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View Full Version : How often do you jump your horse and how high?



Imanaltertoo
Jun. 22, 2010, 08:30 PM
Yep, just like the title says. In your training schedule, how often do you jump your horse (once/week, etc.) and how high? There's a bit of a debate among students at the barn I ride so I thought I'd come to COTH to see what others say.

Our trainer says a horse only has so many jumps in him and prefers to keep the jumping (anything at 2'9" and above) to once/week. Going over smaller stuff (2') is fine at other times, but she says that flat work is very important, although the student may find it boring, especially if all she lives for is to jump and jump high. My trainer also says that there is nothing a horse and rider can learn at 3' that he/she can't learn at 2'3" (or even lower).

My opinion is that jumping high, while fun, isn't that much of a skill, especially if your horse already can do it. What's harder is learning to place your horse, balance on turns, work on striding, etc. That can be done at a lower height without detriment to the horse. Am I wrong here?

Thanks!

Bobthehorse
Jun. 22, 2010, 08:41 PM
Max once a week, sometimes less. My horse is currently at novice and we usually jump a variety of heights depending on the questions. Generally stay around 3'. Sometimes in grids we bump the last fence up to around 3'4'' - 3'6''.

My older guy, when he was established at Training and then going Prelim I sometimes didnt jump between shows unless we had big gaps, between 2-4 times a month. Again we schooled a variety of heights depending on questions, but mostly stuck around 3'4'' with the odd 3'7''-3'9'' fence thrown in just to see (slash, for Bob's enjoyment).

We often school smaller fences but tougher questions, angles, bending lines, quad bounces - and keep them under 2'9'' ish.

IMO most people jump too often and at best neglect flatwork....at worst wear down their horses. I believe a horse only has so many fences in them, and I dont want to waste mine. Plus, there are so many jumping problems that can be fixed with flatwork, polework and very low fences, I dont see the need to be constantly jumping the horses.

fillygreen
Jun. 22, 2010, 08:57 PM
I agree with BTH. I only jump once, maybe max twice a week. The majority of time, I spend on the flat. It pays off over fences. Even on my green bean, who is already talented jumping, I'm spending most of my time just working on balance, rhythum, and pole work. The rest will take care of itself. :D Plus your horse will last longer. :winkgrin:

ThirdCharm
Jun. 22, 2010, 09:12 PM
Sounds like you pretty much agree with your trainer? And there is one adrenaline junkie who doesn't want to do flatwork?

I rarely jump my Training level horse (maybe twice a month), and when I do it is xrails to MAYBE 2'6". I rarely jump bigger except at shows. Most of my students jump about once a week and mostly around 2'6". Before a show they'll tune up with a round or two at height if nerves are an issue.

Green/young horses jump more often, couple times a week, but just trotting or cantering a few small fences at the end of a flat ride, so that they learn that jumping is no big deal and nothing to get excited about.

Dressage, dressage, dressage!!

Jennifer

VicariousRider
Jun. 22, 2010, 09:27 PM
I also ascribe to the adage that "a horse only has so many jumps in them."

But... how often one jumps a horse really depends on a myriad of factors. I choose to jump once a week or less. My mare is 17 and was a h/j horse so the horse knows how to jump and has jumped a lot so she mostly needs fitness and flatwork. I'd say that your trainer's rules sound reasonable.

sch1star
Jun. 22, 2010, 09:28 PM
Once a week, and primarily at the level for my pony who is a greenbean and going BN.

My P horse I jumped less and less as we approached the level. I didn't want to put more mileage on him than he needed at that height, he already knew how to jump, I just wanted him to stay in tune.

I do think it's good to do a mix of heights as you move up. As others have said, a lot of bigger questions can be schooled effectively at lower heights. However, I think it's important to sometimes jump the level even if it is biggish in order to keep the horse's eye accurate and remind the rider of the difference in power and balance as the fences get bigger.

I have to manage my 3'6" horse a lot over 2'6". To 3'6" assuming I have the right balance, I only need to move up to the jumps.

gardenie
Jun. 22, 2010, 09:33 PM
I jump a couple of times a week over small fences and gymnastics, and twice a month jump bigger fences either xc training prelim or stadium 3'6 to 4' with my draft cross to keep him jumping up per Jim Woffords advice. He felt my horse was surprised by the size of the fences when they went up to prelim height and that I needed to jump higher at home. I will also sometimes add a quiet jump or two out on a hack just for reminding the horse it can be an easy thing to do, it doesn't have to be several fences at speed when in the open.

