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RiddleMeThis
Dec. 4, 2009, 08:31 AM
So I was reading an old discussion and it got me thinking about peoples opinions on this.

You and your horse are jumping a course at a height you both are comfortable with. Meaning the horse has done the height many times as have you. You are heading to a jump and you put your horse into a "bad" distance. Not a horrible OMG distance, but one thats a little too tight, or a little too long, and the horse says "No way jose" and slams on the breaks.

Does the horse deserve a smack? Do you just circle and re approach? What is your "protocol" for that scenario?

Dapple Dawn Farm
Dec. 4, 2009, 08:59 AM
As long as it's not a habit of the horse to stop, I'd just circle and re-approach. If you find a good spot and he tries to stop again, then use more driving aids.

Hauwse
Dec. 4, 2009, 09:07 AM
It is important for all horses to believe that stopping is not an option, but if you bury a horse or try to send him paddling, and the horse bails out on you, that is nothing more than self-preservation, and self-preservation is a quality you want in a horse and one a rider/trainer should encourage, it will help you and the horse out in much more dire situations, so no you do not get after a horse for a problem the rider created, the horse will never understand what they are get reprimanded for.

FlyingSwap
Dec. 4, 2009, 09:23 AM
If it is your fault, they should not get in trouble. There is nothing more upsetting than watching at a show when someone hands their horse a terrible distance and then goes nuts on them when they stop. It's disgusting, and I think that a good rider is one who has more control of his/her temper.

Another time I believe in a gentle approach is with a baby in some scary circumstances. The best example I can think of is at the recent OTTB Celebration at the VA Horse Center---indoor ring, etc. Yeah, there were horses who stopped---but I didn't see anyone yell and beat on them. They just stopped calmly, let them look, and tried again. The horses were not being naughty; they were just scared. There's a big difference. Of course---I think, in that crowd of bigtime horse lovers, anyone who got in the face of one of those sweet TBs would have gotten the smackdown from everyone else, bigtime. ;)

Now, in the instance of a dirty stopper---perfect distance, starts to take off, plants feet---THAT is totally unacceptable and there will be a Come To Jesus between me and said dirty stopper. I hate that worse than anything---rode too many of them as a kid because I was the brave one. :lol:

MissIndependence
Dec. 4, 2009, 09:49 AM
I would tend to agree with the GM philosophy. Unless it's a HORRIBLE distance that the horse simply cannot jump from - then a focused smack behind the leg is appropriate. Unfortunately - horses are not quite bright enough to "reason" through why one stop is less meaningful than another so a measured punishment reminds them that stopping is simply not behavior that works. Stopping should simply not be an option that horses get to fall back and and even when the rider makes a mistake the horse needs to try. That of course is not in the event of horrible, dangerous distances or crazy mistakes. Our job as a good solid rider is to try to avoid putting our horse in that position so they remain brave and enjoy their jobs and are not scared or backed off. Any good horse should be able to jump out of a little funky distance without shutting down. I am always perplexed when I see people at the shows have horses stop and then pat them. It's sending the absolute wrong message.

ExJumper
Dec. 4, 2009, 09:57 AM
I think it depends both on the reason for the stop, the severity of the stop, and the temperament of the horse itself. Reason and severity have already been discussed (i.e. spooking at something from 3 strides away vs. practically lifting the front end before putting on the breaks etc.).

But sometimes smacking a horse that is otherwise nervous or is one of those horses that KNOWS when it's been naughty and starts to wig out because it's EXPECTING to be punished -- in some of those cases a smack is just going to make the situation worse and it's best to just chill out and approach the fence again.

SkipChange
Dec. 4, 2009, 10:33 AM
I think it depends both on the reason for the stop, the severity of the stop, and the temperament of the horse itself. Reason and severity have already been discussed (i.e. spooking at something from 3 strides away vs. practically lifting the front end before putting on the breaks etc.).

