View Full Version : Can a young horse turn from being the worst jumper to a fairly talented one ?

Mar. 7, 2012, 03:35 PM
I have a horse that I have owned since he was a baby.
He is bred to jump and has a nice build for it. He has been started a couple of months ago under saddle and is doing quite well. I tried to free jump him a couple of month ago and he was very sloppy. We raised to jumps to try to make him use himself and after a few times, je just crashed through the arena to get out.
That should have been my first clue:eek:.

Since then we have played over itty bitty X rails and he is just stepping over.

Today I decided to do a little gymnastic, and he was just crashing into everything. It was like fence bowling ... Strike, strike, strike...

He doesn't stop, he just doesn't care. He will happily plow through and doesn't see the point in actually jumping.

The last time we did the grid, he finally tried a little bit and did a half decent job.

I can feel that He doesn't really want to jump, but he goes, he just doesn't seem to want to do it. And even when everything flies, it doesn't phase him...

Any hopes ?

Mar. 7, 2012, 03:41 PM
Perhaps he just isn't strong enough on the flat yet. We have had several youngsters who initially weren't good but after a LOT of flatwork, became proficient. I like to get them solid on the flat (like 6mo- 1 year of serious work), then start jumping at 2'6"-3' and move up quickly. When the jumps are bigger they will usually take them more seriously and if they have a good background in the flatwork, then bigger jumps should be no problem.

Mar. 7, 2012, 03:48 PM
I would agree with getting him really fit before you worry too much about jumping.

And I guess if you don't feel he's overfaced on the bigger jumps, maybe try something "scarier" to pique his interest?

Mar. 7, 2012, 03:57 PM
Might it be possible to turn him around with enough time and enough Faith and enough dogged perserverance?


Is it worth it to spend all that time and effort on him when in the same time you could train ten others who will trot up the first time, hop over, and canter softly away like they've been doing it all their lives, is the question.

Mar. 7, 2012, 04:02 PM
Well, he is flatwork is actually pretty strong, he is going to a dressage show in 3 weeks. He is very nice, obedient and balanced on the flat ...

Mar. 7, 2012, 04:07 PM
Yes,it does happen.
I have had a few who did,also a few who didn't.
One example.
A 4 and a half year old Argentinus mare. Big and beautiful. Lovely movement. I went to try her under the saddle,and she was a dream to ride. I warmed her up then tried a few fences. She had no idea!
Out of a course of 9 fences,she had 8 down. Her rhythm was good as was her backend,but in front she just left everything hanging and became more and more unhappy.
I did like her though and I actually think that the strain and stress of being broken in,being so big and rangy/scopey,left her alittle confused and sore and just couldn't cope under the saddle. (She jumped amazing in freedom)
Horses,like children and other young pets (;-)) develop at different speeds.
You have to believe in them and go at the tempo that is comfortable for them.
On the other hand,some horses just never get it and are not born to jump. I'm sure they have other qualities....
The mare I talked about? She became a really lovely 1.40 horse with a girl I sold her to. She just needed time.

Mar. 7, 2012, 04:08 PM
I suggest you read Linda Allen's column about jumpers in the US vs Europe in COTH this month. In short, she uses Hickstead as an example of a horse who was horrible as a youngster but given time and fundamental training became a star.

It is too easy to be lazy and say,"Why waste your time when there are 10 others?" You may just be throwing away a diamond.


Mar. 7, 2012, 04:14 PM
Have you free-jumped him? What does he look like on his own?

Also, have you set up anything more substantial than a cross-rail? Some of them just don't see the point in caring about the fence until it has some height to it.

Also, I assume you aren't using PVC poles that he can just kick out of the way with no pain?

Mar. 7, 2012, 04:26 PM
Well, he is flatwork is actually pretty strong, he is going to a dressage show in 3 weeks. He is very nice, obedient and balanced on the flat ...

But you also state in your OP that he has only been a couple months u/s.

I agree with most of the other posters re: flatwork and strength. But yes, it is possible.