In addition, I find jumping bounces helps develop the canter, and I need to jump the smaller fences to stay on my game. It also helps develop topline and strength when actually jumping fences just like we need to do pushups and weights to get stronger. I think that if you don't get a horse fit to jump, you are also asking for injury. The truth is somewhere in the middle, you don't jump indiscriminately, you should have a plan, and you do the work gymnastically. I also love the poles on the ground exercises. Horses do have a limited amount of big fences in them.

SuZQuzie
Jun. 22, 2010, 09:43 PM
Only 2-4 jump schools a month depending on the number of shows. I usually only stay in the 2'9"-3'3" range with him and will jump up closer to competition height in the 3'6"-3'9" range the week before the competition.

TBrescue
Jun. 22, 2010, 09:48 PM
Once a week, if even that often. One jump school @ competition height the week before an event. Most of our schooling is dressage, with at least one long conditioning hack a week.

VicariousRider
Jun. 22, 2010, 09:53 PM
In getting/keeping a horse fit for jumping, would you say that a lesson once a week with jumps set at anywhere from 2'3" to 2'9" (including gymnastics) along with jumping some smaller jumps on one other day, is enough? Add in dressage at twice a week and then flat work another day or two (if she's only jumped once that week). About once/month the trainer will raise the jumps to 3'.

I have found that fitness for jumping is really developed by going through the countryside and over terrain as well as doing really correct flatwork (not just aimless trotting around the ring). The actual jumping at the level that you describe doesn't take drilling of jumps. While the haunches and back are engaged in the actual jump, those muscles are exercised in many ways.

I had a trainer who always reminded me that in the 2 minutes of jumping a stadium course, 1:50 is flatwork. FWIW: I have heard a number of UL riders and respected horsemen say that, as a general rule, a horse does not lose a whole lot of fitness until they have been out of work for about 3 weeks. With that in mind, jumping 1-2 times per week is more than enough to maintain fitness.

Some people choose to jump more because THEY either think that it is more fun or want to get better at it through practice. While nothing beats jumping in terms of fun and helping achieve balance and rhythm, there are also lots of other ways to work on those things (like no stirrups, hacking, etc.).

luckyrock
Jun. 22, 2010, 09:54 PM
I was and still am one who gets bored with flat, flat, flat. I never liked dressage lessons when I was at an event barn, and always loved to jump lots and big.

Now that I am on a horse that I am the sole rider of, and schooling him to compete, I find that I love dressage more and more every day. I did a line of three jumps with him last Saturday, because it's something I'd never done with him (a line of more than two jumps) and have flatted since then.

My jumping from my first lesson with my new trainer, where I begged to jump, to my last jump school about two weeks ago (a little over 4 weeks of flatting only in between) was shocking to me. He came off my leg, he moved forward, he would collect when asked, etc etc and I truly attest that to all this dressage we've been doing! Also, my seat was more secure and I was moving better WITH him over the jumps! He was great too, got his mind off flatting.

So, about once a week, if that.

cnvh
Jun. 22, 2010, 10:00 PM
I have a 7 year old OTTB greenie, and we usually do one ride devoted to O/F work once a week or once every other week, and then only to 2'6". Just to keep him interested and paying attention, we DO pop over a fence or two during almost every flat ride though-- but those are weeny 1' crossrails, so I hardly think that counts.

Carol Ames
Jun. 22, 2010, 10:05 PM
It depends of course on the horse, level, and:yes: purpose; I've always kept it down to twice/ week:cool:; usually one of those a ;)gymnastic; the other, lines and course work, possibly a show; I made certain not to do a gallop/ conditioning :no:the day before/ after a jump schoo:no:l

lizajane09
Jun. 22, 2010, 10:06 PM
My mare probably jumps once every two weeks, and maybe once a month at competition height (Int.). Usually, she will get a jump school at height about 5 or 6 days before a horse trials. The other jump schools are mostly me working without stirrups over smaller fences, us working on gymnastic exercises, or us practicing specific skills over smaller fences. I know that for us, probably 99% of any issues we might have over fences are rooted in our flatwork, so that is where we spend the majority of our time.

