have to figure out the program that works best for you and your horse.

hanoverian_mare
Jul. 31, 2009, 06:12 PM
I agree with some of the other posters that 2 foot fences arent really that rigorous for your horse. It sounds like your horse has a pretty easy schedule. It extent to which you push him definitely depends on the maturity of your horse. In the 5 year old futurity classes though, 5 year olds jump a solid 1.10

billiebob
Jul. 31, 2009, 08:13 PM
I jump my 6 y.o. (who raced until he was four and then spent two years babysitting weanlings at his breeder's farm, so has only had about 5 months of non-race work) once or twice a week. Never two days in a row. And jump is a VERY generous word for what we do--mainly 18" courses of 6-8 jumps, gymnastics and single fences up to about 2'6.

The barn that I learned to ride English at was full of old campaigners. The young jumpers were in their mid-teens. Almost all of them with little soundness issues. We were super careful with how much they were allowed to be jumped and how many lessons they were allowed to do a week. It's hard to break that habit, even with a sound youngster. I do flatwork more days than I jump each week.

As far as trail rides go, if it could manage not to downpour on the few days I might have time to go out for an hour or two, that would be part of our regime as well.

andylover
Jul. 31, 2009, 09:18 PM
i had a trainer once told me many years ago and have followed it to this day.. a horse has only so many jumps in them, so use them wisely.

PNWjumper
Jul. 31, 2009, 11:22 PM
i had a trainer once told me many years ago and have followed it to this day.. a horse has only so many jumps in them, so use them wisely.

This has to be the most used quote in the jumping world and it DRIVES ME CRAZY! (no offense meant towards you, andylover, it's just said a lot by a lot of [well-meaning] people).

You, as a person, also only have so many breaths in you. But you sure can prolong those by managing your health and fitness appropriately. The same goes for horses.

There are some horses who will break down early because of poor conformation or poor shoeing or poor conditioning/fitness management (boy do you see a LOT of horses that aren't properly conditioned on the h/j circuit). But a good horse, who's built soundly, can jump an awful lot of jumps in its life if managed properly. And generally speaking I just don't think that jumping what the average person jumps (3' maybe?) hastens that eventual break down IF ALL OF THE OTHER CONDITIONS ARE BEING MAINTAINED PROPERLY. All of my big jumpers have stayed in the big jumpers (4'6"-5') for many years and remained jumping at least at 3'6" well into their twenties. None have had soundness issues, let alone anything that would mean that they had to stop jumping, and I can guarantee that those horses jumped a lot more jumps than your average horse in their lives.

Sorry to get up on the soapbox, but I think improper conditioning, improper shoeing, and improper recognition of minor issues (that will eventually lead to major soundness issues) are far more to blame for limiting the number of jumps a horse can take than the fact that you've jumped the horse more rather than less.

Go Fish
Jul. 31, 2009, 11:31 PM
For starters, I don't consider jumping 2' fences a "jumping session," even with a young horse, and I don't consider a 5 year old *that* young of a horse unless the particular individual is a slow maturer. The only caveat being if it's mentally taxing for the horse (in which case my progress would be much slower).

Generally speaking, I consider 2' jumps to be an extension of the flatwork with no more wear and tear on the horse than would be caused by the dressage work that should be being done on a day to day basis (again, the exception being if it's mentally tough on the horse causing them to overreact to the jumps). Once I start doing gymnastics and fences I try to incorporate a few small fences or gymnastics into the work just about every day.

As a general rule, I much prefer to do a small amount regularly than a "hard jumping session" once a week. Of course this doesn't work out terribly well if you're in a boarding situation where you can only jump in a lesson. But I hold that rule for all of my horses from my youngsters to my big jumpers. I found that when I switched my AO Jumper mare's schedule over from 2x a week to 6 days a week (probably pretty close to the same number of jumps over the course of those 6 days as it would be in two more rigorous sessions) her stamina noticeably improved.

I don't think your schedule sounds difficult at all for a horse who's kept in a good training/conditioning program. But that's such a wild card from person to person and barn to barn, that it's hard to affirmatively state whether it would be tough for your horse or not. Just listen to the horse. If you jump the second day and he's acting pissy or "off-normal" in any way then scale it back.

I agree with this. Either my trainer or myself jump my 6-year-old gelding 4-5 times a week. We normally jump him 2' with one session at 3' which is his division height right now.

My mare doesn't need much over fence work. I don't ride her often. She's a pro horse...I think trainer jumps her two or three times a week.

andylover
Jul. 31, 2009, 11:44 PM
yes it is on overused statement, there is no doubt about.. and yes there are a lot of variables as to how long or short a horses career can be. i think the quote is more designed to prevent people from over-training and/or being over zealous on jumping.

but i now remember why it is i dont post on COTH anymore.

AmandaandTuff
Jul. 31, 2009, 11:45 PM
I'm hoping she's considered well conditioned. We did some slow barrel racing early on this year just to get her out at open shows. She's been under saddle since last fall, and is doing considerably well for the short amount of time she's been ridden. I may add that I cannot ride in the winter. We do a lot of trail riding up and down hills to stay in condition, trying to prepare to do eventing at least once.

A single pic in a lineup at a benefit show. I'll hopefully get some jumping shots next week and have a general opinion if she's C level hunter material.

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d77/DontBelieveInMe/5149_94529482006_709387006_2482064_.jpg

jmvwiv
Aug. 1, 2009, 08:16 PM
My 5yr old is jumping 3' courses with some bigger ones thrown in if she is going well that day. (today was one of those days :) ) She is jumped twice a week mostly. Sometimes only once. She is hacked/given a cardio workout 3 other days a week. These workouts could include the oh so massivly taxing speed bump 2' logs/jumps we encounter along the way. She is fit, strong, well mannered, understands she has a job to do and is quite happy.