My mom had a gorgeous OTTB I considered jumping when she first bought him. Very athletic, talented horse. I sent him over jumps on the ground and u/s with results similar to yours, OP. Poles were heavy wooden - he just did not care and would crash through them with gusto. This gelding was one who would also literally pretend he did not know something then, voila, decide to give it to you. Imo he was a bit slow to mature :winkgrin: Wonderful guy though and my mom was not riding him so we leased him out to two novices. A year later (?), at about 6yrs, he was developing into a REALLY nice little hunter!! With novices! Great form, good scope, careful o/f.

Sure, you can give up on him and quit potentially wasting your time. Might be a mistake, might not be.

Mar. 7, 2012, 04:29 PM
It is too easy to be lazy and say,"Why waste your time when there are 10 others?" You may just be throwing away a diamond.


I don't think it is lazy so much as a cost/benefit analysis.

The horse that takes a year to get itself together at 2'6" costs as much to board as the one that is doing 2'6" courses after a month.

If a customer comes to you with a flip project are you going to spend a year making them a 2'6" horse (IF it ever figures it out), or are you going to tell them, let's cut your losses and blow this one out the door and try again with something else that can be doing the Pre-Greens in 6 months? Sure it might be Snowman but is that long shot really a good way to spend the customer's money?

I guess some trainers figure they will get their training fees either way.

Personally I think the improvement/value increase per board and training $ spent ratio needs to be kept in consideration.
If you're seeing a $20,000 potential sale tag and 12+ months of full training to get there, move on.

Mar. 7, 2012, 04:39 PM
But you also state in your OP that he has only been a couple months u/s.


Being able to carry a rider in a somewhat balanced manner in a basic w/t/c manner is not at all the same as thinking he should be able to figure out how to jump, rider on board or not.

When my guy was a young 4yo, he was big, he was strong, he could carry my 120lb frame w/t/c without falling down. But put him to a cross rail? He'd just plow through it. Not worth his energy and effort.

This was him a year or so later (http://equestriangardener.homestead.com/files/Rio/RioShows/Rio2FeetPicket.jpg), just getting back into the game.

Mar. 7, 2012, 04:46 PM
Has anyone tried schooling such a "sloppy" laid back horse over beginner novice event fences-- enough to be solid and sting his toes without putting anyone in danger? (Plus he might find it more attention getting and interesting to jump ditches and go through waterf? ) Might try asking the eventer folks?

Mar. 7, 2012, 04:48 PM
I thought that my neon green project pony wouldn't be able to jump when she killed the same plank vertical set 12 inches off the ground 6 times in a row. She just kept plowing through it over and over without blinking. She also couldn't figure out 3 trot poles or single crossrails. She's fat, older, hairy, and wasn't terribly forward so I figured she'd make a nice kids rail horse.

Imagine my shock when I took her to her first jumping lesson and she ended up trucking through a SEA of poles over not only her first vertical but her first bounce ever. She sent things flying in the bounce a few times but the sea of poles, the forwardness I was asked to get her into, and the size of the fence helped and something clicked.

Imagine my incredible shock when in her second lesson she jumped through a 4 jump grid ending in two sizeable verticals and circling around to a sizeable single vertical. She hit a fence once. Now she's a jump clearing fiend who has a mean hand gallop I'm having trouble wrestling back into a suitable canter.

After these experiences I have decided that some horses need to have an intense pole filed, larger height fence session or two before they figure it out and you make your decision.

Mar. 7, 2012, 05:14 PM
A few months undersaddle doesn't equal a strong background in flatwork (or at least not in my opinion). How responsive is he to your leg, seat and hands? Can you adjust his stride easily (at all gaits)? How is his lateral work? Can he work in a frame (long and low is fine) and has he achieved sufficient "throughness"? These are all things to consider when assessing your flatwork.