ETA: When I've been a working student, it's probably been more like once a week over fences, mostly because I like to have someone analyzing/correcting all aspects of my riding as much as possible when I have the opportunity to get regular lessons in.

Scaramouch
Jun. 22, 2010, 10:15 PM
Once a week, at 3' max. If we have a show or lesson on any given weekend, we won't jump at home that week. I have limited space at home, so there isn't much I can actually do, and if I can't mix things up, there's not much point in jumping very often. The rest of my rides are split pretty evenly between hacking and flat schooling - sometimes after a hack I'll pop over something to surprise the horsey.

Bobthehorse
Jun. 22, 2010, 10:59 PM
I have found that fitness for jumping is really developed by going through the countryside and over terrain as well as doing really correct flatwork (not just aimless trotting around the ring). The actual jumping at the level that you describe doesn't take drilling of jumps. While the haunches and back are engaged in the actual jump, those muscles are exercised in many ways.

I had a trainer who always reminded me that in the 2 minutes of jumping a stadium course, 1:50 is flatwork. FWIW: I have heard a number of UL riders and respected horsemen say that, as a general rule, a horse does not lose a whole lot of fitness until they have been out of work for about 3 weeks. With that in mind, jumping 1-2 times per week is more than enough to maintain fitness.

Some people choose to jump more because THEY either think that it is more fun or want to get better at it through practice. While nothing beats jumping in terms of fun and helping achieve balance and rhythm, there are also lots of other ways to work on those things (like no stirrups, hacking, etc.).

I agree. My older guy, despite having years off jumping while I didnt compete, and having the winters off jumping when I did compete never seemed to lose his jumping muscles. It seems like once they develop it, it never really goes away, but it does fade slightly. My young one took awhile, he would often get a bit of fatigue when jumping (he used to way overjump everything and after 4 fences was spent), but once he built those muscles up he never seemed to have problems, even after time off. Rear end and back strength are maintained through proper flatwork and hacking out, so as long as a horse is doing flatwork and getting out a bit you can stop jumping for quite a long time before they really start to lose strength in that department.

showhorsegallery
Jun. 22, 2010, 11:19 PM
I think you're being a little over-conservative, you can jump your horse more times if your being careful. It's like anything else the more you do it, the more in shape you are for it.

I'm not saying you should go out and jump 3'+ course for hours multiple times a week, but seriously, schooling 3 times a week isn't going to hurt your horse.

I used to school three times a week consistently and did flat/trail the other three days a week. Not everytime was a course, sometime it would just be focusing on like what lizajane09 said, "gymnastic exercises, or us practicing specific skills over smaller fences."

I hardly ride right now so, this isn't happening anymore but my horse has never had a soundness issue. I know plenty of horses that were jumped often in lesson programs that never had soundness issue either. I also know many horses who were "babied" that are cripple all the time. Sometimes I care issues aside, think soundness is just a crapshoot on a horse by horse basis.

Again, I'm not advocating running a horse into the ground, I just think saying only jump once a week is being way too conservative.

EiRide
Jun. 22, 2010, 11:52 PM
I think partly it depends on the horse and the goals. I'm a chicken, so I need to keep my eye set at the level I am competing with gusts above that in order to feel secure. I tend to do one jumping school per week, less in winter and the hottest part of summer, and more in spring and fall.

My Novice mare I school 2'9" to 3'6" in lessons. My green bean was doing cross rails and verticals last fall, but due to health problems (me) we have not done much yet this year. My semi-retired Training mare isn't jumping much more than a log on trail these days.

PNWjumper
Jun. 23, 2010, 12:30 AM
I hate the phrase "a horse only has so many jumps in them."

Well DUH! (not directed to any of the above posters, just at the comment in general).

You also "only have so many heart beats in you," but that number can be adjusted up or down based on fitness and conditioning just like the number of jumps in a horse.

To answer it more directly, IME the amount of jumping needed by an individual horse totally depends on the horse. I have two horses that I show in the 1.30m and 1.40m jumpers. My mare is a tough horse to condition and keep fit, partly because I'm jumping her above her comfort zone (we mostly do the 1.30m/4'3" with occasional forrays into 4'6"). During the show season I jump her every single day. She's on an extremely strict conditioning program that includes 2-a-day-rides and, of course, lots of jumping. Without it she loses condition quickly and struggles at the shows over the course of 5 days of jumping.

