View Full Version : Do you ever......Jump BIG fences?

Jan. 8, 2011, 12:19 PM
So as I am staring out at the falling snow on my day off I started wondering back to the old days..

In the winter months we used to have competitions at school called "Chase me Charlie's"

Essentially we'd be up in the indoor and go through a 2-3 fence grid with the last oxer being raised higher and higher. And the last pair standing won.

Now... this was back a ways in time and way before insurance policies at barns became so pricey and outrageous.

But I was wondering... do people push their limits, in fun competition here and there? And I wondered because I know that the knowledge of having jumped and lived through a 4'+ oxer propelled my competition confidence come spring. Let's face it... I can do math....I can read that the max height for advanced is 3'11" for solid and 4'6" for brush. And knowing that I'd cleared an "advanced" height fence made training not look quite as scary.

Also these jumping competitions made any clinics with Bruce D much easier as he too likes to hike the grids up to serious sizes...even with the novice groups.

So lets hear it.... what do you all do now a days?


Jan. 8, 2011, 12:40 PM
They've done this at my barn a couple of times after a clinic or little barn 2-phase. Only they call it "knock-down-and-out". I think I'd be too chicken to try it, but some of the kids like to participate.

Jan. 8, 2011, 12:55 PM
I've jumped 4' fences from time to time . . . but nothing with an Advanced level spread to it! :eek: THAT is the part that makes the upper levels permanently unattainable for me. :)

These days I'd probably not do any homegrown Puissance classes, but I would be game to jump Very Big Stuff in a clinic under the right circumstances. Meaning, on someone else's BIG jumper! ;) Bonnie's got four feet in her but no higher. Keebler could do more but he's so little that I wouldn't be able to see the other side! :D

Jan. 8, 2011, 01:12 PM
I did in a clinic quite a few years ago, on my wonderful mare, neither of us had ever done 4'. It felt like flying and I have never forgotten it!

Jan. 8, 2011, 01:38 PM
I'm pretty sure I was dropped on my head as a child (or thrown into walls by too many ponies), because I like to push my limits on my own. I like to test myself and my pony and really put us up to a challenge. I like to practice sizable fences, difficult turns, and challenging spreads at home in our normal schooling. I obviously don't do this ALL the time and I don't like to jump my horse into the ground, but I do like a regular challenge. Lately we've been working on greater width of jumps--so only jumping ~3'3"-3'6", but increasing the width of the spread.

When I go to shows, the jumps and courses are pretty boring after the crazy stuff I think up at home! :lol:

I used to do the puissances at pony camp as a kid/preteen. My 13.2hh pony regularly won them at around 4'3". It was awesome!

Jan. 8, 2011, 01:47 PM
As kids we used to dare each other to jump stuff, especially bareback. The highest I've ever jumped was on my last horse, and that was bareback. About 3'9". We were just playing around and setting up stuff. We put a stick to it later and eeekkkk!!!!! Gave me some confidence though! My mare now is a green bean, and needs some confidence from time to time, so I haven't gone crazy with her yet. Although she LOVES banks and stuff like that so we've schooled them well above our level. Those are new to me too so that's given me new confidence. I thrive on peer pressure for that kind of stuff, and unfortunately some of my riding buddies are tame and I'm always the one daring them. :)

Jan. 8, 2011, 01:55 PM
I wish I had more confidence in my grid building, because I'd love to try this, lol. Plus I'm the only person at my barn that jumps, so it wouldn't be as much fun :(

Jan. 8, 2011, 01:57 PM
Em, back in my youth, before you were even born, I did the jumpers. I used to ride with some of the big mucky mucks on occasion...thinking back, I wasn't frightened then but if I had to do it now, I'd probably have a stroke. Anyhow, we did those grids on a regular basis. Pole, bounce to X, bounce to X, bounce to vertical, 1 stride to oxer. That oxer grew and grew. As I came around to come through again, the enormously exciting sound of clinking and clunking jump cups signaled that things were getting more and more intense. The highest I ever went was 5'5". Holy smokes, that was the most fun and exciting thing. That's when my little horse was dubbed The Kangaroo. 15.2 TB/SB/QH. ALL that horse wanted to do was JUMP.

