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View Full Version : Horse Nose Dived... Literally. Suggestions to help a horse back off.



OveroHunter
Nov. 21, 2011, 12:44 PM
My horse is starting to anticipate the jumps a little too much. It stems from me being a little out of shape and not holding myself back and also from me getting a little lax with him. You see, he is short strided, so we often have to gallop out to get the striding, but it has gotten to the point where he always wants to "gallop out" instead of waiting for me to tell him to. I have my other gelding in full training with my trainer, so I am working this guy on my own, because he just my "fun" horse. We trail ride, do some showing, things like that. He's a pretty solid 2'6 hunter that I have schooled 3' at home. I have been working out getting my endurance up and working on my core to help myself get back better.

Anyway, Saturday he was doing great. We were trotting back and forth over a maybe 2' vertical. He was listening, relaxing, etc... but then I guess he relaxed too much and literally nose dived over the tiny jump. I went flying infront of him, but luckily he is so sweet and smart and everyone watching said he didn't move a muscle until I was out from in front of him.

Anyway, after that once I check we were both okay and sound, I wanted to jump it one more time so he could have a good experience. It was back where we started... It is like he is now afraid that if he doesn't have enough momentum he will not get over the jump. This jump was tiny and he could jump it from a standstill...

Any suggestions on getting him to back off on the backside of the jump? I hope building his confidence back up won't be too hard :no:

Here's a video of us. This was me holding him back and not letting him gallop out. You can see we get a little tight to the second jump, but lines aren't made for fat 15.2 (on his tippy toes) horses. www.youtube.com/megannigan

JustJump
Nov. 21, 2011, 12:53 PM
When you say he "literally nosedived," what does that mean?

Did he stumble? Forget to put his landing gear down? Dip a toe into the jump and fall as a result?

Adding is always safer and more sensible than leaving out a stride, even more so for horses of limited ability.

Sounds like you have pushed your horse beyond his limits.

findeight
Nov. 21, 2011, 01:00 PM
Ok, I am going to be a little bit tough on you here, don't take it personally...and I am sure alot of others may be working with similar issues.

First off, this one is built downhill. He physically cannot rock back and push off behind like one that is level or uphill. It's hard for him-no amount of relaxation will make that much easier.

He also has a beefy chest and shoulder and deep hip-as he is bred to have. Works to get low in front of a cow or stop a steer. Not so good for folding over a fence-fact those angles don't let him lift his forearm level with the ground so he has to work even harder to get over.

He is lovely and tries like the honest soul he is..but it's a bit square peg, round hole. Especially as the fences get bigger and wider. I fear he is getting discouraged trying to do things he just can't easily do...may actually hurt him a little. This type is pretty stoic about showing you anything. Be careful.

The other thing is you are pumping your body way too much (trying to create a bigger stride and more impulsion then he can give you?), sitting way back at the base, probably not able to follow him over the fence well since he can't come up and round under you.

I'd stay really low and slow and just go for fun with this one.

Normally I give the more flatwork lecture. Not here, he just cannot use his body that way. But he is a nice type and has a heart of gold-just not a Jumper. And that's fine, lots to love about him doing something else.

OveroHunter
Nov. 21, 2011, 01:01 PM
When you say he "literally nosedived," what does that mean?

Did he stumble? Forget to put his landing gear down? Dip a toe into the jump and fall as a result?

Adding is always safer and more sensible than leaving out a stride, even more so for horses of limited ability.

Sounds like you have pushed your horse beyond his limits.

We were trotting a tiny jump when he tripped and the front of his face literally hit the dirt. I am not sure if we are on the same page though, because the issue is not leaving out strides. It is just him getting a little strong on the backside because he is used to needing a bigger canter to get down the line. Nothing dangerous or past his ability. I just want him to listen to me instead of anticipating. He gets down the lines at shows just fine and is pretty successful at local GHJA shows, but again, I am just fine tuning here. The trip was a freak thing, but I am afraid it is going to hurt his confidence.

OveroHunter
Nov. 21, 2011, 01:10 PM
Ok, I am going to be a little bit tough on you here, don't take it personally...and I am sure alot of others may be working with similar issues.

First off, this one is built downhill. He physically cannot rock back and push off behind like one that is level or uphill. It's hard for him-no amount of relaxation will make that much easier.

He also has a beefy chest and shoulder and deep hip-as he is bred to have. Works to get low in front of a cow or stop a steer. Not so good for folding over a fence-fact those angles don't let him lift his forearm level with the ground so he has to work even harder to get over.

He is lovely and tries like the honest soul he is..but it's a bit square peg, round hole. Especially as the fences get bigger and wider. I fear he is getting discouraged trying to do things he just can't easily do...may actually hurt him a little. This type is pretty stoic about showing you anything. Be careful.

The other thing is you are pumping your body way too much (trying to create a bigger stride and more impulsion then he can give you?), sitting way back at the base, probably not able to follow him over the fence well since he can't come up and round under you.

I'd stay really low and slow and just go for fun with this one.