Her schedule is that 8 out of 10 days we jump "small" (3' to 4'), 2 of the 10 days we jump bigger (4' to 4'6"). We've been on that program for close to 6 years now and she is showing no signs of slowing down. She's fit as a fiddle going on 14yo. As a quick side note, the majority of our work is focused on dressage and getting her to use her parts as efficiently as possible, and the jumping is almost always an extension of the lessons we're working on on the flat. But the bottom line is that she needs both the "practice" with her body AND the conditioning aspect of regular jumping.

My OTTB, on the other hand, is a horse who was born fit (hmmm....sound much like a TB?). He gets ridden once a day and jumped 1-4 times a week. He's showing at the 1.40m this year and rarely gets jumped at height. He hadn't ever seen a 1.40m course, in fact, prior to our first show of the year. But it's not an effort for him and he doesn't need that level of conditioning and work to keep him comfortable over the big jumps. So typically his jumping consists of small gymnastics and fences (3'6" and below) incorporated into his flatwork with the main goal being "lessons-in-using-his-body-parts" rather than the conditioning aspect of it.

So all of that to say.....

Jumping doesn't break down horses when it's down carefully focused on strengthening the horse's way of going. Pounding a horse over jumps is a whole other story. My general rule of thumb is that if you're working on the horse jumps at or below 3'6" aren't going to do much harm even when done regularly (NOT jumped 100 times each session). If you're working on the rider I think it's generally more stress on the horse since the horse is left compensating for less than ideal rides much of the time (or some of the time?). But all of this is in an ideal world where you have a horse with good conformation for his job and you're jumping in good footing, etc. Obviously if that's not the case then even adding the little additional stress of jumping little fences can be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

redears
Jun. 23, 2010, 03:19 AM
It depends! (great answer, huh?)

Right now I've gone back to basics, so I am only jumping 2' right now, mostly 18" (yeah, I'm a dork, but I never had jumping lessons when I learned to jump and my trainer is taking me back to square one). The fences are low and I'll do once or twice a week with my mare, I do use a pole or two often, we still need a pole for flying lead changes and I like to throw a set of two or three in there for trotting too, it's also good practice for my eye. I've only "jumped" (my 18"-2' jumps) twice since last fall, my jumps were at my sister's house over the winter and when I finally got them to my barn the rain came, and came, and came some more, our indoor is too small to really jump in.

My gelding is different, he only take smaybe 5-6 jumps and quit and go back to flat work. For him, a horse who likes to be behind the leg, getting 5-6 solid jumps where he is in front of the leg and moving up to the jump, is better than doing once a week and jumping for a half hour or what have you. My trainer is working with him O/F right now, I only rode him last week for the first time in months (he has a leasor).

I also jump almost all oxers, my trainer believes they teach the horse to jump better than verticals, even our cross rails are usually oxers or bounces.

Gryhrs
Jun. 23, 2010, 06:30 AM
Once a week...at most twice a week. Fences from 2 - 3.3 ft. We are competing at training level and my TB feels adequately fit with this schedule (we flat other days.) The dilemma that I face is I need way more practice than my horse does. I think practicing at low heights is super but then I get a bit bugged eyed when the fences get biggish and I start riding backwards. So my quandary is how do I get the miles I need without stressing my poor horse? I don't exactly have a string to ride.

Kcisawesome
Jun. 23, 2010, 06:59 AM
My mare is on a pretty strict rotation:
Day 1: Light walking hack or day off
Day 2: Light flat ride in morning, 30-60mins walking hills in evening
Day 3: jump school (could be grids, could be courses, could be 1 2ft jump, whatever we need)
Day 4: Light flat ride in morning, 30-60mins walking hills in evening
Day 5: Trot/gallop sets.
Day 6: Light walking hack or day off


This is for Prelim, and for the month or so before a show. Any other time, replace the gallop and jump schools with faltwork or trail riding..with occasional jump schools.

The height varies. I don't jump just to jump. My horse knows to jump, and she dang good at it too. Like, a couple weeks ago we did grids, with the jumps ridiculously high by the end (4'6" maybe), encouraging her to pop her back. Yesterday the jumps never got over 3ft, but in a really tight swedish-oxer-bounces excercise. It was forcing her to jump a lot tighter and land with more power and bounce.