We also did jumper type courses holding eggs in our hands-each time around the course clean, you got another egg to carry. I did it once with 4 in one hand, 3 in the other before they all smeared all over me. Courses with no stirrups literally WOULD kill me now. Courses with ten dollar bills under the thighs. Also jumping with eggs in spoons. All these 'games' taught us good position, concentration skills and gave us guts. Generally fences were set at about 3'6".

Now that my "youngster" has finished growing I'd like to do some of the same with him. I'm guessing 4' will be my ultimate maximum max, should I live so long! ;)

Jan. 8, 2011, 02:27 PM
I don't even think I could carry 3 or 4 eggs in one hand across my kitchen!

Jan. 8, 2011, 02:58 PM
We do this. And all manner of insanity in the winter months.

We jump huge grids with no reins, eggs, no stirrups, blindfolded (seriously), in a relay situation.

Or, we high jump on bad footing.

Let's just say when we finally make it to the cross country course come late Feb, it is the least sketchy thing we have seen in MONTHS. lol.

Jan. 8, 2011, 03:42 PM
I'm such a natural chicken, I looove doing those kinds of gymnastics because before you know it you're jumping way higher than you ever thought you could! And it's true, after doing a 4'3" oxer at the end of a gymnastic (the highest I think I've ever done), even if it's just one fence (that the nature of the gymnastic basically guarantees you can't "miss" to!!), it makes 3'3"-3'6" fences seem a lot more doable.

I once also jumped the 4'6" split rail fence line at home, just to prove to myself I could do it. My horse was so shocked he didn't even have time to think about how stupid I was being and just went for it, bless his heart :lol: After that (airy, no groundline, uphill and leaning a little bit back at you), NOTHING on cross country seemed scary!!

Wee Dee Trrr
Jan. 8, 2011, 04:13 PM
We used to do "Chase me Charlies". I ended up at 4'2" on a backyard (awesome) arab pony mare. I was up against another backyard (equally awesome) grade pony gelding. :D I was probably 13 then.

I also used to event a VERY scopey, careful TB mare. I did a Pony Club show jump rally at 4'3". Three rounds at that height, two rails total. She was a super cool mare. :cool: I was probably 15 years old then.

NOW! Novice sized fences make me a bit wide eyed on my current green bean.... and he's very straightforward over fences.
(For the record, I'm only 24)

Beam Me Up
Jan. 8, 2011, 04:27 PM
I have, I guess, depending on what you consider big, but not as part of a regular training program. I've shown a couple of horses in the Level 5s, which did make the training/prelim they saw at events seem easier.

I also jumped ~5' a few times as a kid to see if various horses could do it, and jumped one of my current ones 5'3 when a jumper trainer was trying him and wanted to see how he'd do it.

But I haven't really done it in a productive or training-oriented way as yet. And now I have a couple babies so will have to exercise restraint, but I agree there is nothing like jumping a huge gymnastic.

Jan. 8, 2011, 04:28 PM
Let's just say when we finally make it to the cross country course come late Feb, it is the least sketchy thing we have seen in MONTHS. lol.

LOL! As it should be. The s#!t I used to jump while galloping thru snow drifts makes my heart skip a beat now that I am an old lady and I actually *paid* for my horses. Can't wait to watch my daughter gallop over those same hills bareback in a halter and leadrope

Jan. 8, 2011, 04:47 PM
A couple years ago we had some little gymkahnas at the barn and had a chase me charlie class that finished up around 4'+. My students liked that!

I used to showjump at 4'3" and that particular horse I schooled 5' a few times.... that was pretty neat. My Prelim horses I like to jump around 4' now and again, and jump 4' courses when thinking about moving up. I think my old Prelim horse I jumped through grids finishing up at 4'6". Love grids.