Personally, I don't like trotting in to many jumps with babies. Sure you can trot a couple as a warm up but cantering a jump is a lot more natural and will help with horses that tend to be lazy. I also wouldn't bother with cross rails but would start them over more substantial jumps. Once your horse has gotten the idea of actually picking up his feet, then you could go back to trotting some bigger jumps. Trot jumps can be beneficial for improving form and building strength but they have to understand their job first.

Mar. 7, 2012, 05:26 PM
I have played with a lot of "backyard" level horses, so my experiences should be taken with a grain of salt. I had one horse though - not wonderfully built, not wonderfully athletic - that was fit, sound, and physically capable of jumping; however, he seemed to just NOT. GET. THE. PICTURE. At all. Clunked over everything, usually hard enough that if the heavy wood standards stayed upright, it was a good jump. Took him to a neighbors place where they had logs and beginner novice type cross country fences. Trotted one - I don't think he's ever hit a jump since, in the field or in the ring. We trotted and cantered cross country jumps that first day out in the field, and almost everything since has been in the ring. May work, may not - depends on what's really going on with your horse. With mine, I was pretty sure it was a brain and motivation issue. :)

Mar. 7, 2012, 05:36 PM
I had one who'd plow through anything. Very fit in and in the end learned not to wreck xc jumps unless they were flimsy (!) but poles? Forget it. Did not give a crap. Whacked himself on anything, never blinked an eye.

Now I won't buy a horse unless it's wood-allergic. I like to occasionally get a ribbon for all my hard work and money spent, and a horse who doesn't want to jump clean won't get me very many.

I can't afford to keep buying horses and spending a year or 2 finding out if it will make it.

Mar. 7, 2012, 05:56 PM
You are describing my old horse. I bought him towards the end of high school as a unbroke 3yo. Had him going undersaddle, and started free jumping him. He did the same thing. He just plowed right through everything I pointed him at and rails flew everywhere. I was horrified, as I bought him to be a hunter/jumper. He was like that free jumping for over a month, andalso when I started jumping him over cross rails undersaddle. I thought I had bought the only horse who naturally did not know how to jump. Then one day it just clicked. He suddenly figured it out and he loved jumping more than any horse I have ever known.

He never stopped at a single fence (even with the little girl who bought him from me), it didn't matter what you pointed him at or how big he was going to jump it. This was stupid on my part, but I even entered him in a recognized horse trial at novice level as a 5yo when he had only ever jumped a couple of logs in a field xc wise. He never even hesitated at the event, jumping banks, water, whatever I pointed him at. If you turned him lose in a arena with jumps he would run around on his own accord jumping them all (even if I wasn't in the ring with him). If the jumps where not set up he would jump the wing standards on his own (it was kinda scary to see and I had to run out and stop him). So have hope, and give him some time. He will fugure it out!

Mar. 7, 2012, 06:09 PM
When we started my baby horse over fences she went with the "crashing through the jumps" method of getting from one side of an obsticle to the other. I'm not sure if she didn't get it, or if she didn't care, or if she found spreading lumber everywhere to be fun.

The flat work improved, horse learned how to carry herself, and I definately improved my skills. We focused on flat for a good 6-7 months, adding poles every so often. She also got a ton of pro rides, which helped me out a ton.

Now I have a horse who is safe, careful, and fun to jump. She will never pin in a rated hunter class, but that was never my goal for her. She leaves the rails up, and helps me out a ton, even as we raise the rences 3'+.

If you are patient, and help your horse out by making him fit and strong, you might fix him. You also have to be as accurate as a rider as you can, so your weight doesn't throw him off balance and mess up his effort.

Mar. 7, 2012, 06:24 PM
My own horse was a natural right from the beginning. The first jump she ever went over was a log out on the trail and we were blown away by how awesome she was (and she had only been under saddle for 2 months at this point as a western horse). She has jumped everything like that for the 9 years since then.

I think a lot of it is natural ability and affinity. Some horses are just more careful than others. And I think this is what separates the wheat from the chaff: some horses are embarrassed to ever touch a rail. Some just don't care.

