The Chronicle of the Horse
MagazineNewsHorse SportsHorse CareCOTH StoreVoicesThe Chronicle UntackedDirectoriesMarketplaceDates & Results
 
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 21
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec. 7, 2007
    Posts
    151

    Default 4yo adjusting strides?

    Okay, so I'm bringing along my 4yo. We didn't start until end-summer/ early Fall with training, although he was broke summer the year before.

    In a group jump lesson we were asked to adjust our strides between a cross rail and a vertical. My horse's comfort was 5 strides. We could do 4, but couldn't get 6. I was asked to try again and again, before I finally said no. I felt I was sending mixed signals by doing all this checking when he was so forward and happy to the fence. (He did not act frustrated or unhappy during the checking, but I wanted to quit while I was ahead.) His primary issue was taking the first fence big and then me trying to get him back was not very successful.

    One person in the lesson thought that I was simply being asked to ride more technically and this wasn't out of the scope of my horse. Another rider thought I was right in stopping.

    We're doing dressage but still working on balance in corners. We're doing walk-trot transitions, but not canter-trot transitions. We're on the bit at the trot, but not at the canter yet. My dressage trainer is different from the jumper trainer.

    So... am I babying this horse, or is it too much to ask too soon?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr. 11, 2001
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    6,485

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Martina View Post
    We're doing dressage but still working on balance in corners. We're doing walk-trot transitions, but not canter-trot transitions. We're on the bit at the trot, but not at the canter yet. My dressage trainer is different from the jumper trainer.

    So... am I babying this horse, or is it too much to ask too soon?
    It sounds like your not asking him things in the right order.

    If you can't yet adjust his stride on the flat without jumps involved I wouldn't expect much success trying to adjust it with fences involved. I think the trick to bringing along a young horse over fences is to set him up to move from one success to the next. Which means you're only asking him to do new things he's already been prepared to do.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    May. 17, 2008
    Location
    south
    Posts
    617

    Default

    Agree you are not asking in the right order..I don't ask my young horses to canter fences if they are not able to be connected at the canter. Trot the fence than canter away and work on balance but go back to trot before the next fence. If you work on this you would be doing canter-trot transitions. You need to be able to do a 1/2 halt at canter to add strides in a line, so does not sound like he is ready to canter show jumps yet to me.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep. 13, 2002
    Location
    Azle, Teh-has
    Posts
    7,691

    Default

    in other words yes, you were right in not forcing the issue at the clinic.

    I don't understand any of this and how it relates to your initial question:

    We're doing dressage but still working on balance in corners. We're doing walk-trot transitions, but not canter-trot transitions. We're on the bit at the trot, but not at the canter yet. My dressage trainer is different from the jumper trainer.

    The reason I don't understand is because EVERYONE works on flat work, or dressage. Our entire lives are spent looking for balance. If you can walk, trot, and canter than you must also be able to do it in reverse--canter, trot, walk. If you horse is on the bit at the trot then why is he not at the canter?

    You don't have to have a horse that understands a 1/2 halt in order to jump fences--if this were so we would not be jumping horses until they were good and solid at 2nd level. The majority of horses understand a check, a whoa, and a go.

    But yes, connection at the canter comes before cantering fences.
    I think your horse is fine and the clinic was just a tad over his level.
    http://kaboomeventing.com/
    http://kaboomeventing.blogspot.com/
    Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb. 13, 2008
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    1,655

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by subk View Post
    It sounds like your not asking him things in the right order.

    If you can't yet adjust his stride on the flat without jumps involved I wouldn't expect much success trying to adjust it with fences involved. I think the trick to bringing along a young horse over fences is to set him up to move from one success to the next. Which means you're only asking him to do new things he's already been prepared to do.
    I agree. He needs to be balanced and responsive for lengthening and shortening his canter on the flat first, and it doesnt sound like he is there yet. He does need to be able to hold a balanced frame to do this. If he cant canter in balance on the flat, how can you expect him to balance himself at the canter with fences involved?

    So while it may be well within the scope of the horse, this seems to be a mistake people can easily make with talented youngsters. Just because he has the physical ability, does not mean he is ready just yet. He still needs to progress through the appropriate steps and foundation just like every other horse.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 19, 2005
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    12,374

    Default

    And to add to the above posts.....last last LAST thing I would be doing with a young horse is teaching them to leave out a stride in a line.

