View Full Version : Jumping leads to FORWARD?

Mar. 26, 2010, 12:05 AM
This may seem either very bizarre, or very normal.

My lazy 5 y/o Friesian has been a challenge, as I have posted on several occasions. He seems to be very obstinate in what he is willing to give on any particular exercise session. Leg, whip and spur do not impress or intimidate him.

But what DOES appear to impress him is the prospect of jumping - I've started putting him over singles, then lines, then combinations of about 2'3" and I really think he sincerely enjoys it!!!!

And then he seems to find a totally forward mindset, even on the flat!

I had a similar experience with another horse, a Holsteiner. We would routinely pop him over a few X-rails before going in the dressage ring.

I'm just curious - anyone else have horses that want to jump before they will flat in a forward manner?

Mar. 26, 2010, 12:17 AM
If my horse is lazy, I might pop over a fence or two and then go back to my dressage work. Even tiny (2 ft) fences really make a difference.

Mar. 26, 2010, 12:32 AM
not weird at all.

Mar. 26, 2010, 01:37 PM
I asked if using my horse in x-country would help with forward, while watching a three day eventing show a few months back. We were standing next to a water obstacle and horse jumped behind the leg losing their rider in the process, my friend responded to my question almost at the same moment, "IT BETTER!"

I think the answer is that YOU are riding more forward to a jump, and that YOU are allowing the horse to move through the bridle because, "YOU BETTER BE!" lol or he wont jump it. :)

And if he does, jump behind the leg that is, it can lead to a mess.

I remember the first thing I said while riding my first Fresian was that I LOVED their trot, and the second was, I DID NOT LOVE their canter lol

They could drop me in a heart be and my leg/spur was worthless :)

With some help, ok ok, lots of help, I learned to retrain forward with VERY relaxed requests, and praise for even the smallest response. These beauties love to please :)

Good news is, that the ones I rode became my favorite in both the TROT and the CANTER :)

But that came from a change of heart, oh and seat...

Sandy M
Mar. 26, 2010, 06:19 PM
Many of Christopher Bartles' and his sister's FEI dressage horses were former Advanced Level eventers. He has been quoted as saying, "I've never had any problems with 'forward.'" ROFLOL

Mar. 26, 2010, 06:24 PM
I'm not a well versed dressage person, so please take my comments with a grain of salt....

But. My mare was an absolute BIA on the flat if there wasn't SOME prospect of jumping something. I mean seriously just having jumps UP was enough to get her to be more willing on the flat. She just flat out liked to jump. And as that was my goal with her, that was fine with me...but the flat work was not optional...we had to do that too.

I'll be honest...as someone getting into dressage now (I am blessed to be at a really awesome dressage training barn), I don't doubt that *some* of these horses are just board out of their minds.

I have always found (no matter what my primary focus was) that horses seem to appreciate some cross training. Variety is the spice of life!

Mar. 27, 2010, 01:58 AM
Technically, jumping is very good for the back, and may in fact do some 'adjusting' of the back... chiropractically/ostepathically/whatever. It also strengthens muscles, stretches, physiologically it is just very sound practice (pun acknowledged.)

Mentally... some horses ADORE it. :cool:

Between mini-little-XC jumps, and the grass slope... I always have a ready remedy for lack of forward. AMAZING how the canter improves. :yes: :winkgrin:

Mar. 27, 2010, 10:23 PM
My friend has a pretty lazy WB mare that finally goes forward after she does some jumping. Before she jumps, she is fairly sulky and doesn't really engage her hind end. Not sure if the jumping "unlocks" her a little (possibly helps her back loosen) or that my friend rides her differently when jumping, but it seems to help.

My horse doesn't have issues with being forward. But I do think she gets bored and likes variety in her work. I don't jump my horse very much during the winter. No reason to put more pounding on her landing gear when we aren't competing. We focus on dressage all winter (we are also stuck in the indoor). In the spring, she does seem to "light up" when she sees that jumps are set up again and gets much more forward than usual. Same reason we do a lot of our flatwork out in the fields when the footing is good--just more interesting for them to get out of the ring. BTW--dressage out in the fields can also help with forwardness!

Mar. 27, 2010, 10:59 PM
Most horses & riders in Europe are taught to do both jumping and dressage and whatever they prefer is usually what they finish there training in.

I think you just have to do what is right for your horse. I think of it as raising a child, of course we want them to excel in math and science, but they can get bored at it and we should give them some freedom and reward them or get them motivated with other factors, like electives, or sports, music, art etc. If your horse is obviously telling you, "mom, i like jumping" I think you should deff plan it into your routine.

Each horse is unique and we can't just go with what is normal/dry cut training technique; it needs to be maniuplated for each horses' attitudes, behaviors, prefrences, and unique traits. I take my mare out galloping for 10 minutes before I do any dressage work... its what she enjoys and it gets her mentally ready and motivated. You and your horse have a mutual partnership and if you want something from him I think you should give something to, and if jumping is what likes, by golly hop over a couple of cross rails^^ ;)

ToN Farm
Mar. 27, 2010, 11:24 PM
I think the answer is that YOU are riding more forward to a jump, and that YOU are allowing the horse to move through the bridle because, "YOU BETTER BE!" lol or he wont jump it. :)

And if he does, jump behind the leg that is, it can lead to a mess.
Very true. It's obvious you've been there, done that. Yes, jumping can wake up a horse and maybe get him thinking forward BUT you have to get him jumping first. If you can't get a horse in front of the leg w/o jumping, how can you get it forward enough to jump?? There is nothing worse than riding a lazy horse to a fence. They end up propping and jumping from a standstill in a heap. You need a very aggressive rider to jump a horse like that.