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  1. #1

    Default Looking at the prospect.. thoughts?... update!

    So I am looking at a three year old, unstarted prospect as a future eventer who has stellar movement on the flat but seriously hangs his legs when free-jumping. My trainer says not to worry too much about it but I'm curious as to what other people's experiences have been with this. Is it just the luck of the draw? Can you really train a horse to jump? Is it worth it?
    Last edited by pippa553; Mar. 9, 2009 at 11:06 PM.



  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by pippa553 View Post
    So I am looking at a three year old, unstarted prospect as a future eventer who has stellar movement on the flat but seriously hangs his legs when free-jumping. My trainer says not to worry too much about it but I'm curious as to what other people's experiences have been with this. Is it just the luck of the draw? Can you really train a horse to jump? Is it worth it?

    yes. Known several gangly 3 year olds who couldn't free jump worth anything...serious hanging. Give them a little time to grow into themselves and get stronger and they were very good jumpers. Also known some youngsters whose free jump looked outstanding....terrible jumpers once jumping under saddle.

    At 3...it is a gamble anyway (mitigated a bit if they have the right breeding and conformation). But if they have stellar movement....you at least have the potential to move them on as a dressage horse if they really end up not having any talent over fences.
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **



  3. #3
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    I call them dressage horses.
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
    ---
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.



  4. #4
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    Can go either way.
    Got sent a lovely horse who was a Klutz over jumps, sent to be sold as Dressage prospect.Several major BNT turned him down as a H or J prospect despite his size n looks. That all ended when in the free school after weeks of crash n burn the light bulb went on and he jumped the 5ft gate out! He learned to walk n chew gum. Now a serious 3'6" - 4ft horse.
    Have a cute small guy who is a spastic over 2'6 but 3'6" on he is unbelievable w/ his front end. Legs so tight they look like one, heels to elbows, forearms horizontal.
    Its a crap shot.



  5. #5
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    Just about anyway you look at it buying a three year old as an event prospect is a gamble. Of course, I just bought--as in a few days ago--a 3 year old sport bred TB who is a lovely horse, nice mover with a fabulous temparment. Other than a very promising jumping pedigree I have not a single idea if he'll jump and honestly I'm not particularly interested in free jumping at this point because like BFNE says it certainly isn't definitive at this age. I figure if he doesn't want the job there is always a place for big, nice moving, quiet horses! If he does want the job then I got a fabulous deal and a fun couple years installing the software just the way I like.



  6. #6
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    It depends on why the horse is hanging it's front legs. If the horse is gangly and strung out, and also meets the jump too close, I wouldn't be worried if the horse is jumping a bit out of balance. If the horse appears balanced, meets the jump smoothly, and still dangles it's front legs, I wouldn't buy it.

    Remember that a vertical can be the hardest jump for a green unbalanced horse to jump well. Try him over an ascending oxer (front rail low, back rail higher) and see how he does with that. Also some horses need a bigger jump to really show their true form.

    That said, in eventing jumping is 2 out of 3 phases, and leg hanging is quite a dangerous fault. Maybe see if you can try freejumping him a few more times, and if he doesn't figure it out and improve, I would keep looking. There are plenty of good jumpers out there.



  7. #7
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    Default Walk away.

    I would walk away, to many nice young horses out there that naturally snap up their legs... why have to work to teach that which should come naturally?

    That being said, I did buy one who jumped like this and worked for a year and evented him novice. Sold him because he wouldn't be safe to jump over the bigger jumps. If something went even a little wrong, he reverted back to hanging his legs. I wasn't willing to risk my neck....



  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by pippa553 View Post
    Can you really train a horse to jump? Is it worth it?
    My experience with my now 4 year old was that he was free jumping horribly because A) he didn't understand the question really and B) he REALLY wasn't balanced. ETA: C) he really didn't have to

    After developing his dressage some and working mainly on grids (both with experienced trainers, of course!), he's showing he actually CAN jump well (maybe not a hunter in style, but definitely SAFE), and he's enjoying!! it.

    Is this journey worth it to me?? Absolutely!! I love this part. I really have no problem waiting for him to learn and figure it out, and I love being the one to help him through it. I guess it depends on your goal though. Like many have said, there are plenty of good jumpers out there!
    Last edited by Sudi's Girl; Feb. 20, 2009 at 10:41 AM.



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guyot View Post
    I would walk away, to many nice young horses out there that naturally snap up their legs... why have to work to teach that which should come naturally?

    That being said, I did buy one who jumped like this and worked for a year and evented him novice. Sold him because he wouldn't be safe to jump over the bigger jumps. If something went even a little wrong, he reverted back to hanging his legs. I wasn't willing to risk my neck....

    See ...my experience with a top show jump trainer was the opposite. If they SNAP their knees up over a 2 foot or even 3 foot fence....he would walk away. Those horses rarely move beyond 3 foot. Some of the absolute scopey BIG time jumpers....will hang their front legs jumping little fences...why...because they can and they see no point in picking up their legs. Now most don't crash and burn either....and watching them, you can tell that they are not even trying.

    But a three year old....come on. If they are in a middle of a growth spurt....I absolutely do not always expect them to look like a top hunter/jumper free schooling for the first few times. But I do agree with lstevenson...I look at the over all picture. But some of the best show jumpers that I've know...as in crack their back with their knees to their eye balls over 5 foot plus fences....did not look so sharp the first few time free jumping as youngsters over 3 footers (or smaller).