But that is my prelim mare, for greener or lower-height horses, I just keep the rule; Don't jump two days in a row. This is just a basic muscle-building rule.

mayfieldk
Jun. 23, 2010, 07:35 AM
I don't jump for show, but do like to incorporate it into my training sessions for fitness reasons. What I am curious about is the horses jumping high, or the horses jumping high and over a long period of time (like a x-country course).

I used to run track in high school/college, and ran the 400m (1/4 a mile.). Then they had me run the 400 hurdles, which is the same run but around ten or twelve--don't remember!--hurdles thrown in. (Running the 400 is hell, and running the 400 hurdles is like hell with a heater installed!) You have to run at high speed, AND jump efficiently. Most of it is me running, just like the person said most of a stadium jumping course is flat work. But the jumps KILLED me. I more often then not would knock one or two down; not a fault, but it hurts! Our coaches didn't care much about the event, so when practicing we practiced our form over the hurdles, and at a lower height. I had very good times and have been very fast and competitive all my life--but the jumps slaughtered me. They made it so much harder. The muscles I used to run were NOT the muscles I used to jump.

It feels like only jumping low is fine for green horses, and horses not asked to jump very high. But when the speed and height increase, how does flat work mimic the use of a horse jumping a four or five foot jump? Can you get away with schooling only once a week?

Just very curious, as I have run and jumped myself! ;)

retreadeventer
Jun. 23, 2010, 07:38 AM
I hate the phrase "a horse only has so many jumps in them."

Well DUH! (not directed to any of the above posters, just at the comment in general).

You also "only have so many heart beats in you," but that number can be adjusted up or down based on fitness and conditioning just like the number of jumps in a horse. .....

I heart this.

The rider needs to jump more than the horse needs to most of the time. So, tough, I ride for fun, so my horses need to jump for me. I take care of them so they stay sound for the work.

A horse that must jump 3'-7" in competition needs to school over good sized fences. Remember the EFFORT in deep footing, or a skinny where ground will be torn up, may be actually higher. They need to jump the height and width to stretch and use muscles. You can't jump 2' all the time and expect the horse to be fit enough and have enough muscle to gallop down to a 3'7 - 5' wide table. That's how horses get injured -- not fit enough. I have found this with my own horse, as I have a small ring and often footing is too hard where I live. I have to ship out to jump in lessons for the "big" horse.

I jump when footing is good, basically. About once a week per horse.

Flatwork - what you want to do is keep moving the horse upward (think first to third level) for the dressage, a lot of extending/collecting gaits, using the tummy muscles - transitions, working on the uphill balance -- collected canters, lateral work, achieving throughness. A never ending quest....

EiRide
Jun. 23, 2010, 08:12 AM
So my quandary is how do I get the miles I need without stressing my poor horse? I don't exactly have a string to ride.

Any good lesson barns with real quality in the schooling string? I had a great time doing hunter/jumper lessons for a couple years while I was in school and my working horse was not cut out for much jumping much. And when I moved to my current area, I had babies and oldsters so I took lessons at an eventing barn with a good schooling string. It's always a Good Thing to ride a number of different horses XC and stadium!

Catalina
Jun. 23, 2010, 09:38 AM
For both of my guys: 2-3 times a months in lessons (usually around 3'- 3'3") and 1-2 a month at shows. The rest of the time is flat work and occassional trail rides.

Bobthehorse
Jun. 23, 2010, 09:40 AM
but seriously, schooling 3 times a week isn't going to hurt your horse.

I just think saying only jump once a week is being way too conservative.

Well, different strokes. I guess these opinions come from who teaches you, and I was taught conservatively. And when people like Bruce Davidson think 1-2 times a week is at the top end of your number of jumps, I feel better about my program. People with experience have seen it break down horses.

yellowbritches
Jun. 23, 2010, 02:38 PM
I think this really, really depends on the horse and rider.

I don't necessarily jump Vernon every week, and now that I'm not freaking out about being at prelim, we don't jump too many big fences when we do jump, nor that many fences. He's a good jumper and there really isn't much we need to work on. Just keep my eye in and occasionally do some angle to angles or turny type questions (none of which is ever set very big).

I jump the BN/N pony I am riding once, sometimes twice a week, but not over anything big. He jumps the same (and does the same silly stuff) whether they are 2' or 3'. So, I'll just bop him around and work on "please take one more step" over whatever is in his range of fences. He may have a REAL school every couple of weeks.

If I have a green bean, they might pop over itty bitty things, just a few, several times a week. But nothing big at all and not very many. Just enough to keep them learning about their job.

