View Full Version : Galloping between fences

Jul. 18, 2011, 09:23 PM
Ok, here is my cundundrum. Do I allow my horse to run on his forehand galloping along in a good rhythm between fences then approx. 10 strides or so more or less before the fence give him a cue ie: shouder back, sit in saddle etc. to tell him come back to me and rebalance before the fence, jump the jump and repeat ( so I would leave him alone and not nag him between fences and only give an aid when I meant buisness). Or do as Jimmy Wofford states and teach him to gallop in balance? I have tried to teach him to gallop in balance but I end up nagging him all the time and he starts to ignore me. He is incredably brave to all the jumps (He's an Irish Hunter and he knows he's right all the time) He is a bit strong in the bridle on cross country and does not always listen to the rebalancing aids if I have been giving then while galloping between fences and end up with less then pretty jumps (not dangerous just not up and round over the fences) We are currently going training level (not interested in going higher at this point) but have time faults because we are arguing so much between fences with me trying to keep him balance. What do you do? what do you find helpful for this type of horse?

Jul. 18, 2011, 09:31 PM
Not meaning to be flip, but a one word answer - dressage.
Ahhh but...he's Irish. And he'll hold dressage against you! It's his nature!

You have to be smarter than he is. You need to take the fight away, and use the tricks (i.e., dressage, rebalancing) instead to get your point across.
He probably assumes gallop is his department, and all that other stuff, you can mess with. Gotta get him thinking that gallop is indeed subject to modification, just like walk, trot, and canter. Be firm, without being mean, or mad. Occasionally halt just to show him you CAN.
Get yourself smart about the pulley rein, using your legs, refine your half halt and your other aids. Get a video of your riding and study your equitation. Is your body and legs saying GO while your hands say NO? (If he is Irish, he'll listen to the one he wants to listen to! :) Double check that stuff and make sure you're not causing the fight. I know I am not always sure it isn't me making it worse up there sometimes.
Extending the dressage out to the cross-country -- that's the biggest, toughest, most complicated and difficult thing in the whole sport. But it begins in that little sandbox, I've learned. JMO. :)

Jul. 18, 2011, 09:58 PM
Brave and bold are wonderful attributes in a XC horse, but not listening is a HUGE no-no. You have walked the course, he has not. If he says "eff you" at a simple gallop with no jumps in sight, what else do you expect him to say when he thinks the next jump is a plain, angled ramp but YOU know there's a large drop down to a skinny on the other side? ;)

Yes, you may have to argue. Make sure you win. :)

Jul. 18, 2011, 10:02 PM
I think you need to teach him to gallop in balance.

I've had this "discussion" with my TB out hunting. He sure knows how to gallop and he's an expert at balancing off me and then turbo charging.

I spend a lot of time asking him to adjust within the gait -- surging forward, collecting, etc. out in big fields where I know he'll get rolling. The more I do this, the more subtle I can be.

Jul. 18, 2011, 10:30 PM
So, he gallops along in HIS balance and comes back to you when you ask to balance for the fence? Am I correct in that understanding? If so, I don't really see a problem...or at least not one that needs major schooling. If he gallops along in his balance AND tunes you out in the set up, then, yes, that's a problem.

Every horse has a different comfortable balance for galloping. In the gallop you need to be efficient so as not wear you both out. Spending your time fighting him into a balance he finds unnatural and uncomfortable is both inefficient and tiring (and, as you are finding, time consuming). He isn't listening now in the gallop when you try to change him because, as you said, you are nagging him. If he listens and balances for the set up, then leave him be. If that's not the case, then you need to rearrange his molars a few times.

Jul. 19, 2011, 08:45 AM

No questions asked. Galloping on the forehand is not only bad training ("if she lets me win at the gallop, maybe I can do this at the canter too, and then trotting...") but it can also be dangerous. If that rebalancing zone you're talking about comes up faster than you thought, and your horse wins the rebalancing fight, you're in biiiiiiiiig trouble if you come up to a tight combination, or, really, if you come up to anything... Especially if you have a bold, honest horse. Ask me how I know THAT, lol.

In all honesty, a balanced gallop is one of my biggest pet peeves... I've seen way too many things go wrong without it, and too many people get hurt.

It helps to do LOTS of transitions. Canter (rock him WAY back on his hocks) into a hand gallop, back to canter (again, way back on his hocks), back to hand gallop, so on so on. Once you're comfortable with that and he's listening to you, make those "hand gallops" gallops, at Training speed and Prelim if you want. I used to do this with basically every event horse I sat on, it made a world of difference.

Jul. 19, 2011, 10:14 AM
Thank you all for your input. It it greatly appreciated! Out to work on balanced galloping.

Jul. 19, 2011, 10:35 AM
Alos, make sure you are doing it right.

When attempting to rebalance, I have a tendency to lean back and lift my hands. That doesn't work.

But if I sit tall, push my hips forward, and keep my hands down, it works much better, even though it initially feels as if I have no control atall.