But sometimes smacking a horse that is otherwise nervous or is one of those horses that KNOWS when it's been naughty and starts to wig out because it's EXPECTING to be punished -- in some of those cases a smack is just going to make the situation worse and it's best to just chill out and approach the fence again.

I completely agree.

If you smacked my old project pony after a refusal it totally blew her mind. She became nervous and started dancing around. If it was my fault, we simply halted and paused to both regain our composure and then made another attempt. If she was legitimately naughty she could get a "fake smack" (raise hand but not actually make contact) or a very, very light one.

Now, a big confident horse who is not nervous is a different matter and will probably earn a smack. I think the big key is to create an excellent, inviting approach the second attempt. Your leg better be ON, your reins short, and heels down. You need to be confident and not let your horse know if you're nervous. If the horse ran out left, please circle right when you approach again and put your crop on the left side by all means.

findeight
Dec. 4, 2009, 10:57 AM
Depends. On the rider more then anything else.

And pace has not been mentioned yet. An iffy distance is doomed by the typical novice snails pace. Basically the horse cannot physically get over from a crawl and the rider maybe pulling on their face just to make sure they don't go too fast.

Likewise too much pace and a stride left out to a too long distance over an oxer-you bet that horse is going to stop...and good for him. More sense then the rider.

Lets not forget a sloppy turn or cut corner putting them crooked to the base either. I have seen too many clobber the horse when they cut to close and gave them no room at the base.

And, of course, you got the neck rider that overweights the front end to the point they cannot lift it off the ground then throws a shoulder at the base to make sure.

Oh, and then you can have one really scared by the appearance of something revealing holes in their basics-like forward. Hitting does no good if you have not installed a good go button. They can learn to associate a scary fence with getting hit if you are not careful.

I don't care what GM is quoted as saying, if the rider puts the horse in a situation where it feels it cannot or should not try to get over? Thats the riders problem-especially novices. Just because he says hit them anyway, IMO, I do not want a novice or somebody on a nervous green horse hitting them anyway when they stopped for a rider error.

And remember, GM does not like to "tap" them. Either smack 'em or forget it.

I give mine one stop and assume it was me. If I smack them, it is well BACK from the fence on a circle to get them forward or, maybe, a smack about 3 strides out on the second attempt if I feel them suck back. Sorry, I remain unconvinced that hitting them after they stop and a rider regains their balance teaches them what they did wrong and can just associate getting hit with the fence. IMO there is only about a 3 second window to react and have it associate with what they did wrong.

Swale01
Dec. 4, 2009, 11:11 AM
I agree completely with ExJumper and SkipChange. Depends on the temperament of the horse and the reason for the stop.

My example - I have a horse who is a strong 'peeker' and can be nervous in a strange ring with strange jumps. The first time around, he will sometimes stop - not a dirty stop, but a back-suction a few strides out that no amount of leg or even crop will deter. My instinct was to drive at him when I felt this and even punish him some for it, and it seemed to backfire because, as was also the case in SkipChange's example, it blew his mind. My trainer adjusted my approach to the problem, and we are doing so much better with it. Now when he stops I force him to walk up to the jump, look, and then take an easy trot into the 2nd approach. This has been working great, and the more I have eased his mind this way, the lesser the problem seems to exist on the first go-round the next time, because his confidence is building.

I think my trainer makes a distinction between horses who are being belligerent and refusing to do something they are perfectly capable of (which would include jumping from a bad spot as long as we aren't talking about jumping 4 feet from a standstill) vs. horses who want to please you but are acting out of fear. He reminds me frequently that my horse visibly loves his job when he's at ease and that the best way to fix the problem long-term is to keep the experience as pleasant as possible and the least stressful as possible for him.

hntrjmprpro45
Dec. 4, 2009, 12:33 PM
The tap should come as soon as you feel it slow down/stopping. This tells the horse, hey go forward at the jump not backwards (this is more of what GM is getting at). Many riders are not comfortable with tapping at take off which is a shame because it is a very valuable tool. Remember a properly trained horse doesn't think of the whip as "uh oh I'm in trouble" it thinks of it as "I need to go forward". So many riders today are afraid they will hurt the horses feelings etc, if they use the whip however, when it is used appropriatly it can be a wonderful tool.