I think a lot of it is how you treat them, though. My mare moved up really quickly and I never wasted time on doing little stuff. Within a month of beginning jumping she was already out competing at 3'0" and within a few more months she was competing 3'6"+ (the mare is 14.1h). I think this might have helped: she never had the opportunity to be lazy. I think if you take forever to move the horse up it's going to get bored and feel under challenged.

I had a coach once who swore by grids. All he'd ever do is grids and they'd be very complicated ones. I tend to agree with him -- I think doing complicated grids 90% of the time you jump will help any horse become more catty and attentive.

Mar. 7, 2012, 07:08 PM
We have one of those at our barn, and he's slowly figuring out where his legs are and how to actually pick them up over a fence. We have another who one day just got with the program and turned into quite a cute little jumper.

One of things that helped was switching from flimsy poles to some solid wood ones. Definitely was an eye-open for a big guy who could crash through PVC like paper.

Mar. 7, 2012, 07:43 PM
Read " The Eighty Dollar Champion".

Mar. 7, 2012, 07:52 PM
I have an ottb that I claimed and even though she was super fit from galloping out on my hills, she just plowed through any jump in the ring, cross rails, verticals, whatever. Her flatwork was decent and she was still close to racing fit, but no longer racing. I just did tons of flat work and had ground poles around the ring, then trail rode her and had her jump logs on the trails. She hit those a couple of times and decided they hurt. I started her in novice jumpers at 2'7 and got her up to the 3' classes before I put her on the back burner to ride client horses. She is now jumping 3'7 - 4'0 with my working student.
There is hope.

Mar. 7, 2012, 08:04 PM
I'm a young horse trainer and schooling FEI dressage . So, I'm pretty sure that his flatwork while it can improve is not really the iusse there. He is soft, in a frame, moves of the legs, leg yields, medium trot, smooths transitions ... As I said the horse will be going to a dressage show in a couple of weeks and should be competitive.

I like the idea of cross country jumps, I have a cross country field so i will try to pop him over some stuff.

He has jumped 2x under saddle, so I didn't want to do more than X Rails. Today, he did walls, brush boxes, gates ... he didn't bat an eye at anything, just didn't try very hard, we ended up with a 2'3 oxer.
I would love to do bigger stuff, but he was so bad over little things that the idea of taking him over bigger is not very appealing at the moment. And I'm the 1st one to usually get my horses up to 3' in a couple of weeks, but right now I'm being a whimp:winkgrin:.

I'm very happy to hear all the stories, there is hope ... maybe

Mar. 7, 2012, 08:12 PM
I had one like this that I was training for someone. was totally unimpressed with the sticks and didn't think it was rworth his time to pick his legs up. After a few days of this I put my widest liverpool in the ring and headed him up to it, due to the width he actually jumped it. I did this a few times with him and then he got the idea and we went back to regular jumps and he was great.

Mar. 7, 2012, 08:13 PM
Personally I'd give it more time. It sounds to me like your horse doesn't understand jumping yet. Keep going with the flat work, come back to jumping again a little bit later. I do not think that a horse can tell you accurately what their true talents and likes are in the first few months of training.

I have one cute little mare that was very unimpressive when she first started jumping. Over time as we started moving the jumps just a smidge bigger it was like a light bulb went on in her brain, "Ah, I'm supposed to jump UP and over," and she's been lovely since. But, I will say that we proceeded with her in a very stepwise, normal fashion. In fact, we probably did MORE of the basic little stuff than usual.

While it is definitely true that some horses don't show their true colors and ability until the jumps go up, that doesn't mean that you get to raise the jumps higher sooner for those horses.

Mar. 7, 2012, 08:15 PM
Is he a big goofy Holsteiner gelding youngster who is ADD?? These can take forever before they wake up and smell the money. Mine didn't look at anything until it was 4ft or higher. Then he was terrific. it took a while.

Mar. 7, 2012, 08:24 PM
Quit jumping for a while until you can w,t,c in balance on a circle on a bit of a hill.

