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View Full Version : Rushing Fences....what to do?



cswoodlandfairy
May. 21, 2010, 12:29 PM
So I have been working my boy and we have started to work over fences. The first couple times I will trot a fence and he is okay and canters away beautifully. As we work over fences hes gets more and more rushy. I did an exercise where we did a canter pole, small X, canter pole and I sit trotted to the base and that seemed to work. Basically rider error on my half.

Yesterday we tried a line. We trotted in and cantered out. About a stride out his head would shoot up and you can feel the power from behind. I can hold him back, but he speeds up a bit.

Does anyone have exercises are ideas what I can do to calm him/ fix rider error/ etc? I know I have a tendency to lean forward which I have been told is the reason he is forward. Hence the sitting trot to the fence.

Ideas?

Thanks!

RyuEquestrian
May. 21, 2010, 12:36 PM
I had a mare that rushed between the fences and I found that gymnastics and lines with placement poles to regulate the stride as well as pace between the fences really helped. Start out with a gymnastic trot in, cross rail, placement pole, vertical, placement pole, oxer. Then sent a line of 4 strides, with 3 placement poles in between to regular the striding in between and slowly take the poles away and see if you can keep the same pace between the fences.

Another exercise is setting cantering poles (both in a line as well as set on a curve) which also helps regulate the canter and keeps a consistent rhythm

Lucassb
May. 21, 2010, 12:36 PM
My guess is you are going in TOO SLOW, and of course the leaning only encourages him to scoot as well.

A LOT of horses will rush if they feel like they need a bit more power to get from point A to point B.

Instead of sitting the trot, you can try just trotting *forward* on a soft contact and letting him work out the jump. If you feel like posting might get you left behind, you can simply trot in two point and grab some mane a stride or two out while you focus on looking up and ahead. Let the horse work out the distance and be very, very careful not to snatch him on the landing. Even if he takes a few quick strides on landing, just gently settle back in the tack and guide him around on a big circle til he settles.

Once he knows you are going to let him jump without interference and not grab him on the back side, he will likely slow down all on his own.

findeight
May. 21, 2010, 12:41 PM
Work your jumps into your flatwork. don't school up on the flat and then start jumping.

Trot around, jump a jump, trot for another 5 minutes. Same thing at the canter.

They usually do speed up as you keep repeatinga jump excercise. So stop when he does good and don't repeat it. Go back to flatwork.

For your little trot in, canter out line, try putting a pole a stride out in front of the out and another a stride out on the landing side. 9' is the standard for these but with the trot in and being low, you'd be better to roll them in to 8 or even 7 if you are going slow. And do NOT repeat it right away, do something else.

If you feel he is really still speeding up on that out fence? Drop again to trot, I wouldn't halt in front of a fence at this point, just cunfuzzle him.

One more thing, do NOT be afraid to soften and let him go a bit. We Adults can tend to choke them a bit. Then they get tense. Then we get tenser. So what if his head goes up and he speeds up a little? Let him go and he will learn how to figure it out.

cswoodlandfairy
May. 21, 2010, 12:49 PM
Thanks a lot. I KNOW i have the fear and hold onto his mouth. I DO have a good release over in fear of hitting his mouth. I am only jumping 2 ft right now since that's all he is fit for. He is a BIG horse with close to an 18ft stride when his head is down. He is green and when we canter I feel like hes running away with me...but I'm being told I'm not. Hence me getting use to a BIG stride. He is very flexible in his strides which is great for fences, etc.

He also has been dubbed a freight train...that's what he feels like when he gets strung out. When we canter away from a fence he is very forward but after a stride or two I can bring him back...but need lots of muscle power.

I do have a trainer that helps me twice a week. I know at the canter he gets more forward when he tires and cant hold his collected canter. At the moment, Forrest depends on contact from me for security at the canter and jumping.

I also notice that when I trot over poles sometimes he gets forward after sometimes not. but like I said I cant tell if its him or just his stride.

But thanks for the advice! I will definitely try them. I have the 101 jumping exercise book I want to start using, I am just limited to height at the moment.

cswoodlandfairy
May. 21, 2010, 12:50 PM
One more thing, do NOT be afraid to soften and let him go a bit. We Adults can tend to choke them a bit. Then they get tense. Then we get tenser. So what if his head goes up and he speeds up a little? Let him go and he will learn how to figure it out.