A BN/N kid or ammy may need an extra jump school or two a week if they are really struggling with a problem (finding the right rhythm, jumping ahead, steering, etc). But, again, they usually don't jump HUGE fences, so it doesn't take too much out of the horse.

Ecks Marx The Spot
Jun. 25, 2010, 10:09 AM
I was jumping 1 time a week in my lesson. I wasn't progressing very far very fast. I was still having lots of issues with my position and getting the horse to be balanced. I was nervous about increases in height and different jumps.

So now I jump 2-3 times a week. One time at height (max height 2'6") and 1-2 times at about 18"-2 ft and cross rails. I spent all last week trotting thru gymnastics every day which were just cross rails.

I imagine once I am competent I can go back to my weekly lesson and one day of jumping low fences on my own if I need to work on anything.

katie+tru
Jun. 25, 2010, 11:33 AM
The mare I'm currently riding and showing is my trainer's and is also being shown by 2 other girls. Another girl also comes to ride her at home. So that's 4 people that ride her atleast once, if not twice a week each. So she get's jumped maybe 3 times a week, but not too heavily. We're very sympathetic with her, especially in the heat. But boy she loves it! She'd jump 3'6 every day if we let her. But right now we're sticking around BN and N height. She gets a couple days off after shows and often has days where we just do flat work.

snoopy
Jun. 25, 2010, 12:17 PM
For the green beans I would have a dedicated one day per week jump school...but I do like to see the youngsters pop over something here and there especially on hacks which is an every day occurance. So I would say they would at least get "up in the air" 3 or 4 times a week. This could mean just one fence on a hack.

The more established horses could do some small grid work but I do like to see them jump a few fairly big fences during that time as well.

bornfreenowexpensive
Jun. 25, 2010, 01:05 PM
Depends on the horse and time of the year.

Green beans (as in just learning how to jump)...they will jump fewer jumps (less than 10 jumps) in a school but jump more often (as often as every other day...this is often in their first few months of jumping).

Honestly....my horses haven't ever jumped really little fences for long or at all. They usually start out jumping 2'3-2'9. They might stay at that height for a while...then fences will start creeping up to 3'-3'3".

I have one getting ready for Prelim...he steps over 3'6" -3'9". We are jumping 3'3" about once or twice a week with starting to jump height before a competition as he is still gree at that level.....but it isn't an effort at that height. Another horse just going training is also jumping 1-2 times a week at 3'-3'3". So he is jumping his competition height but it isn't really any effort for him either. 3'-3'3" tends to be a good schooling height but it really depends on what you are trying to teach them.

There will be weeks we do not jump at all....and weeks where we may jump 3 times. At a certain time of the year, I will do more gymnastic grids...other times of the year I might do more course work.

What I try VERY hard to do is the limit jumping on poor footing.

KristieBee
Jun. 25, 2010, 01:16 PM
I hate the phrase "a horse only has so many jumps in them."

Well DUH! (not directed to any of the above posters, just at the comment in general).

You also "only have so many heart beats in you," but that number can be adjusted up or down based on fitness and conditioning just like the number of jumps in a horse.

To answer it more directly, IME the amount of jumping needed by an individual horse totally depends on the horse. I have two horses that I show in the 1.30m and 1.40m jumpers. My mare is a tough horse to condition and keep fit, partly because I'm jumping her above her comfort zone (we mostly do the 1.30m/4'3" with occasional forrays into 4'6"). During the show season I jump her every single day. She's on an extremely strict conditioning program that includes 2-a-day-rides and, of course, lots of jumping. Without it she loses condition quickly and struggles at the shows over the course of 5 days of jumping.

Her schedule is that 8 out of 10 days we jump "small" (3' to 4'), 2 of the 10 days we jump bigger (4' to 4'6"). We've been on that program for close to 6 years now and she is showing no signs of slowing down. She's fit as a fiddle going on 14yo. As a quick side note, the majority of our work is focused on dressage and getting her to use her parts as efficiently as possible, and the jumping is almost always an extension of the lessons we're working on on the flat. But the bottom line is that she needs both the "practice" with her body AND the conditioning aspect of regular jumping.