Go up and down the hills too in walk and trot.

Get him stronger and better balanced.

Some of them take a while. Best to stop before you really mess him up.

Also, make sure he doesn't have EPM:yes:

Mar. 7, 2012, 08:26 PM
Is he a big goofy Holsteiner gelding youngster who is ADD?? These can take forever before they wake up and smell the money. Mine didn't look at anything until it was 4ft or higher. Then he was terrific. it took a while.
Except the gelding part it's a pretty accurate description ... he is a big, goofy, holsteiner, colt with ADD:lol:

My friend took some pictures ... I might post them for pure entertainement. Do they have a 'fugly' judge my ride ?

chunky munky
Mar. 7, 2012, 08:30 PM
Reality? When what you have described is true... I would either give him some time off or think about another career. Linda described an amazing horse that because he was small and difficult was over looked. I don't think he ever did what you describe.

Mar. 7, 2012, 08:43 PM
Honestly, how old is he? Those Holsteiner babies just don't grow a brain for a while. Then they go from "what" to evasion in an instant. Mine is super smart and turned out to be a great guy who did really well. They just have a mind of their own and the bigger they are the less nerve endings they seem to have. Mine thought that walking through fences, gates, stall doors and any other barrier was just sport. Why jump when you can just crash through anything. It just seems like when they seem to get it at 5 then they go through a "but I might not have to do it" phase at 6. Just hang in there until his brain catches up with his body.

Mar. 7, 2012, 10:12 PM
My young horse did that at first, too. It was as if he thought he was supposed to crash through them?

We had some barrels in the arena- so turned them on their sides and boy did he jump them! They were scary looking, and he knew he couldn't just trot through them. He just needed something to look at- and once he jumped those barrels, he hasn't hit another fence....he went to his first show last weekend and kept all the rails up :)

Mar. 7, 2012, 11:05 PM
Might it be possible to turn him around with enough time and enough Faith and enough dogged perserverance?


Is it worth it to spend all that time and effort on him when in the same time you could train ten others who will trot up the first time, hop over, and canter softly away like they've been doing it all their lives, is the question.

This. :yes:
Plus, like you said, maybe he doesn't WANT to jump. If he's happy doing dressage, why not find him a dressage home and get something else who will be easier to work with over fences? Then it'll be a win-win for both of you.

Mar. 7, 2012, 11:10 PM
My mare became mine because the first few times she was free jumped as a youngster (3ish), she was horrible! So she was cheap after that... And developed into a fabulous jumper. Great form and good scope. Some mental issues, perhaps, but that is another story...

Some horses just don't get it at first. I have a horse now that I don't recall free jumping, but when we did start just trotting poles and such on the ground, he hit every single one with every foot as it passed over, every time! It was embarrassing, like he was the clumsiest thing ever. And the first time trainer was going to just trot him over some simple stuff, horse just could not get his feet off the ground. Trainer told me to get rid if him, he'll never turn into a hunter. He also ended up with a nice jump, no spook, and my favorite horse ever to ride...of course, he had to get hurt, multiple times, as the good ones always do. He's back under saddle now at 11 and might not jump again, but he does trot ground poles without a touch! Small victories...

I wouldn't give up. Give it some time. If it ends up he can't jump well enough, at least you are getting him broke enough to move to a different career, if needed.

Mar. 7, 2012, 11:36 PM
Here are the pictures of today's jumping session ...

Better not show that to G. Morris or he will have a heart attack :lol::lol::lol:

I know my equitation is less than good, but I was just trying to make sure he would go over and not flip :eek::eek::eek:

The last picture was taken over the last fence, thank god at least his knees are finally up:)


Don't worry, we will stick to the dressage ring till WE get our act together

Mar. 8, 2012, 09:37 AM
Cute boy! It looks like you should try to release a lot more and stop looking down at the fence...