Jan. 8, 2011, 05:03 PM
I used to love jumping gymnastics where the back rail kept going up. It gave you so much confidence. Had fun jumping gymnastics bareback too. Even double bareback.

But how did you hold the eggs? In your hand? On spoons?

Jan. 8, 2011, 05:29 PM
When I was a teen and had no sense of my own mortality, I regularly jumped fences that were 4'+.

When I was in my 20s and started eventing, jumped a lot of big solid fences without giving them too much thought.

Now that I'm 50, I'm a chicken. Yes, I foxhunt but none of the fences are much more than 3'. The problem is they are so darn solid :lol:.

Luckily my current hunt horse has springs on his feet and hates to touch a fence, but when I think about how nervous I get jumping today compared to how oblivious I was before, it's humbling.

Jan. 8, 2011, 06:20 PM
Fun stuff!!! We did the bareback classes too, and I think I went up to 3'9" on my 14.3 pony bareback and won. The problem wasn't the fence so much.. as the giant buck on landing. Hee hee... Witchy little mare, but she could jump.

I also LOVE jumping the grids with the last jump getting bumped higher and higher! The gymnastic just sets them right up for it... and before you know it.. you're flying!!! Best confidence boost :)

We occasionally jump some "big scaries" out XC schooling just to get that forward out of a gallop jump feeling back :) Love it!!!

Jan. 8, 2011, 07:03 PM
I have jumped 2 VBF (very big fences) in my life. Both Prelim. One was on my old schoolmaster. He kindly took me over a HUGE single chevron. I was doing Novice, timidly, at the time. God bless schoolmasters. I landed up on his neck, feet in his flanks, my crotch in front of the pommel. He literally kept lifting his shoulders with each canter stride, holding his line straight as could be, never offering to buck, to literally pitch me back into the saddle. Next time around I stayed where I was supposed to :-)

The other VBF, also a prelim, was on my big mare. We were doing Novice at the time. (Still doing Novice!). I was clinicing with Jimmy Woffard. He pointed to a Prelim coop and said jump it. I said "you are kidding, right?". He said "no". So we jumped it. She sailed right over it as I said OH SHIIIIIII* going over it.

Those are my 2 VBF stories.

Jan. 8, 2011, 07:09 PM
The highest I went in a grid was 4'6" on an awesome jumper at my old H/J barn. We just to have grid weeks and that last oxer would just keep growing and growing . . . We used to do the crazy stuff, too. No reins, no stirrups, close your eyes. Hard to jump ahead like that.

I really want to teach my current mare to not melt down in a gymnastic so we can get back into it. Nothing teaches patience and how to jump big like a grid. The mare has springs, I'd love to see her try!

Jan. 8, 2011, 10:44 PM
In lessons and clinics. Jim Graham used to (and maybe still does) use an exercise where you walk over fences. It was over 4' high before my guy "demanded" trot steps

Jan. 8, 2011, 11:16 PM
my VBF experience was once when i was 12 (i.e. stupid) and my aunt told me i could ride her big trekhener mare. me and two other girls had been playing the "how high can you jump" game in the barn on foot (ours) with broomsticks and haybales and so we tacked up and decided to continue it in the ring. my little paint horse made it to 3'6" before he very clearly told me he was done, and as i spit the gravel dust out of my mouth on the way back to the barn i decided to see what my aunts horse would do and take her up on her offer! we hung a single rail- up and up and up- with no groundline until it was as tall as we were. we measure it later at 5'2".

i have NEVER in my life jumped that high again, and i totally wasnt scared until i got off the horse and saw the jump from the ground.

now things look BIG to me starting at about 3'3"- oh getting old...

the last time i jumped about 3'6" with a huge spread was at a clinic with imtiaz anees on a 15.2 hand quarter horse. i was leasing him at the time and we were comfortable at BN/Nov height but he built this oxer bigger and bigger and wider and wider! it was a gymastic element to the oxer- all coming off a 20m circle. really fun but i did end up flying over his head when he dirty stopped once- strangely enough the rails of the oxer were just wide enough to catch my shoulders and hips and slowly lower me down to the ground as the rails fell- without a scratch or a bruise! i hopped up and put the rails back up as Imti just sort of looked at me funny and said "you are ok?" i said yes and he said "again"- and that was it!

