View Full Version : Green Jumper with Green Horse... Advice, please.

Sep. 22, 2010, 12:31 AM
My Arabian mare (12) and I are a fairly successful endurance team and do dressage as cross training. On a whim I set up a small jump (maybe 2") a while ago to see if she'd like it and after a few "huh?" moments she got it and really seemed to enjoy it. And so did I!
I'm thinking of actually taking a real lesson as we certainly both need some instruction but in the meantime I wanted to ask your advice: Once maybe every third jump she'll put her head down upon landing and pull the reins out of my hands (and me forward.) Obviously that's not ideal ;)
Is she still trying to learn to balance us? Am I in her way? I probably need to keep my leg on to keep her moving forward, no?
Should we stop for now and have a professional evaluate?

Sep. 22, 2010, 07:13 AM
Should we stop for now and have a professional evaluate?


In the meantime, if you haven't already, start reading the "how to" resources that are available.

I would suggest, Hunter Seat Equitation, by George Morris.

Go to a library that has Practical Horseman and and read the George Morris column in every issue.

Also, somewhere in their archives is a series aimed at beginners learning to ride.

Sep. 22, 2010, 02:02 PM
Yep, I'd stop and take a few lessons before continuing to jump. A pro will be in a position to evaluate what is going on and give you ideas as to how to improve. It would be hard for anyone here to say why your mare is rooting and pulling the reins out of your hands on landing sometimes without actually seeing it in person as a lot of different things can lead to this result.

Also, I tend to think 2 feet is pretty big for a horse's very first jumping effort. I'd definitely have started with a small cross-rail for the first time...not as imposing and the "x" in the center helps guide the horse to the center of the jump.

Melissa.Van Doren
Sep. 22, 2010, 03:12 PM
Lots of people jump horses over various things of various sizes without instruction. But if you want to do it correctly (without irritating your horse, creating bad habits for yourself or your horse, or risking more injury than is necessary in the endeavor) please do take some lessons before you jump more on your own. While you're waiting, you can start working your way through the flat and ground pole exercises in Linda Allen's excellent "101 Jumping Exercises" (which goes on to cover a lot of great exercises over fences, too, of course). A decent rider with a moderately athletic horse can virtually teach herself by following the steps in this guide. But even a great book can't give you specific hints about your position, pace and approach in real time that are very important to making jumping fun and successful for both you and the horse. :)

MTA: Reasons for "rooting" after the fence include not enough release over the fence, poor saddle fit, sore front feet, etc. A pro can help you get to the bottom of the issue before it becomes an issue (for the smart horse who doesn't like to put up with being hurt, often a stop or run-out in short order).

Sep. 23, 2010, 03:21 PM
I'm afraid you may just have to get used to it. I have a 1/2 Arab/NSH that I have been jumping for a year now and he is very round and does the same thing sometimes. He is very talented and the sky is the limit for his jumping ability according to my lesson teacher but he can be very tricky to stay on. You have to really keep you butt back to the back of the saddle, heals down and a big release. If he goes to slow to a jump he will jump like a cat. He did that to me the other night in the middle of my lesson and I went flying. I ask my teacher if I could have done anything with my position to have saved myself and she said "no that would have been hard for anyone to hold on to". But when he is right he is awesome!!!

Sep. 23, 2010, 03:48 PM
I think you've gotten some good advice and I agree, definitely get a pro to evaluate your position. It sounds like your mare is just getting excited and is having fun, but if you don't correct the problem now it can turn into a much bigger deal that is a lot harder to break. There are things you can do to get her attention immediately after landing and a professional can help her learn those things. I'm sure your dressage background will help you a lot with that.

Glad you had fun - jumping is the best ;)

Sep. 23, 2010, 03:49 PM
hi there :)

yes yes! invest in some lessons :yes: Until you know what is expected from you (2-pt, 3-pt) where your new 'jumping' position is and what your horse is expected to do... you cant fix the 'problem' you encountered going over one jump.

By all means... keep havin fun with the jumping thing! start googling!! lol

but please get some instruction before you start 'teaching' your horse to really jump and to start correcting problems (which, if you have no prior jumping experience may have been caused by something you did thats incorrect without even knowing it - not the end of the world ;) its a learning experience).

so, go slow... lay some poles on the ground and just go! poles on the ground is the easiest way to start jumping for anybody... but before you jump... know what is expected from you as rider.

have fun!

Sep. 23, 2010, 04:40 PM
Thanks so much for your input, everyone. Especially explaining that this actually has a name, "rooting" - okay!
I did make myself sound like much more of a beginner than I really am... I have been riding for years, including some basic jumping lessons with a school horse when I was a teenager.
Now I finally own my own horse and can pursue my passion, endurance. But we continually look for fun things to do other than conditioning on the trail and dressage to keep it fun for my horse and not put on too many miles. So, W/T/C exercises over ground poles are already part of our routine and we have jumped an obstacle here and there on the trail. Climbing up and down mountain trails is also part of the deal so she has a very well developed hind. And believe me, I probably have ridden two-point for many more miles than you can imagine ;)

But with all that said, I'm looking forward to a real lesson soon even though she has not pulled her head down again. Yes, we still do throw a jump in at the end of an arena session even though most of you advised against it :cool: . It's become a bit of a reward for her, she just loves it, and that's why I want to pursue this. But thanks again for all your advice!

Sep. 23, 2010, 04:50 PM
Just like pwrpfflynn, I also have an Arab eventer that really uses his back, head and neck over the jumps, therefore requiring a big release over the jump, or else he will root too. I've heard of the Arab stereotype jumper that hops like a deer, but this is not my horse's case. Even when he was green and jumped small jumps he was still very round. Now that he is more experienced not so much over a smaller jump, but will do it over oxers.

Sep. 23, 2010, 05:00 PM
hi again!

sorry to start so basic lol you never know ;)

... keep jumping, and be sure you are forward (not fast) to the jump AND land forward (not fast) :)

its not jumping if you dont land in canter :yes: so go for it... have fun! i'd suggest asking to do gymnastics in your lessons, best way for you as a rider to really feel what its about AND even more so, gives a green jumping horse a feel for how its supposed to be done :yes:

Sep. 24, 2010, 01:34 PM
In my expericence with my 1/2 Arab the higher the jumps the more he levels out. Tiny cross bars are the worst. Scarey : ) He does best cantering at least a 2 ft verticle. I would put a trot placing pole down before the jump to help with your horse not taking off too soon that might help on the landing and getting a lesson instructor is a great idea too but I don't know if this is something that you will ever completely "Fix" anyway I haven't. My best advice is to shove your heals down and your hands forward for a big release so that way you can be a little more prepared no matter what you get. Gymnastics have helped too.