When used after the stop...I do not like seeing the rider smack a horse 5 times while holding the horse in front of the fence. That gives mixed signals (whip means go, pulling back means stop, all in front of a troubling fence). After the stop if you use the whip it should be as you are circling to get the horse in front of your leg. Then you should tap on the take off to reestablish "go forward" at the jump.

As to the novice rider on a green horse, thats easy. Get off and put an experienced rider on. Novice riders don't belong on novice horses, so if they can't deal with a stop properly then somone who is more experienced should get on.

Ajierene
Dec. 4, 2009, 12:47 PM
Since just about every time my mare stops, it is my fault, she rarely gets a smack.

Sometimes a stop starts out as my fault, but then while we are fixing me, she goes into refusal mode. As in,"Oh, this is the jump we stop at! I got it!" Then she gets a smack to remind her that we go over the jump. Really, this only happens in cross country venues (Schooling or at horse trials). I came from a hunter/equitation background and the jumps that fall down don't scare me as much, so I make less mistakes.

One schooling day, we were jumping over this VERY scary looking jump. Or trying, at any rate. I think it was four refusals before we went over. Not one smack to her. If I stayed off her mouth and put my leg on like it was a less scary jump, she would do it - it was my fear and resulting improper riding that caused the refusals. We finally got over it and it was a great feeling to make it over that scary trakehner/drop fence.

A dirty stopper is another story.

mvp
Dec. 4, 2009, 01:04 PM
Depends on the horse's mind, not whose fault it was.

IMO, horses need to know that they need to try always. They don't get to hold us to their standards of perfection.

You punish or not as it gets the horse to try hard next time. I try to give the horse a much better distance on the second approach. I smack or not based on how worried the horse was by the initial stop.

After I have made my point, we go back to a blank slate. I give the same soft ride from way back. If I feel sucking back, I drive, growl or smack for a stride or so-- and we are perhaps 4 or five strides out here. If I give the soft ride, I invite the horse to tell me what he'll do in time for me to "make a statement" and then relax, letting him focus on the fence again.

If the "get going!" ride freaks him out, I keep cantering, circle and give him yet a third approach to find the fence in a relaxed way, by himself.

To me, the point of all this is to teach the horse that a) he must get to the other side of whatever fence I point him at; and b) that's his problem-- hence the relaxed ride that lets him address the fence himself. He can't think about the fence in front of him if he's worrying about my aids behind him.

kellidahorsegirl
Dec. 4, 2009, 01:32 PM
Love all the answers above!

I agree though...it depends on the situation. Dirty stoppers will be punished....but learning horses get one chance to try and then we start to get a lil more forceful on offense number 2.

My horses RARELY stop. They have stopped at their first shows (new place, new fences), but I didn't get mad, they deserve the opportunity to WANT to do the jump. I never FORCE any of my horses to jump....I start teaching them from the beginning that jumping is fun and they enjoy it.

I think maybe in instances of school horses who are fully trained to jump, they can get 'snotty' and just not want to do it...those ocassions can deserve punishment.

If a horse needs more than like 2 smacks on the butt from a crop to get over a fence.....time for a new job or to check for other issues.

I think one of the most important part of being a RIDER is developing the ability to know, feel and understand just when a horse is being an ass vs. when something went wrong and it just needs to be tried again.

Go Fish
Dec. 4, 2009, 02:16 PM
I think the height of the jump makes a big difference. Any horse that is reasonably atheltic should be able to handle a 3' oxer, even if I bury him occasionally. He's physically able to do this. I expect that I have to ride more accurately at 3'6".

Most amys don't have 100% accuracy to the jumps. The horse has to try.

Ridingstar
Dec. 4, 2009, 02:28 PM
Depending on the horse and the degree of disobedience, I will give between one and three whacks for a stop. If it was a horrible distance, in self-preservation, then no punishment would follow, but I do expect the horse to jump from a slightly long or tight distance and would discipline any stop with a single whack, increasing to three hard whacks for a real dirty stop.