    It is hard to describe over the internet...but I know a good jumper in the making when I see one....and often their knees are not snapping up to their eyeballs at three free jumping. So if the OP has a good experienced trainer who watched this horse go.....I would trust their advice.
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **



  10. #10
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    the nicest horse I ever rode looked like a gawky yearling when he was just turning 3. I held my breath everytime I saw him canter in the indoor - he was just too tall (17ish hands) too quick or something.. gangly- all legs, and he seemed to just throw them wherever. He started filling out at 4, learned how to canter finally, and looked like crap over little x's. Suddenly, at 5-6, he looked like some sort of warmblood - he never did pick his feet up over anything under 3', but he could walk over 5' like it was nothing. Scopey, Brave, nice nice horse- the type of horse you could feel secure jumping anything from anywhere. I wish I had a pic of us at our first event to show you - this horse was given to owner (ex race horse that didnt make it) and was later sold for around $20k (and someone got him for a steal at that price- seller didnt know any better).

    Just my story of a horse that looked like crap as a 3 year old



  11. #11
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    I have a friend who bought her horse from a BNT who'd decided that the horse would never make it past Prelim because he hung his legs a bit. Horse was 5 at the time, very tall, long-legged and gangly. My friend put him into serious dressage training, which helped rebalance him, and he now jumps 4'6" like it's nothing, with his legs nicely held up. He could definitely go higher than Prelim now, and he's a sweetheart, too

    Of course it's always a gamble...



  12. #12
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    Great responses. I am going to make my final decision this weekend after another viewing. I'm going to go into it with an open mind and see where it takes me.

    Quote Originally Posted by bornfreenowexpensive View Post
    But if they have stellar movement....you at least have the potential to move them on as a dressage horse if they really end up not having any talent over fences.
    My trainer said exactly the same thing. We shall see...
    Ideally I would love a horse to event with but I know it's unrealistic to go into a three year old thinking that's definitely what he's going to be. I'll update after this weekend.



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by EqTrainer View Post
    I call them dressage horses.
    ditto
    http://kaboomeventing.com/
    http://kaboomeventing.blogspot.com/
    Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!



  14. #14
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    I have a horse who hangs his legs. he is now a dressage horse. BUT it wasn't necessarily because he hung his legs. He wasn't and isn't good at thinking on his feet. He was good at jumping a single fence from a perfect spot and has plenty of scope for 4 foot + under those conditions. Anything less than that and he had to work hard, very hard to get himself out of trouble. We went training, safely but didn't do prelim. In fact it wasn't even training Xcountry - it was training stadium. The fences came up "too quick" for him. It just wasn't easy and I felt that it stressed him.

    I guess, from my experience w/ him - I'd look for a horse who was good at thinking himself out of trouble - even if getting to a horrible spot and not lose confidence. I want a quick footed, quick thinking, easy jumping horse - even if he/she had lower than ideal front end especially over the low jumps.

    I don't know if you can adequately assess this in a 3 yr old - but I'd try to...



  15. #15
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    Default Define snap and hanging legs....

    Reading most of the replies, I guess a big question to clarify would be a definition of a young horse snapping up their legs and/or hanging their legs.

    For me a young horse over less then a 3 foot jump snapping means the forearms are at least horizontal or slightly below horizontal to the ground, and usually not even in front. All are something I would look at and train through.

    A young horse that hangs legs over 3 feet means that both forelegs are perpendicular to the ground, as in knees pointing down. Horses that hang legs the way I understand hanging legs, usually over shoot the distance and run up under the jump habitually. This I walk away from.



  16. #16
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    Update! I finally got to go and see the horse in person. After some prodding we got him to scramble down the jump shoot. It wasn't pretty, he was far from balanced and we stopped the whole thing after a few jumps. I don't think we are going to be able to really tell anything until he has more of a head on his shoulders. As far as the flat went it was impressive enough. Anyway I got him vetted and he should be coming to me to get started soon. Wish me luck with my prospect, dressage or eventing or whatever it should be....



  17. #17
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    Good luck with him! You should post pics when you have them... I love to follow before and after type threads. Sounds like he just doesn't quite know what to do with the jumping chute yet... some never really seem to catch on, even if they are stellar jumpers under saddle. I'd give him some time to grow up and balance and then reassess the situation. If it's a no go, at least he will make someone a nice dressage horse.



  18. #18
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    Hmmmm

    Well - In the world of breeding and more specifically Holsteiner breeding. Free jumping 2-3yr olds is the assessment factor of choice to determine raw jumping talent and ability.

    Sometimes a horse is actually better under saddle over fences. This is more likely due to the confidence of the rider not training per se. (I'm referring to the fact that young Holsteiner stallions are judged on free jumping abilities at their approvals in the fall of their 2yr old year. Once approved they move on to the 100 day test and are placed under saddle for the first time).

    If a horse naturally wants to point his knees to the ground and jumps with loose form - this is most likely the type of jumping style this horse will always have and if you wanted to make it better over time you certainly could with training. But as another poster pointed out - why bother when there are so many other better choices you could start with.

    I personally would rather have a starting point that doesn't already have serious problems or obstacles to overcome (no pun intended).



  19. #19
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    In my in-person evaluation I found that his forearms were horizontal but uneven. His knees certainly were not pointing down. As an amateur I may have passed on this horse because he isn't the "pretty picture" over fences. Yet out of the hundred horses we have pursued the past few months this is the one we kept going back to. I think he will be a fun project.



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by pippa553 View Post
    Yet out of the hundred horses we have pursued the past few months this is the one we kept going back to. I think he will be a fun project.
    That's the most important part. It's not worth it if you don't feel some sort of connection or belief in the horse. In the end, you need to be satisfied with looking at him and saying.."that's my horse" every day.

    I quietly followed this original thread, as I'm in your shoes - looking for a prospect. I've just decided that with my budget, I'm going to have to take a leap of faith in the end... because that's really what prospect purchasing is all about!

    Best of luck



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