Yep thats me! I am definitely working on it!!! Ugg but his stride is hard to sit/canter to since its big

Lucassb
May. 21, 2010, 12:54 PM
Thanks a lot. I KNOW i have the fear and hold onto his mouth.

A great exercise to get over this is to put a small jump on a good sized circle. Site the jump so you can simply go around it if you don't have a canter you like as you get there. You can ride it in a full seat or a two point (and practice going back and forth between the two) as you focus on keeping a quality canter, on the same step all the way around the circle. Once you have the right canter, you use the reins ONLY to guide the horse around the circle... put your hands in the mane if necessary to keep from pulling... and focus on riding forward.

findeight
May. 21, 2010, 01:01 PM
When we canter away from a fence he is very forward but after a stride or two I can bring him back...but need lots of muscle power.

I know at the canter he gets more forward when he tires and cant hold his collected canter...notice that when I trot over poles sometimes he gets forward after sometimes not. but like I said I cant tell if its him or just his stride.


Thats is pretty much SOP in any Green horse. Until they develop the maturity, balance and strength to carry themsleves? We have to help. Sometimes more then others if they are big.

Maybe work that canter more on your flatwork. Don't pick, just canter around 10 times each way without breaking to help him build up as part of your routine schooling.

cswoodlandfairy
May. 21, 2010, 01:04 PM
Great thanks everyone!! Right now we get the canter, departure is beautiful, holds a great canter for about 4 circles (half our ring) and I stop. Let him walk change directions and repeat. I do that exercise about 2 or 3 times depending on the day and him.

jetsmom
May. 21, 2010, 02:22 PM
It's probably a combo of you and the horse (being green). Green horses will rush out of nervousness or lack of balance. After watching a video of you at a show in a flat class, I'm betting you are riding defensively and hanging on his mouth, going too slow, probably throwing your body at him over the fence and because you didn't seem to actually put weight in your stirrups, but instead are weighting the ball of your foot and balancing off that, are probably having your lower leg slide back over the jump and goosing him.

I'd spend lots of time without stirrups and the other half of the time doing transitions while staying in 2 point without using the reins or neck for balance. Work on developing a secure base, then start over poles working on rhythm, and keeping him relaxed. Freejump him if possible to let him learn where his feet go, and relax so he feels at ease with jumping. I'd just trot jumps until he is relaxed about it. Use trot poles in front to help him stay balanced and jump from the proper spot. Don't try to hang on his mouth to slow him, but instead half halt to balance (using leg), and then stay soft and supportive.

Try to see if there is a made quiet horse you can take some jumping lessons on to develop your base and feel/softness with hands. The overwhelming impression of your flat video is that you have no base, and that will really hurt your chances of keeping him relaxed learning to jump. I don't mean to offend you but you are fighting a losing battle to get him to relax/slow down if you don't address all of the issues.

katiemae
May. 21, 2010, 03:16 PM
My suggestion would be to jump him on a lunge line first. This will teach him to balance himself without worrying about you at all. He will learn to engage, round and balance on his own, that is his best teacher. Then once he learns the jump is not a big deal, you can have a smoother ride. This will help you are well if you have a hard time staying with him and softening. Once you get back on him to jump think about controlling his stride with your seat, not your hand. A greenie needs his head and neck to balance to jump, when you overuse your hand, he panic ecause he no longer has use of his head and neck. Think slow on the way to the jump, if he speeds up close the front of your thight to slow his shoulder (this is a good exercise to try on the flat too, use your seat only for downward transitions, drop your weight, and close the front of your thight for the back up. this will help you tremendously in jumping. dont worry if he doesnt get it right away, ask with seat first and reinforce with hand.) Keep you seat light to, over and after the jump. It is very important to stay quiet, so he realizes it's not a big deal and can settle.

flatwork, flatwork, flatwork....until he is balanced on the flat, he will not know how to use his body to balance over the jumps. The other thing to keep in mind is work slow. Greenies take time to develop muscle, dont over do the jumping, go slow and he will be happy:)

NorthFaceFarm
May. 21, 2010, 03:27 PM
I was going to recommend the lung line as well. If you have some cavaletti or real low standards, its a great way to help them learn what they do and don't need to do to get over the fence. Its not a bad idea to work on the canter on the line without the jumps too to help him build the strength and balance on his own without you holding him up.