Punishment is always with the crop held upright within three seconds of the refusal as we circle away from the jump.

LuvMyTB
Dec. 4, 2009, 02:34 PM
Great responses here, especially from findeight and mvp. I agree with findeight that getting after them/punishing after the stop doesn't do much--the incident is already over and they won't make the connection.

I have had to deal with this a bit recently as my greenie decided that running out was a good way to avoid jumping if he was unsure. Using a stick on him afterwards just made him EXTREMELY worried and he would rush the next attempt and/or make an even harder/more exaggerated effort to avoid it the next time.

After videoing some of this, I discovered that a) we were overfacing him and b) I wasn't riding like I needed to. Many of the runouts were because I just quit riding two strides out and expected him to pack me over--but he's green, and he didn't.

I fixed it by going back to ground poles and gradually working up to crossrails. A couple days ago he did his first two-stride line--he ran out twice at the 2nd element, which sucked, but I fixed it by calmly re-attempting, riding a bit more aggressively, and getting him over no matter what--even if that meant jumping sideways from a standstill with no stirrups. :lol:

who22
Dec. 4, 2009, 03:52 PM
As long as it's not a habit of the horse to stop, I'd just circle and re-approach. If you find a good spot and he tries to stop again, then use more driving aids.

Yep, I would go by this.



There is nothing more upsetting than watching at a show when someone hands their horse a terrible distance and then goes nuts on them when they stop.

I definitely agree. I can't stand seeing things like that! :mad:

Mac123
Dec. 4, 2009, 04:12 PM
One of the nicest things I have seen was how Marcus Ehning handled a stop in a huge international class a few years back. He brought the horse to a bad distance, it was a communication error and a human error, and the horse stopped. Ehning leaned forward, seemingly whispered "sorry" in the horse's ear, gave a pat, and quietly reapproached for a nice fence.

If it is legitimately the rider's fault and jumping would = crash, or the horse is so confused that he didn't understand what was asked of him, then the horse should be delt with delicately.

But ONLY if this is a rare occurance and ONLY if it's a legitimate "But!!" on the horse's part.

If riders miss so often they are causing refusals, they should stop jumping and relearn the basics. Nothing teaches a horse to stop quicker than a rider who cannot ride a fence correctly.

Additionally, horses cannot be allowed to 'choose' their 'preferred' distance. If it's safe but long or safe but quiet, that horse should have jumped and he SHOULD be punished.

Many don't realize that stoppers are most often created...and usually by rider's overhandling or underhandling of stops. Handling and disciplining stops should be given great thought and requires diplomacy and thought on the part of the rider, as well as firmness and an unyielding hand if the situation so calls.

mvp
Dec. 4, 2009, 04:26 PM
I like the Marcus Ehning story!

When a horse is worried by his own decision and I'm pretty sure he thought he it was a matter of life and death, reassurance is in order.

Horses who know they are supposed to go don't need any more stress on top of their concern that they would have died by leaving the ground. In this case, the slow stroke down the neck let's him know he can leave the ground next time-- you and the jumps aren't here to soley to kill him.

BEARCAT
Dec. 4, 2009, 05:24 PM
Just curious - does anyone back up their horse after a refusal instead of circling?
When we asked David O'Connor what to do in case of a refusal, he told us that he does not circle. Rather, he backs the horse up to a distance sufficient to reestablish a good pace and asks agin. He says he pictures a lane going to the jump in his mind, about 2 feet wide, and the horse is not to deviate from that path.

Prima Donna
Dec. 4, 2009, 05:30 PM
And my personal pet peeve is when the horse stops (horse's or rider's fault) and the horse immediately starts backing up or visably anticipating being smacked/kicked. It just shows the judge that even if you don't "beat" your horse now for stopping, you usually do. Especially for rider fault, a nice circle, calm approach, and confident ride should get the job done.