My OTTB, on the other hand, is a horse who was born fit (hmmm....sound much like a TB?). He gets ridden once a day and jumped 1-4 times a week. He's showing at the 1.40m this year and rarely gets jumped at height. He hadn't ever seen a 1.40m course, in fact, prior to our first show of the year. But it's not an effort for him and he doesn't need that level of conditioning and work to keep him comfortable over the big jumps. So typically his jumping consists of small gymnastics and fences (3'6" and below) incorporated into his flatwork with the main goal being "lessons-in-using-his-body-parts" rather than the conditioning aspect of it.

So all of that to say.....

Jumping doesn't break down horses when it's down carefully focused on strengthening the horse's way of going. Pounding a horse over jumps is a whole other story. My general rule of thumb is that if you're working on the horse jumps at or below 3'6" aren't going to do much harm even when done regularly (NOT jumped 100 times each session). If you're working on the rider I think it's generally more stress on the horse since the horse is left compensating for less than ideal rides much of the time (or some of the time?). But all of this is in an ideal world where you have a horse with good conformation for his job and you're jumping in good footing, etc. Obviously if that's not the case then even adding the little additional stress of jumping little fences can be the straw that breaks the camel's back.


a few questions:
how old are your horses?
do they require maintenance for soundness?
how long have you had them in this program?

Thames Pirate
Jun. 28, 2010, 04:51 PM
While I do believe that a horse only has so many jumps in him, I also know that I am not a pro, nor is my horse going to be an UL horse. I bought her to LEARN, and I can't do that without actually practicing. I generally don't jump more than twice a week, but I jump based on MY needs (as long as the horse isn't compromised). Often we'll do most of the work lower, but I'll usually jump at least one or two fences 3'3" or more just for my brain, which has some issues. I also know that I'm certainly not going to break my horse doing this, and I am less likely to have a problem if I actually practice what I need to. We have confidence issues (well, me), and schooling endless 2'6" exercises is great, but it doesn't help the PROBLEM, which is fences over 3' or so. I am a decent technician, my flatwork between fences and to fences is fairly solid, and I do continue to work with poles, grids, etc. to continue and to improve our basics, but what good is a bending exercise when my problem is that I get bug eyed as the fences get bigger? I jump "up" (I realize 3'3"-3'6" isn't "up" for many people, but it is for me) most of the time.

On one horse I used to ride I would hop over something--usually an X or a small log, often as the last thing we did, and never over 2'6"--every ride for two months. It isn't something I'd do for every horse, but for this one it really helped his brain. He grew out of that, though.

jenm
Jun. 28, 2010, 06:30 PM
Green beans (as in just learning how to jump)...they will jump fewer jumps (less than 10 jumps) in a school but jump more often (as often as every other day...this is often in their first few months of jumping).


I had an interesting conversation about this with Brian Sabo on Saturday after I had a lesson with him. I asked him how often I should be jumping my greenbean, and he said that they discovered an interesting learning curve with their horses who were learning the ropes of jumping. In his program, they jump the horses 3 days in a row, and then do a lot of flat work in between. He said that system seemed to help the horses learn quicker than if they were jumping 3x a week say, Mon, Weds, Fri. For some reason, the horses retained more if the jumping days were successive rather than spread out.

I'm starting my 3 day row experiment and am interested to see how it works for my girl. :)

bornfreenowexpensive
Jun. 28, 2010, 07:12 PM
I had an interesting conversation about this with Brian Sabo on Saturday after I had a lesson with him. I asked him how often I should be jumping my greenbean, and he said that they discovered an interesting learning curve with their horses who were learning the ropes of jumping. In his program, they jump the horses 3 days in a row, and then do a lot of flat work in between. He said that system seemed to help the horses learn quicker than if they were jumping 3x a week say, Mon, Weds, Fri. For some reason, the horses retained more if the jumping days were successive rather than spread out.

I'm starting my 3 day row experiment and am interested to see how it works for my girl. :)


I've done that too sometimes....depends on the horse. I've also done two days of jumping two days hacking/flat work..repeat.

Some horses need more grid work than others...others need more low key single fences mixed in with flat work...some need to go out and get forward over little logs outside. Really depends on the personality of the individual horse...but I do typically find that green beans need to jump more times a week then a more established horse.

Coeur*de*Cheval
Jun. 30, 2010, 02:31 PM
I jump my training horse a minimum of twice a week. He had a bad stopping problem and we have found that he is best when he is consistently jumped. However, I don't jump him for hours-MAYBE half a hour on a long day.