Another good exercise for getting used to a big step is to just get in half seat, grab mane and GO. Let him have a nice free pace all the way around until he settles on his own, then gradually start to sit back in the tack and take some contact.

Some that are rushy need to work on short approaches, turns and collection to settle to the fence, some just need to be let go of and given some step to find the jumps off of. Guessing your guy is the latter.

imapepper
May. 21, 2010, 03:56 PM
Ok...I am going to suggest more canter trot canter transitions in your flatwork first of all to lighten him up and get him back together. He is big, green and unbalanced. You CANNOT hold him up. Try to ride on as light as possible contact and as soon as you feel him start to shift his balance onto his forehand (and your hands) do a downward transistion (think ride up into your downward). Make sure you are not diving down into your trot. Sit up and do a clear half halt with your body more than your hands and re-establish a balanced trot and then go back to canter. Repeat as necessary.

Cantering poles is an excellent suggestion. I would set up a couple of lines of poles and work on those. As soon as he leans, play the transistion game until he is light again.

I also like the suggestion of trotting in and trotting out of the line. Then when he is expecting a downward and coming back...it makes it much easier to ride FORWARD to your next jump. You have to do the transition with your body though. If you do it only with your hands, you will create the freight train/rush effect which is what you have now and you are not loving it.

If he tends to get hot (not just on his forehand), you want to make sure that you are not crawling into the line or the fence. Put your leg on and hold your uppper body up (think like a string on top of your head pulling you up and light in the saddle) so that you are sitting but you are sitting lightly towards the front of your seatbones. Keep your hand in front of your body and do not have a steady pull back. Pull if you need to but RELEASE right away. You will get the whoa in the release not the pull and make sure you are not grabbing him on the landing from the first fence. That is a great way to transmit tension to a green horse. Land...let him finish his landing....half halt....then jump next fence at trot/canter or whatever if he is balanced.

Good luck with him :) Once you learn how to put that beautiful big stride to work for good instead of evil ;) you will have a nice horse on your hands ummm or not on your hands as the case may be :lol:

BTW (respectfully)...I actually would not suggest lunging over fences. If you have a good sized jump chute or hitchcock where he does not have to turn on his approach, that would be better. I boarded at a barn once that had a small arena set up as a permanent jump chute where they could canter straight for 3 strides out of the corner and it was great because if the horse was rushing on their own....it became really obvious in the pen. If they were rushing because of pilot error....also obvious ;) If he is big and unbalanced, the lunge line will make him more tense because he is set up to loose his balance from the start....if that makes sense.

cswoodlandfairy
May. 25, 2010, 03:41 PM
Thanks everyone for the advice!! Unfortunately my boy decided a stone bruise versus working would be better over the last couple days! Fun fun!

In the video under saddle, I was definitely riding defensively and got a yelling from my trainer! I can confidently say that I am much better about that now! We have been working on my position with him since he seems very sensitive to where I sit. For example, from a walk to canter transition if I lean the slightest bit forward he all but stops and just looks at me like I'm crazy! Great to have a tattle-tail horse1 :P

I will say that over fences I do tend to get into 2 point way to early but I do have a good release, thanks to a previous horse, so I know I don't hit him in the mouth. I do have issues with spots so we are only trotting so we both don't lose confidence.


But he is teaching me as well as him. We are much better in sync now than that show, and we would have shown this weekend had it not been the bruise. But we have really be focusing on my position and shoulders (I'm a leaner and dropper).

Before the bruise I tried ground poles and trotting fences and he was much better. He is still unbalanced for the most part. He can only hold it but so long, but we are getting better. We are taking a step back and working over ground poles since he thinks hes suppose to JUMP the ground pole instead of canter it! Oye!

I do know he has had formal training when he was 5 and 6..He is now recently 11 and Ive just started to get him back into shape. So that's a solid 5 to 6 years off. But I am excited to see what I have when done!

Thanks again for the help! I hope maybe this weekend I can take a video under saddle to show improvement!

jetsmom
May. 26, 2010, 01:29 AM
Love your positive attitude! Greenies can make you ride worse than normal, and make you ride more defensively. If you're patient, you'll reach a point where you go "Yay! He is so much FUN! When did THAT happen?!"

bonstet
May. 26, 2010, 08:46 AM
I was going to say have his feet checked. I find that rushing can sometimes be caused by feet that are sore or out of balance. If the horse gets anxious over fences, it can be because he's trying to pick his own take-off and landing because he knows it's going to hurt upon landing. Perhaps the bruise is partly to blame?