Yep, I would go by this.




I definitely agree. I can't stand seeing things like that! :mad:

kookicat
Dec. 4, 2009, 05:57 PM
Just curious - does anyone back up their horse after a refusal instead of circling?
When we asked David O'Connor what to do in case of a refusal, he told us that he does not circle. Rather, he backs the horse up to a distance sufficient to reestablish a good pace and asks agin. He says he pictures a lane going to the jump in his mind, about 2 feet wide, and the horse is not to deviate from that path.

I do.

If I can, I go back about ten steps then halt before going forward strongly in canter. It seems to keep the horse's mind on jumping better than turning away.

And I don't smack after a refusal. I may growl at the horse (depending on other factors- pace/extenuating circumstances/ rider error) but I don't smack unless it was a dirty stop.

greathorses
Dec. 4, 2009, 06:36 PM
Not a direct answer to the question, but I have worked a lot with my horse to be sure he is comfortable leaving a little short or a little long. This is important in jump-offs when you can't always get there just right and situations like the one the OP described.

Case in point -- My trainer had a 4-yr old in the barn that had only ever been ridden to a perfect spot. The guy who owned the horse came to ride him for the first time, found a bit of a chip to a very small oxer, and the horse crashed. He could jump a big fence from a nice spot, but just hadn't learned how to use his body in anything but.

I've mostly used gymnastics that asked my horse to compress or stretch to get him comfortable with a range of distances and placement -- and jumping a small fence on a circle where I go from a normal ride to gradually a bit longer to gradually a bit tighter. Its a nice test of my own eye (doesn't always work) and also gave me a good sense of what he was comfortable doing, home much leg to add if a little long, how much support to provide if a little deep -- and generally makes riding him quite a nice experience.

My guy is super flighty and was abused. He rears when he stops and gets really tense. I have only ever smacked him once when he stopped dirty in a combination.

sptraining
Dec. 5, 2009, 02:47 AM
I've ridden stoppers and was brought up on the beat em if they refuse method. It doesn't work with horses that are genuinely afraid or confused by the fence. I've noticed that most young horses won't put two and two together to come up with the fact they're getting smacked because they didn't jump. The *only* time I use a stick is on a more experienced horse that is sucking back going to a fence. Or an experienced horse that should know better. Then when the horse does what I want they get a scratch on the neck and a verbal reward.

For the green horse, I make them go up to the fence, exam it, back up and try again. If they balk again, we back up and try again. And again. When they make a bold move and jump they get a big pat. This method keeps the horse from getting anxious and also teaches them that they don't get to turn away from the fence and that they have to work harder by backing up. It becomes pretty clear pretty quickly what you want of them.

If it's rider error and the horse couldn't possibly jump from the spot, I'd probably ignore it and come around and try again and make sure to ride slightly more aggressively. If he stops again at a good spot and he's not genuinely afraid then i'd probably plant one quick smack behind the leg, let him think about it, back up and try again. When he does jump, I'd make a big deal out of him.

Make sure too that if your horse starts stopping out of the blue that he's not hurting somewhere. Most horses want very much to be good. Also any time your horse does save your butt, make sure you make a big deal out of the effort - it's the best way to get them to try hard for you the next time there's pilot error.

Bogie
Dec. 5, 2009, 10:52 AM
With my Green OTTB he only stops when he's really uncertain about a fence.

In that case I don't smack him. I let him look at the fence, will back him up, then trot him over it. I might growl at him to keep him moving.

Big pat when he's good.

I've never understood why riders make a huge circle back to the jump. Unless it's a big fence, the horse can jump it from 10 feet back. I like to keep the horse focused on the jump.

BTW, a great exercise my trainer did when I was a teen was having us walk jumps up to about 2'9". It was fascinating to understand that it was a) possible and b) you didn't need to "gun" your horse at a fence.

kellidahorsegirl
Dec. 5, 2009, 12:06 PM
I've never understood why riders make a huge circle back to the jump. Unless it's a big fence, the horse can jump it from 10 feet back. I like to keep the horse focused on the jump.