Jan. 9, 2011, 06:44 PM
Ooh, yeah. Now and then I'll put the jumps up big and pop Rue over them. He has tonnes of scope. Think the biggest we've gone is around 4'6/5'. It's fun, and it helps to keep him form tidy. He's a big lad and can get sloppy over lower stuff.

Jan. 9, 2011, 07:05 PM
I jump big fences to boost my confidence. I don't do it all the time. When I go to shows the max height jumps don't look big, especially if they are in a difficult line.

Jan. 9, 2011, 08:44 PM
I teach at a H/J farm. the owner is an ex-eventer (thank goodness) Every year at Xmas there is a 3 bar comp. the hunter kids go first, then the jumpers. This year we had to stop at the top of the standards, even if the last horse could have kept going.

Jan. 9, 2011, 08:50 PM
My trainer has oh... 4 or 5 horses that have cleared 5' in their lives with either her or a student on them. Ocassionally there will be an impromtu puissance popping up in a lesson. Watched two of my fellow students do 4' back in the spring, and one of them school 3'11 yesterday WITHOUT HANDS. lol So yes, we jump big 'round these parts.

Jan. 10, 2011, 02:04 PM
:-) I used to when I was younger. The funniest thing I did was a couple of years ago, I built myself a maxed out 2' 11" picket fence and then was afraid to jump it until my trainer made me.

Equine Studies
Jan. 10, 2011, 02:12 PM
I used to and now I'm scared. But a few years ago I did this (it looks smaller in the pictures I swear-it's the last jump coming home at Canterdown in the Prelim division in Ontario)

Rider view


View from the finish


Another view


Jan. 24, 2011, 12:13 AM
Emily, last time I jumped a VBJ was when I was a teen and you a titch younger at GFS. You remember me trotting Sailor on a 3'6" fence. And I recall I took Zeebee over a 5' fence in a Bruce Davidson clinic. I was used to jumping a foot lower on my Appy so I rode it like a 4' fence and ZeeBee cracked his back so hard that he poped me out of the tack at the apex of the fence. I landed on my feet. I remounted and did it again and stayed in the tack. But that was the last big one I've ever done. Count me in with the other older, bad kneed, gray haired ladies.

I do recall pushing the limits when I was younger and hungrier. But now I've got a daughter, a mortgage to pay for and I swear that the ground really is that much harder now that I am older. I've definately chickened out.

Although let me add that when I was competing a few years ago, I had a Brit trainer who ran me though a gauntlet of grids that made me realize that if I could jump her exercises then the competitions were a cake walk. She really did boost my confidence.

I do recall as a kid asking my horse to jump anything from any distance at any moment. As in keeping them balanced and on their toes. So it wasn't a height question so much as a balance question. Can you jump this from this angle from here? How about here?

Jan. 24, 2011, 02:27 PM
I was so proud of myself for jumping this without peeing my pants :)


I was riding my new lease horse who is super experienced but I had only jumped twice before. We were schooling Training and some Prelim stuff and then my trainer said, go jump that. She had a weird look on her face like she didn't think I'd do it aha. But I galloped on down to it, didn't realize how big it was until a couple strides out, and hopped right over it. When I got back over to my trainer she said she didn't think I'd actually jump it, and definitely not as well as I did, lol!
SO much fun, I can't wait until I'm at that level for real :)

Jan. 24, 2011, 02:31 PM
I'm an AARP aged weenie, but I want to build a Hole In The Wall at home and jump it!