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HARROLDhasmyheart
Jun. 6, 2011, 11:48 PM
Hello all! I posted a week or so ago about (show legal) supplements to calm a nervous horse, and have since started using Perfect Prep. I'm hoping that the results will continue to improve! But in the mean time, another question for everyone...

How do YOU calm/reassure a nervous horse while jumping? I have of course asked my trainer this and it is something that we work on daily, but I thought I'd throw it out there to COTH and hopefully benefit from everyone's wealth of experiences. Part of the problem is that I get nervous when my horse gets nervous-I'm sure you all know the vicious cycle that comes after. HOWEVER, I think the main problem is I'm not exactly sure how to communicate to my wonderful guy that it is okay and there are no monsters that are going to eat him!

It kind of feels like he's being great but is a coiled spring that is wound really tight, if that makes any sense. I know that he won't take off, stop, or do anything that could really be considered naughty; however, I'd like to figure out how to use my aids to help calm and focus him. We are fine to the fences when we first start jumping-I'm noticing most of the nervousness between fences and as we get further and further into our lesson.

To make a long story short, how can I work with what I have and make it better? What has worked for you all? Tips/suggestions? Thank you!! :)

mortebella
Jun. 7, 2011, 08:01 AM
Is your goal in the lesson to get all the way through a course (aka show prep) or are you focusing fence at a time, and it's still building up by the end of the lesson?

hntrjmprpro45
Jun. 7, 2011, 08:51 AM
Hello all! I posted a week or so ago about (show legal) supplements to calm a nervous horse, and have since started using Perfect Prep. I'm hoping that the results will continue to improve! But in the mean time, another question for everyone...

How do YOU calm/reassure a nervous horse while jumping? I have of course asked my trainer this and it is something that we work on daily, but I thought I'd throw it out there to COTH and hopefully benefit from everyone's wealth of experiences. Part of the problem is that I get nervous when my horse gets nervous-I'm sure you all know the vicious cycle that comes after. HOWEVER, I think the main problem is I'm not exactly sure how to communicate to my wonderful guy that it is okay and there are no monsters that are going to eat him!

It kind of feels like he's being great but is a coiled spring that is wound really tight, if that makes any sense. I know that he won't take off, stop, or do anything that could really be considered naughty; however, I'd like to figure out how to use my aids to help calm and focus him. We are fine to the fences when we first start jumping-I'm noticing most of the nervousness between fences and as we get further and further into our lesson.

To make a long story short, how can I work with what I have and make it better? What has worked for you all? Tips/suggestions? Thank you!! :)

The horse gets more nervous/anxious the longer you jump? That sounds like the anxiety may be from a whole in either the horse's training or yourself- either a lack of balance or atrength. Generally, horses with anxious/worrying personalities will relax more and more as they are jumped/warmed up.

Personally I would suggest mixing in more demanding flatwork in between your jumping courses- especially as your horse gets anxious. Circles, transitions, lateral work, etc. Generally a busy mind is a quiet one plus the added flatwork should help with balance and strength issues.

naturalequus
Jun. 7, 2011, 09:48 AM
Calm assertive leadership - sounds simple and it really is. The best you can do to 'reassure' him is to just guide him appropriately and matter-of-factly, as he needs... I second also including demanding flatwork between courses! Circular patterns and lateral exercises that encourage relaxation.

I'm one too who gets nervous and my high-energy-already-prone-to-anxiety TB will feed off that. You just really really have to force yourself to relax (which is of course easier said than done!).

Lastly, make sure the anxiety in your horse is not due to a hole in his training - your job as a rider is to develop him to be more relaxed, less reactive, and more confident. Develop him into a fast horse on course, but not a quick one, not one who is rushing fences. This means lots and lots and lots of flatwork (albeit my aforementioned guy was an extreme case, we've done 2 1/2 years of flatwork before even touching a jump and are that much more better for it! - he has no problem with jumps now and really loves it, when I'm not nervous, haha), preferably dressage, then setting him up right over courses (ie, introducing them in slow progressive steps, etc).

barka.lounger
Jun. 7, 2011, 01:50 PM
bar.ka here

no amo.unt of reassurance fix chicken horse not cut out for job. u come to BraveHorsesRUs Stables. we find u good sturdy stead steady and sure. we put the fun back in hors.n around. then u be ready for grands prixs by end of season. u come here. u see.

jetsmom
Jun. 7, 2011, 02:39 PM
Teach him a code word/phrase to relax. I use "Therrree yooouu gooo" with Jet.

Start by using the phrase when you are grooming, and get to a scritchy spot he really likes. Use the phrase, whenever you are doing something that he likes/calms him. Use it when you complete a downward transition to a walk, and let him go on a loose rein and pat him. Eventually, you will be able to say it, and he'll automatically relax. You do need to make sure when you say it, you make yoursef relax, and sink your weight down into the saddle, and think something like "Jello...ie Jellllllooooo". While you exhale in a long breath. It'll help immensely.

jenm
Jun. 7, 2011, 04:08 PM
I know all to well how it feels to ride a nervous horse. My mare got started late and lacked confidence and balance. The balance part is coming along nicely with a lot of solid dressage work and the best way I found to help my mare be more confident was to put a more experienced, less anxious rider on her while she is working on her jumping.

Would it help your horse to have your trainer jump him for a while or have you already tried that?

I also have my trainer riding her in shows for now, and her calm demeanor is exactly why my horse needs right now and it's helping her so much!

Beenthere
Jun. 7, 2011, 04:34 PM
I believe Buck Brannaman is doing a clinic in Colorado at Ut Oh Ranch August 19. You should consider going to that clinic on horsemanship. He does an excellent job working with people to help them better understand the inside of the horse. I am sure some may disagree but it has worked for me