I can only answer for myself, but I circle back when I have botched the approach, causing the refusal....I have to allow the horse ample room to try again and have a great experience fixing MY mistake haha. If the approach was what ruined the fence, doesn't it make sense to redo the approach?

Also depends on how much room you have...if it was an angle fence right next to another, might not be able to just back up and go.

On the flip side though....I had my gelding refuse a jump that he really shouldn't have.....we didn't even back up. We refused, he got a swat, took only one hind foot back half a step and we jumped from a stand still (it was 3'....he's 16.2 and quite capable).

So again, what you do in the case of a refusal needs to be played by ear based on the horse, what happened and what you did wrong.

And I grew up jumping large fences from a walk too....it really does help understand what they're capable of.

touchstone-
Dec. 5, 2009, 10:05 PM
I would tend to agree with the GM philosophy. Unless it's a HORRIBLE distance that the horse simply cannot jump from - then a focused smack behind the leg is appropriate. Unfortunately - horses are not quite bright enough to "reason" through why one stop is less meaningful than another so a measured punishment reminds them that stopping is simply not behavior that works. Stopping should simply not be an option that horses get to fall back and and even when the rider makes a mistake the horse needs to try. That of course is not in the event of horrible, dangerous distances or crazy mistakes. Our job as a good solid rider is to try to avoid putting our horse in that position so they remain brave and enjoy their jobs and are not scared or backed off. Any good horse should be able to jump out of a little funky distance without shutting down. I am always perplexed when I see people at the shows have horses stop and then pat them. It's sending the absolute wrong message.

This.

Unless I'm thinking, "thank God he stopped," he's getting a smack. The horse's job is to jump the fence even when the distance isn't perfect, and he can't learn that stopping is an appropriate alternative.

Also, I generally reprimand regardless of whether they're a flighty type who get offended about discipline. Stopping is a situation where judicious, consistent punishment is appropriate--even if the horse doesn't like it.

forestergirl99
Dec. 5, 2009, 11:03 PM
Unless the distance is so bad that there is no way he could clear the jump without crashing through it and hurting himself, my horse better jump it. Getting a bad distance does not call for a refusal in my book because getting bad distances is going to happen, and the horse needs to deal with that.

I personally have never had my horse refuse from a bad distance because I taught him pretty quickly that not jumping is not an option unless is it a serious danger for him or me. My punishment for a refusal is not letting him turn away from the jump, and then a few smacks on the butt with a crop. If the jump is small enough he has to walk over it. Nothing brutal. Just enough to get the point across.

I also used this tactic for other things such as water. The result was a horse that is much braver(he used to be a chicken), trust my judgement, and hardly ever tries to refuse. He is aloud to be scared of a jump, and he can overjump it all day long if he wants too, but he knows that refusing isn't an option.

MissIndependence
Dec. 6, 2009, 06:32 PM
[QUOTE=hntrjmprpro45;4537525]The tap should come as soon as you feel it slow down/stopping. This tells the horse, hey go forward at the jump not backwards (this is more of what GM is getting at). Many riders are not comfortable with tapping at take off which is a shame because it is a very valuable tool. Remember a properly trained horse doesn't think of the whip as "uh oh I'm in trouble" it thinks of it as "I need to go forward". So many riders today are afraid they will hurt the horses feelings etc, if they use the whip however, when it is used appropriatly it can be a wonderful tool.

When used after the stop...I do not like seeing the rider smack a horse 5 times while holding the horse in front of the fence. That gives mixed signals (whip means go, pulling back means stop, all in front of a troubling fence). After the stop if you use the whip it should be as you are circling to get the horse in front of your leg. Then you should tap on the take off to reestablish "go forward" at the jump.