Bogie
May. 26, 2010, 09:04 AM
Have someone take video of you jumping so you can see what you're doing and see what he does.

I've sometimes felt that my horse was getting quick but when I look at the video I find that it was because I was riding him too slow . . .

No matter how many times people tell you what to do, watching yourself do it is always eye opening!

cswoodlandfairy
May. 26, 2010, 03:09 PM
I was going to say have his feet checked. I find that rushing can sometimes be caused by feet that are sore or out of balance. If the horse gets anxious over fences, it can be because he's trying to pick his own take-off and landing because he knows it's going to hurt upon landing. Perhaps the bruise is partly to blame?

We had the farrier out yesterday. The bruise is almost gone, he was much less reactive that the other day. We did notice however the his front right shoe was no longer flat. Somehow it had gotten slightly uneven. So not sure if that had anything to do with it. But we got new kicks on yesterday, so today we will try to ride again.


I will definitely try to take videos this weekend. Thanks for the advice!

doublesstable
May. 26, 2010, 03:33 PM
I hope his bruise heals quickly. Yeah, horses do have their own ideas don't they.

As far as the rushing... I have seen it AND been a part of it. Green horse yes.. must be ridden a certain way...

Many posters have given some great ideas.... What helped me and the other riders I know with quick to the jump horses - make sure you are using you lower leg/calf for your stability. Even if your horse seems quick - I know that it seems weird to use leg.. but you must so you don't jump out before your horse.. I sometimes wonder if the horse is trying to catch up to me when I jumped ahead of him = rushing.

Think as you are approaching the jump "Let the jump come to you".... I rode my green horse short to the base a bit until he stopped rushing and I stoped jumping for him.... now were finally getting it together. It's a combination of many things and it's not as easy as some people make it look that's for sure.....

If you post a video I'm sure you will get more spot on thoughts.... and funny about videos - as we watch ourselves we can see what were doing wrong.. LOL....

bornfreenowexpensive
May. 26, 2010, 04:04 PM
I will say that over fences I do tend to get into 2 point way to early but I do have a good release, thanks to a previous horse, so I know I don't hit him in the mouth. I do have issues with spots so we are only trotting so we both don't lose confidence.



Rushing a fence is often caused because you are holding too much before the fence.

While you don't want to hit them in the mouth over the fence...if you are holding or pulling on him before the fence...trying to keep his canter together...that can and often will cause rushing as well. In fact...you are making it easier for them to rush. They can brace against your hand and extend out their stride even better when you hold them...ask me how I know this:lol:

I'm not saying don't half halt to keep him together...but a half halt requires you to LET GO;). You check...and soften...not check and hold (or pull and keep pulling)..... VERY hard to do on a green bean. You "hold" them more with your body/leg...your core...not your hand.

Ditto the comments on more canter transitions and working on his canter on the flat. Then for jumping...placing poles are your friend. Let the poles slow him down...not your hand. Good luck and have fun with him.

Keep1Belle
May. 26, 2010, 05:21 PM
I find that grid work/cavelettis to the fence usually help youngsters out.

about 3 to 4 trot poles placed 4 foot apart - leaving about 6 feet front he last pole to the ground line on the jump. Once they do a single fence well I will add another fence 2 or 3 strides out.

I also will take away the cavelettis only leaving the one placement pole 6 feet in front of the jump. Sometimes I will add a canter/landing pole after the fence.

I find this acts similar to a jumping chute just with a rider on top. I use the same placement I would if I was sending a horse through the chute on their own. I let them figure it out at and in-between fences - I only guide them to the first pole and after the last fence.

Seems to work fairly well in getting them rhythmical (sp?) and confident to the fences. Once they get that down pat we can do single fences, longer lines and they stay in their same rhythm. Then we adjust the distances a bit and see if they can figure it out, become rateable, etc.

pony4me
May. 26, 2010, 09:08 PM
Very timely topic! My normally sensible TB is just getting back to work after some injections, and some time off due to diagnostic delays. He seems happy, is moving great, but is rushing the fences. It's like he has a new brain to go with his new feet. The challenge will be to get him calmer and more balanced without dampening his newfound enthusiasm. Trainer has been asked to structure tomorrow's lesson around this situation.