Normally I give the more flatwork lecture. Not here, he just cannot use his body that way. But he is a nice type and has a heart of gold-just not a Jumper. And that's fine, lots to love about him doing something else.

I completely agree - there is definitely a reason why halter bred APHA horses are not big on the H/J circuit! Like you mentioned, he has a heart of gold and is my "heart" horse. I always told myself that a 5'8 girl with A/O aspirations does not need a short, fat paint horse... but he weasled his way in. He has many other qualitites that make up for his short comings :) My goals for him are just to get him listening better and performing to the best of his abilities. Your input is always appreciated F8 :)

Regarding the video - It is 3 years old and I like to think my riding is better since I have been riding with a trainer regularly since then on my WB. I rode and showed in the 3' Childrens Hunter and Green Working Hunter regularly before college. Then during my first week of my first year of college, I mangled my shoulder riding (go figure right) and was laid up for awhile. During college I couldn't afford lessons, so I just leased and started working at the ranch. 4 years of no lessons will let you pick up some bad habits! Luckily I have a great trainer now so many of those bad habits are getting worked out.

PonyLady29
Nov. 21, 2011, 01:23 PM
my suggestions are not to try to do the numbers do the add it is safer and will make him happier. Also try a 9' rail on the landing side to back him off a bit. or land and halt in a line or after a jump that he runs away from. If this is a horse you just enjoy don't stress him to do things he can't there is no reason for him to run and do the numbers. A good judge at the 2'6'' will judge you accordingly he would rather see a short strided horse canter around at a nice even pace with the adds rather then run top speed just to do the numbers. HE is so sweet and very cute just will never be that A circuit hunter so why make him try to be? Just enjoy the sweet horse you have got and let him do whats comfortable.

findeight
Nov. 21, 2011, 02:21 PM
Good suggestion, work to be perfect doing the adds. Adds are your friend and he is going to go alot better and stay quieter on the landing side.

I would not put a landing pole 9' out. For one thing, that is where it goes for an average H/J, which would be a horse with a foot more step and 6" more height. That'll put in one and a half strides out for this one. He'll step right on it or get hurt trying not to.

I think just doing the adds is going to solve your problem...the landing pole is for those that want to run off or take charge landing, this guy is just ...challenged. He is not trying to be bad or getting "attitudenal" on you.

And be aware the hocks on this type take a beating. I'd be looking at them regardless of age. Maybe a joint health supplement is in order...maybe even an evaluation and injections. He is acting like the hocks might be bothering him. None of them limp if they both are sore, they just avoid weighting their back end-and like I said, this type horse is tough and won't show you anything like some overly sensitive dainty thing would.

Linny
Nov. 21, 2011, 03:15 PM
If he's getting to anticpate being pushed along a line, try a gentle roll back turn out of the lines now and again. I used to ride a little porker that loved to jump and once he was in a line he was CERTAIN that he knew what he was supposed to do, get locked and loaded on the out!:D
Trainer started us doing gentle rollbacks out of lines, which did disturb him a bit, until he figured out that there would be another jump at the end of the 1/2 turn. (The 1st time I pulled him out of a line he almost bucked me off!) We started by doing the "in" at a bit of an angle so he wasn't staring straight down the line and it got him relying on the rider to tell him what to do.
More recently my lease horse (who had way too much stride) had the same problem, but when we mixed up the courses with broken lines and rollbacks and the lines so he never knew where he was going, it got him more attentive. The rollbacks don't have to be tight or stressful and shouldn't be ridden rough. Just enough to get him saying "what next Mom?" on landing.

BTW, your horse is adorable. I agree with F8 that he's not being disagreeable but trying to please while fighting mother nature.

Big_Tag
Nov. 21, 2011, 08:37 PM
I agree with everyone's assessment, but also wanted to add: I can't recall any horse I've ridden nor seen ridden on a regular basis who's had an isolated mishap (in which s/he wasn't legitimately injured of course) who "lost confidence" after just one event. Particularly one who seems like an honest, hard-trying, sensible type, I would think he'll bounce back fine, so I wouldn't worry too much about that. If he was repeatedly falling on his face that'd be another story, maybe... ;)

BLBGP
Nov. 22, 2011, 09:39 AM
Tripping at the trot seems like a different issue than rushing, although both could be tied to lack of balance. Dies he trip a lot in general?

OveroHunter
Nov. 22, 2011, 10:03 AM
Tripping at the trot seems like a different issue than rushing, although both could be tied to lack of balance. Dies he trip a lot in general?

Not at all... It was so weird. You guys have me thinking that it is probably a hind end strengthness issue. I'll probably have a vet do a wellness check on him at some point in the near future to make sure his hocks are okay. Like F8 said, he has a massive front end (http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/photo/2315209310043029495UvcaYi), so my guess was it was a coordination issue between his front and back end.

Any recommendations for building a hind end other than the typical hill work? I love fun ring exercises that change things up!

Thanks everyone for the nice comments on my boy! It's funny where you end up and what animals are with you. Had you asked me 10 years ago where I would be today, I definitely would not have imagined myself on a dude ranch with a little paint horse... but I wouldn't trade him for anything :D