Those are great points - and really what I was trying to point out (but far less clearly than you did). I've been taught that a horse needs to be accustomed to the stick and conditioned to accept it without thinking its always punishment - but rather another aid to assist in moving forward. Most of the time I see people using sticks where they aren't used correctly (slapping on the neck, the butt, etc). My understanding is that the stick should be used directly behind the leg and concisely and without "anger" meaning with controlled force. It becomes a more significant aid - and one that reinforces the leg and spur. I have simply laid my stick on the side of my horse to encourage him jumping across a wide oxer (without hitting), tapped as mentioned above, etc. I think that horses that freak out when they are hit after they stop are simply victims of really incorrect training. Of course, you have to deal with horses on individual basis - but far too often I think we attribute human reasoning skills to our horses and reinforce a lot of bad behaviour that simply comes back to bite the rider and the horse in the hind end. Thanks for these points!

foursocks
Dec. 7, 2009, 11:27 AM
There are a lot of different very good ways of dealing with this, depending on horse, rider, and the circumstances.

My horse can jump a 3'6" fence from a standstill or a walk, and doesn't care what spot he gets to- he will get over it. I've never lied to him terribly, but he will jump from wherever and not care if it was China or beneath the fence. I've schooled him consistently at 3'6"-4', and we've done some jumps in a course up to 4'6". Therefore, any time he stops it has never, in the four years I've owned him, been due to the height, the spot, or anything but his lack of focus. I know when I don't have it- I can almost see his brain floating off to the side.

So, in my case there are things I can do to prevent a stop that in other cases might not be applicable- you have to know your horse. At a show, we go in the ring for the first class and he gets a good tap or two behind my leg- this says to him: focus, you have a job to do. This method would not be a good one for most horses, but for him- he's a willful, big boy and needs to be paying attention to me. I sometimes carry my crop up, so he knows it is there- I've even done this with a straw. Again, for him it is a focusing technique and one that tells him he isn't allowed to play around because we are working.

If he does stop, he gets a few quick, hard whacks, we either back and go from there or we circle, depending on the fence, and that usually does it. I don't care if he peeks, I don't care if he wants to shorten a bit and add a stride so he can get a better look at it, but he has to go over it. If he was a less handy jumper or more mentally flighty it would be different. But he is very predictable and every time he has stopped it has been because he's been looking at something else, hopping around and playing and generally has been not at all prepared to go forward to the fence, so he's taken by surprise.

A very green horse, one that is genuinely scared, has been lied to consistently, or one that is not very handy, has been totally buried in the fence or asked to jump from the next county- that is different. I don't like to see people whaling on their horses, ever- but a good, short correction is sometimes the best response, whereas in other cases it does nothing to deal with the underlying problem.

woodhillsmanhattan
Dec. 8, 2009, 01:43 PM
I think it depends on the horse, as most things do. A horse that gets worried or anxious I think no reprimand is necessary. One that is a little dull and simply didn't make an effort should get a quick smack with the crop right behind your leg. Your fault or not, it's the horses job to get over the fence. I don't know anyone that can put in a perfect ride to every jump, so I "poor" distance at a fence height that the horse is completely capable at is not an excuse for him to refuse. Decide what will teach your horse the best and how he will respond. The one thing I HATE is when a horse refuses and the rider paises or pats their horse. I don't care what the situation was, no praising for a refusal. If your horses is the nervous type simply don't reward, do a circle and support them more to the jump the next times. A little cluck if necessary.

Pony+ an inch
Dec. 8, 2009, 07:47 PM
I, too, agree with MissIndependence's summary of the GM philosophy--even with the green ones and the flightly ones. There may be a difference of the severity of the smack, but the point is, unless the horse is stopping out of saving both its and its rider's sorry behind from a near-death experience in the 3'6'', the horse should be athletic enough to get over it and be safe about it. And a crop/spurs tends to be the necessary extra aid to help accomplish the job.

Something I always admired my last trainer for was his ability to sit as cool as a cucumber, so that if a horse stopped, he efficiently smacked them once, rode them however they needed to be ridden to get over the fence, and then went right back to being quiet and out of the way on their backs. That to me is the best reward a horse can receive for after they've gotten over a fence. Even the flighty ones will settle down once they realize everything has gone back to normal and they aren't being punished for anything---except the refusal. Horses are smart enough they'll figure out over time that that smack was an isolated incident (even if they don't associate it with the refusal).