    If it was a comfortable 5...then you do it in 5 not 4. Being able to add or leave out a stride in a correctly set line (straight line not bended line) is a fairly advanced jumping exercise....not one I would be doing with most early 4 year olds...certainly not a novice horse. We start that exercise with poles on the ground...not jumps. I would be able to add a stride easily long long long before I would taking a stride out on purpose with most horses....especially with a bold jumper who is jumping too big into a line. He probably LOVED leaving that stride out and if he learns that habit...you will be hard pressed to change it. It is a very dangerous habit to create and can limit an otherwise talent horse in the future!

    you were right to stop.
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 14, 2001
    Location
    Lexington, KY--GO BIG BLUE!!
    Posts
    3,189

    Default

    Agree with BFNE. Introducing this concept should not be done with jumps, but with POLES on the ground. And the horse should already have some idea of shortening and lengthening.

    However, I do not believe that the horse must perfectly "carry itself" before attempting this exercise (with poles). He doesn't have to have a 10 lengthening/medium canter before you start to teach adjusting between obstacles.

    Perfect balance is not required. In fact, I find that this exercise really *helps* the horse's balance in some cases. I've had some who hit a little wall, a very minor "why should I" attitude about using the hind end to come back, or push out. Add some poles in the mix, and the horse figures out for himself "why" listening to the rider's leg and hand (and voice) is needed.

    This is all done JUDICIOUSLY of course... some horses (and riders?) really need the challege of the rails to honestly attempt the change of stride. Trip over the rail once or twice and the horse learns that, hey, maybe it IS easier to add a step instead of floudering in a half-stride. Sometimes it's better to do this with two rails on the curve of a big circle, so you can also use the circle to help you (though it makes it more difficult for others... horses are different!).
    “A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.”
    ? Albert Einstein

    ~AJ~



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep. 8, 1999
    Location
    Libertyville, IL USA
    Posts
    4,105

    Default

    Agree with PP. ALWAYS add with the youngsters. That being said, I wouldn't be jacking on his mouth to get the add done, just not trying to leave it out. Your ground person needs to make this happen, not the rider.

    I also will not ask for adjustability in the line until they are cantering around a course of 8 fences set on a 12 foot stride at 2'6".

    I am probably the opposite of every other person on this board. I want my young horse jumping around a small course before I start the "dressage" work. For the first 6 months they do not have to accept the bit, they do not have to be round or connected or anything else. They need to let me steer them around the corner and down the line and around the corner until they are BORED with it. I know there will be STRONG disagreement with this but I want my horses to flow quietly up to a fence and figure out how to get out of their own way.

    IMHO, dressage makes us hand ride our horses. This is not good for a baby. You set the fences to teach the green ones a lesson, you don't ride the green one for the fences. So for example, green one is WAY to bold, set the line a little tight, but as a rider you do nothing. Horse learns to back up because jumping out of a tight one sucks. If you try to help the horse, he blames you for the discomfort. If you leave him alone, he blames himself.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan. 19, 2005
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    12,374

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gry2Yng View Post
    Agree with PP. ALWAYS add with the youngsters. That being said, I wouldn't be jacking on his mouth to get the add done, just not trying to leave it out. Your ground person needs to make this happen, not the rider.

    very much agree with this...done not riding back wards, grounds person assisting...placing poles assisting....rider WAITING and not climbing up the neck

    You want to encourage and reward their decision to pat the ground in front of the fence. You want their instinct to develop that WHEN you reach a fence on a half stride...they will collect up themselves, shorten their stride and pat the ground....not fling themselves over the fence. You want that as their default reaction....so until that is well set in their mind...I don't mess with going long if I can!!! and damn that is hard for me because *I* like the long ones too
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct. 30, 2004
    Location
    Pine Top side of Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    4,958