Mar. 8, 2012, 09:44 AM
In looking at your photos, he appears attentive, but BORED! I think perhaps he just doesn't think any of these are worth trying over. But in some photos, when you have a good release, you can see the start of nice neck usage, and it looks like he really wants to try to get his legs up square.

I think more challenging gymnastics (to square up the hind legs) , more release and bigger jumps will make him into a better jumper.

Super adorable and beautiful horse you have!

Mar. 8, 2012, 09:46 AM
I believe a horse needs to like or love his or her job. That is part of it. Had a very talented mare once that always won the hack, even out of 40 horses, could jump well but hated horse showing. She is now a happy broodmare.

My once in a lifetime show horse was bred to be a dressage horse and she would have been the worst, most unhappy dressage horse on the planet. She hates flatwork but loves to jump. She loves to go to horseshows and "perform" and she was not a great jumper at age 4 but you could see there was potential and she had a fabulous hind end from day one.

So you need to figure out eventually what this horse wants to do. Sounds like he is not a natural jumper. And I do believe the horse must have some level of natural ability.

Mar. 8, 2012, 09:55 AM
Not sure this is the kind of hope you're looking for but I do have stories...

My first horse (the infamous Appy) was older when I got him (late teens). He hadn't learned to jump until he was fifteen. The first several times he jumped, he actually LAID DOWN on top of the fences and refused to get up. This is the horse I schooled about 1.30m with. Obviously he came around ;)

The TB I got as a prospect started off phenomenally, very natural jumper who loved his job. After a while, he decided he'd rather go through the poles than over... Until he met a wood pole, and he has tried his darndest to get over them ever since. He will hopefully be my big sticks jumper.

However, they were/are both very natural and talented jumpers who knew their job and loved it once they got the hang of it.

Mar. 8, 2012, 10:26 AM
Bonne chance! :-)

Mar. 8, 2012, 11:25 AM
oh gosh...YES!!!!! even on the ground the youngin's have no idea where they are half the time. it constantly surprises me how many different directions a baby can make him/herself go!

Mar. 8, 2012, 12:48 PM
Like everyone said and you likely saw my thread on there about ... "Lazy/careless jumper".... My mare just mere weeks ago was doing the exact same thing.
Though, with her, she has been undersaddle for 15 months and we have been doing solely dressage.

No matter what type of fence I tried, she would rather plow than pick up her legs and put in effort. So at the recommendation of fellow COTHer's I purchased some pine rails, varying in width and length and ditched the PVC poles. ($6 bucks a piece from local farmer who used them as fence rails).
Some are heavy as heck to lug around but it was the best thing I did.

I opted for low verticals and low/wide oxers (2'-2'3) with a blanket laid across or pole laid across the two so it looks at a 'Z' if looking from the top.
Be prepared for a big jump and grab mane if you need to, but keep your eyes and confidence up.
She ran out on me once but it was my fault, I corrected with a shoulder tap to indicate 'Not okay..'. I did not punish since I knew it partially my fault for not 'listening' to her and noticing the run-out was coming but I also want her to be point and shoot if I ever sold her to a novice.
After that, she never ran out on me again.

I did at first allow her to sniff the jump but I did stop that after I knew she wasn't going to stop again.
Now, I use a different combination of scary objects every time I include jumping in my lesson. (barrels, flowers, coats... anything I can find).
My mare never bats an eyelash now.

Yes, her form is still lacking.... great knees but she does not always use her hindquarters as much as she should so her back and neck do not come together nicely. I believe this is a muscle factor.

I only pop a couple jumps after my flatwork, which I focus on transitions, straightness, sensitivity to my aids, sending forward etc.
Don't overdo it. Especially if your horse is tired, he will get sloppy.
Send him over 2-3 times.... even the slightest bit of improvement, walk and make a HUGE deal of it and quit for the day.

I read an interesting article once, but I cannot remember the title but it explained how horses learn and how long it takes a horse to 'learn' a new task after you have ridden. I believe it was 48 -72 hours after you have ridden before the horse absorbs what they have learned.
I found this to be incredible as I always felt after a not do great ride that when I asked for it later that week, it was just there!