NancyM
Dec. 9, 2009, 11:08 AM
Punishment for infractions is the least effective form of teaching anything. Especially for a horse. I like Findeight's post.

If a horse has always been taught "forward from the leg", knows that his job is to find a way to jump the obsticle that is in front of him, and gets a good ride from his rider and trusts his rider's judgement, IF he has no physical problems bothering him and he has the talent, he will jump. If he does not jump, there is a reason why. Solve the riddle of why, and you become a trainer rather than simply a pilot steering around the course.

About the only time I would hit a horse for a stop is when he is not moving forward from my leg adequately on the approach, eg he has no forward intent towards the jump on the approach. Because that is all that hitting the horse does for him... it makes him go. He doesn't understand it as "punishment". I want the horse to be looking for the next jump always, locking onto it, and going to it when I have pointed it out for him. Everything else is my responsibility and my fault, line, pace etc. If I have a horse stop at a jump, I immediately know where the fault lies, and it is usually with me. No point hitting the horse for that. If anyone should be hit, it shouldn't be the horse. Hit the horse for a mistake that the rider has made... well... that's not really very fair, is it? Treat a horse unfairly, and he isn't so keen to participate in the job at hand.

By giving a horse the responsibility for going to the jump and finding his way over it, he understands his job. A horse who is confused by bad riding and poor decisions from his rider may stop at a jump, or not want to shoulder his part of the job. If the rider is green or making a constant mistake that he is working on fixing, the horse needs to learn that he must shoulder this responsibility, must extend his trust to the rider again that the mistake will not be made again or as regularly. This is an instance when a stronger rider who does not make the mistake may have to get onto the horse to get him to put out the effort again, and a stick may be useful at that stage to get that forward intent coming from the horse again. The horse must extend his benefit of the doubt to the rider again, after he has been let down and disapointed in the past, if he is to continue being a show hunter or jumper or eventer.

Pirateer
Dec. 9, 2009, 03:35 PM
Depends.

If horse is a dirty stopper, and its not pain related. Spanky. hard. Back up.

If I missed the distance or its a greenie or whatever- no- and we circle.

fair judy
Dec. 9, 2009, 05:18 PM
Great responses here, especially from findeight and mvp. I agree with findeight that getting after them/punishing after the stop doesn't do much--the incident is already over and they won't make the connection.

I have had to deal with this a bit recently as my greenie decided that running out was a good way to avoid jumping if he was unsure. Using a stick on him afterwards just made him EXTREMELY worried and he would rush the next attempt and/or make an even harder/more exaggerated effort to avoid it the next time.

After videoing some of this, I discovered that a) we were overfacing him and b) I wasn't riding like I needed to. Many of the runouts were because I just quit riding two strides out and expected him to pack me over--but he's green, and he didn't.

I fixed it by going back to ground poles and gradually working up to crossrails. A couple days ago he did his first two-stride line--he ran out twice at the 2nd element, which sucked, but I fixed it by calmly re-attempting, riding a bit more aggressively, and getting him over no matter what--even if that meant jumping sideways from a standstill with no stirrups. :lol:

simply put, the punishment must fit the crime.

i did want to point out that running out is a completely different denial. stopping in front of the jump is a leg/not going forward issue. a run out is a steering issue. if you have a run out you must never allow the horse to "turn his back" on the jump. you should bring them back to the fence on the rein they disobeyed, so a run out to the left is reprimanded with a right rein back to the fence.

years ago, we had a lovely careful mare who was brave and bold, with a giant stride. if she was put in a position where she was going to hit the jump, she would stop. that one never got a punishment, but my admonishment to the rider was always to give her a Better ride the next time, not a Rougher or Stronger one. the kid learned a lot about disciplining her eye on that little mare.....

as for growling, i think it is more for the rider than the horse and is over used.