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View Full Version : What is your reaction to a horse "running in" to a jump?



Defying Logic
Jan. 6, 2010, 12:42 AM
My mare has developed a new habit. Whenever we are jumping, and our course brings us near a jump, if I am not actively steering around it, she will dart in and jump it.

For example, we had a set up that could be a bending line, my plan was to go past the jump to the rail. We had a very loose rein and I was riding straight, but at the last second she pivoted to do the second in the bending line. I just laughed and the next time through, picked up some contact and held outside rein and she listened and went to the rail.

Today, she knocked a rail, so I circled back to take the fence again (a friend was fixing it) and partway through the circle I noticed her straighten (I was talking the the friend and looking at the jump we had knocked, so again, not really actively steering beyond seat to guide the circle). I look to the front and we are a step away from an oxer that was near (but not on) our circle, which my mare has decided to go over.

I feel almost like I should dicipline the action, but I love the fact that she *wants* to jump and since it only occurs when we are already jumping and I am not completely focused it isn't a big issue. She never really tunes me out, and if I were more on top of things today instead of talking, I could have quite easily stopped her, it really seems like she is just asking "This one now, please?" So I was just wondering what other people would do in this situation.

mooonie
Jan. 6, 2010, 12:49 AM
Can I have your mare? She sounds very sweet!

imnotclever
Jan. 6, 2010, 12:55 AM
If I canter around the arena on a loose rein, my horse will turn towards jumps and "ask" to jump. He will point his ears towards a jump and look at it and then flick his ears back at me and I swear he is saying "come on let's jump it". If I let him, which I've only done a couple times, he will actually make his own course. It's actually quite funny to see.

Coppers mom
Jan. 6, 2010, 01:08 AM
I would thank your lucky stars and learn how to steer ;)

dab
Jan. 6, 2010, 04:11 AM
When I started my mare back under saddle after what everyone thought was a career ending injury, she started pulling me to the jumps -- After I'd stopped her attempts several days in a row, I decided she was trying to tell me something -- She went back to work for another 4 years -- Gotta love the ones who love to jump --

fordtraktor
Jan. 6, 2010, 07:08 AM
Easy answer -- I would start to steer the horse.

theinstigator
Jan. 6, 2010, 07:35 AM
My mare has developed a new habit. Whenever we are jumping, and our course brings us near a jump, if I am not actively steering around it, she will dart in and jump it.

For example, we had a set up that could be a bending line, my plan was to go past the jump to the rail. We had a very loose rein and I was riding straight, but at the last second she pivoted to do the second in the bending line. I just laughed and the next time through, picked up some contact and held outside rein and she listened and went to the rail.

Today, she knocked a rail, so I circled back to take the fence again (a friend was fixing it) and partway through the circle I noticed her straighten (I was talking the the friend and looking at the jump we had knocked, so again, not really actively steering beyond seat to guide the circle). I look to the front and we are a step away from an oxer that was near (but not on) our circle, which my mare has decided to go over.

I feel almost like I should dicipline the action, but I love the fact that she *wants* to jump and since it only occurs when we are already jumping and I am not completely focused it isn't a big issue. She never really tunes me out, and if I were more on top of things today instead of talking, I could have quite easily stopped her, it really seems like she is just asking "This one now, please?" So I was just wondering what other people would do in this situation.Why would you discipline the horse for your lack of focus and guidance?

You can't get mad at her when you aren't paying attention to what you are doing and where you are going.... ;) You're lucky she loves her job.

It would be a different story if she had locked onto the jump, grabbed the bit, and pulled you over it with no regard to your aids.

AnotherRound
Jan. 6, 2010, 07:50 AM
I agree with the last post. You don't want to squash her willingness, but you DO want to instill an understanding that she jumps according to YOUR instructions. As jumps become more complex, you MUST be able to put her on a spot, change angle, make a judgment to which she must listen, and for which she must wait, but she CAN'T anticipate, and she CAN'T get ahead of your intentions and control. She must jump when, and how you say to!

1 - you should never be inattentive to your horse. Not only for safety reasons, but because you are teaching her with everything she does with you on her back. She listens to you, and if you aren't "there" she's going to stop trusting you, and you will lose your willing horse.

2 - if you two aren't partners, she isn't going to be safe for you over a jump. If you approach a jump sometime and need to make a change or stop, or even give her a simple correction, and she keeps going through your decision, you could kill her or you or both.

3 - Remember, not all jumps on a course are to be jumped just because they are in front of her - the course changes, you HAVE to be able to circle, slide by, angle away or towards a jump to be passed by in order to approach the one you intend to jump. She has to wait for you and listen to you and be focused on what you are asking.