Less is more.... tiny goals for each lesson = big results.

Mar. 8, 2012, 03:48 PM
Placing rails might help.

tidy rabbit
Mar. 8, 2012, 04:21 PM
I think that if it were my horse I would change the program. I would take the horse over solid objects (small), banks, logs, ditches etc to teach him that he's got to be careful.

I would hazard to guess that there is more going on here than a careless horse. Either the horse is jumping out of bad footing, it's got a physical limitation that is preventing it from being able to get its front end up and out of the way, the distances aren't set right, the horse is getting too close to the jump for the height of the jump...

It could use a placing rail or a ground line rolled out further from the jump to help it take off further away so that it has time to lift it's front end up.

I would video tape the horse and watch the play back in slow motion and then compare it to a horse who jumps clean and see what the difference is.

I don't think there is any horse out there who doesn't care that he's hitting poles/ knocking his legs on something. I bet if you could ask him, he'd say he does care and that it sucks to continually hit his legs.

Mar. 8, 2012, 04:25 PM
YEARS/DECADES ago, we (barn I worked at) bought a 4 yo from the local dealer. Kinda cute, good mind, broke to death WTC.

Started jumping. DISASTER. If he didn't knock it down, he fell over it. Teeny-tiny crossrails, etc. Send this thing BACK!!! (Good dealer, he'd take it back if we weren't happy with it)

So - he was going to be picked up on Monday. Saturday, one of the kids asked if they could just play around on him with some other kids in the ring. Sure. Well, the others started hopping over little fences, so this kid just followed along. And not only did the jumps stay up, horse stayed up, and looked kinda perky. Trainer went into ring and decided to play a little more, so raised the rails a bit (2'?) Good. 2'6" good... Tight little knees, ears forward, expression like "Hey, this is fun!!!"

Had a vet out just to be sure - the poor little thing was only TWO!!!! Not 4, as 'advertised'.

Came up through the ranks of Maiden, Limit, Open eq (hey, I SAID it was decades ago) - junior hunter. And did well.

So - yes. A young horse can turn from a falling down mess to a really nice, competent jumper. He just needs to get it figured out - and perhaps that means letting him see what he's supposed to do with this obstacle in his way.


Mar. 8, 2012, 04:57 PM
It took my mare until early in her 5yo year to figure out the concept of "jump". It took the jumps hitting 3'3" - 3'6" (or having something very "scary" under them XC) to really start folding her front legs and jumping properly instead of just cantering over them since she has long legs and can get away with it... is she going to be a GP jumper? Um, no. But she's not bred to be one either, and if she can be correct and safe at 3'6" that's all I really need!

Mar. 8, 2012, 06:06 PM
He just needs to get it figured out - and perhaps that means letting him see what he's supposed to do with this obstacle in his way.

Really interesting point!! Ime horses do learn from watching one another.

Mar. 8, 2012, 06:08 PM
It took my mare until early in her 5yo year to figure out the concept of "jump". It took the jumps hitting 3'3" - 3'6" (or having something very "scary" under them XC) to really start folding her front legs and jumping properly instead of just cantering over them since she has long legs and can get away with it... is she going to be a GP jumper? Um, no. But she's not bred to be one either, and if she can be correct and safe at 3'6" that's all I really need!

Our guy was 7 when we pointed him at Training level jumps - 3'3". He just lumbered up and hitched his legs out of the way without any bascule at all. Luckily his legs were a bit longer than 3'3"....:eek: My heart was in my mouth.

Mar. 8, 2012, 08:50 PM
My last horse, who came off the track at age 8, spent time punting poles out of his way. With a disgusted look on his face at being ridden through this debris field. One day he got so off balance that he was forced to jump a cross rail instead of kicking it aside. He got petted and praised and the light bulb went on. He was SUPPOSE to do that instead of clearing a path. He loved jumping and was good at it.