Long hours circling in front of jumps, around them past them, never jumping them, as though they aren't even there to you, and many many sessions in the arena where you NEVER jump a jump at all. One day, at the end you pop her over one, an unexpected on, ONLY when she stops anticipating.

I hope others chime in with a better description of WHY you must squash her anticipation, but the above paragraph is the essence of how. Done right, you don't impede her willingness, you instill a signal to jump, and how, for her safety and your control and her maturity as a jumper.

alteringwego
Jan. 6, 2010, 07:56 AM
Sounds like you've got a pretty good packer who is trying to help you when you zone out. Steering is lesson number 1. When you are jumping you should be focused and certainly paying attention to where you are going. This isn't a horse problem but a rider problem.

Renn/aissance
Jan. 6, 2010, 08:52 AM
Steer, focus, make a plan and execute your plan--and give many carrots to your good mare. :)

foxhavenfarm
Jan. 6, 2010, 09:22 AM
Ditto what everyone else said. What a good girl!

lohsela
Jan. 6, 2010, 10:02 AM
learn how to steer and give your horse a hug :yes:

cnvh
Jan. 6, 2010, 11:42 AM
It's a bit of a blessing and a curse when they really like to jump, isn't it?

I'm mainly just a pleasure rider, have a 6-y.o. OTTB that I have pretty much re-trained myself. We mostly trail-ride but do the occasional H/J schooling show, some baby eventing, hunter paces, etc. We don't jump high (not over 2'6"), but I make a point of taking him over as much "weird" stuff as I possibly can, the skinnier and stranger the better. So far he's been wonderful and will pretty much jump anything I point him at.

Well this summer, I'm thinking of taking him to some gaming shows, which we've never done before. Just for sh*ts and giggles last week, I set an upright barrel in our indoor, just to practice riding close to it, around it, etc. (He's used to jumping the barrel on its side; we do that quite often.) Our first time trotting up to the barrel, he "locked on" and picked up speed, with every intent of jumping the thing-- I had to actually steer him AROUND it to keep him from jumping it.

Hmm... can you get extra points in barrel racing if you JUMP the barrels instead of going around them? :)

circusponydreams
Jan. 6, 2010, 11:48 AM
I lease a packer who's always looking for the next jump, and he does this a bit, too. What has helped me the most is to really use my eye - look at the next jump YOU intend to jump, or focus on a fencepost or tree or something on the path that you want to take past a jump. Now that I've been riding him for awhile and we're used to one another's styles, it happens less and less. I hug him after every jump lesson for sure! :D

HealingHeart
Jan. 6, 2010, 10:17 PM
I wonder if she is trying to get your full attention and if she does not have it, she will create games to get it.... it seems to be working.....

i.e, focus on her and enjoy the great ride she wants to give you

Old Jumper
Jan. 8, 2010, 07:41 AM
My horse does the very same thing and while I am thrilled with his desire to jump, it can be a very scary thing as well. (i.e. taking any fence that presents itself to him could mean going over an oxer backwards, going off-course on a JO, etc) I school a lot of flat work with the jumps still in the ring, working close around them, straight past them, etc... and every once and a while pop over a small one to teach him that we jump when I want to jump, not when he wants to. It makes him very attentive to my cues which is essential.

I read above where someone said to be very careful where you put your eyes. Agreed! My horse is extremely sensitive to that so I must always be vigilant to look where I want to go or I can find myself heading somewhere else remarkable quick!

Enjoy your horse - it is a blessing to have one that loves to jump as much as you do.

findeight
Jan. 8, 2010, 09:32 AM
While this is kind of fun on a recreational and play level, it can get you hurt when you don't steer and are not paying any attention if she misjudges something. Like catching your knee on a standard or not seeing a ground pole on the landing side and tripping over it or going over an oxer backward and catching the front, lower rail now on the backside on the way down.

You are also training her to not expect any guidence from you-she does not know the difference between what you mean to teach her and what she learns just thru repetition. She is learning she can chose what to do and you think it's cute...at some point she will make a poor choice and you won't think it cute but she will not understand why you are displeased.

Hey, if she is just a fun recreational horse and it's under 2' verticals or logs on the ground? That's cool. If you want to show or move up to bigger fences and spread fences? Not so much.

SmileItLooksGoodOnYou
Jan. 8, 2010, 10:31 PM
If you continue to experience this problem please call me and I'll be happy to take this problem horse off your hands free of charge.