    Default

    I once was asked to do this in a clinic on a very nice young rather big (16.2) 4 yr old OTTB who had just started jumping; 3 strides, 4 strides, 5 strides dowm the same line...fortunately for the horse, I - as in ME, knew immediately that I didn't feel like I could feel how to shorten this horse and I said "That's it for me today"...and left before things got ugly. At that point in time, I beat myself up a bit as I untacked for being such a pukey rider, no guts, not willing to try...later, several of the other clinic participants came over and told me how smart I was to have thought of my horse first...ha!
    ~ it no longer matters what level I do, as long as I am doing it..~ with many thanks, to Elizabeth Callahan



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep. 8, 1999
    Location
    Libertyville, IL USA
    Posts
    4,105

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bornfreenowexpensive View Post
    and damn that is hard for me because *I* like the long ones too
    "Leaving it out" is my middle name. My current rising 5 yo is so of the same mind. His middle name is "Did you say move up?" I like the ones with the big stride. So easy to screw them up.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan. 3, 2006
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    781

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gry2Yng View Post
    Agree with PP. ALWAYS add with the youngsters. That being said, I wouldn't be jacking on his mouth to get the add done, just not trying to leave it out. Your ground person needs to make this happen, not the rider.

    I also will not ask for adjustability in the line until they are cantering around a course of 8 fences set on a 12 foot stride at 2'6".

    I am probably the opposite of every other person on this board. I want my young horse jumping around a small course before I start the "dressage" work. For the first 6 months they do not have to accept the bit, they do not have to be round or connected or anything else. They need to let me steer them around the corner and down the line and around the corner until they are BORED with it. I know there will be STRONG disagreement with this but I want my horses to flow quietly up to a fence and figure out how to get out of their own way.

    IMHO, dressage makes us hand ride our horses. This is not good for a baby. You set the fences to teach the green ones a lesson, you don't ride the green one for the fences. So for example, green one is WAY to bold, set the line a little tight, but as a rider you do nothing. Horse learns to back up because jumping out of a tight one sucks. If you try to help the horse, he blames you for the discomfort. If you leave him alone, he blames himself.
    What you are doing is the basis of good dressage, not NO dressage! what you describe is the basis of the training scale - with little jumps added (much more interesting for everyone). BAD dressage makes us hand ride our horses. If only we can stay on the straight and narrow, riding GOOD dressage, we would have no problems with our jumping.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec. 7, 2007
    Posts
    151

    Default

    Wow, guys, so many great comments, its hard to put a succinct resonse together! Thank you all very much for this, as it is very, very helpful.

    I don't ask my young horses to canter fences if they are not able to be connected at the canter. Trot the fence than canter away and work on balance but go back to trot before the next fence.
    Great advice. I didn't know that. And I understand this will help him get deeper to the fence, which I hear is a good thing. He had been leaving early, and I thought THAT was a good thing until just yesterday when my friend steered me right. Geesh.

    If you horse is on the bit at the trot then why is he not at the canter?
    My dressage trainer had me cantering with zero aids, getting deep into the corners because he was falling in so horribly. He didn't want me supporting him at all, i.e. my horse was to do all the work to build the muscle and better balance. In our last lesson though he said it is now time, so next week we will start cantering on the bit.

    Just because he has the physical ability, does not mean he is ready just yet.
    If you can't yet adjust his stride on the flat without jumps involved I wouldn't expect much success trying to adjust it with fences involved.
    I whole-heartedly agree

    We start that exercise with poles on the ground...not jumps.
    This is great, thank you. I'll give it a try, but to EventerAJ's point, probably not now, maybe soon. I just don't think this is the next step yet.

    last last LAST thing I would be doing with a young horse is teaching them to leave out a stride in a line.
    If it makes you feel better, my instructor said no more leaving a stride out because he was so jacked up. (And YES, he LOVED doing that, heaven forbid.)

    You want their instinct to develop that WHEN you reach a fence on a half stride...they will collect up themselves, shorten their stride and pat the ground....not fling themselves over the fence.
    I am not sure what this means, and what PnP said by it being up to the ground person?

    I like the ones with the big stride. So easy to screw them up.
    Don't I know it!

    Again, thank you guys so much. Bringing up a young one is pretty daunting when you're not an expert yourself. I love where I keep my horse, but its hard for me to get the regular lessons I need. All this advice is so helpful.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug. 28, 2007
    Location
    Triangle Area, NC
    Posts
    6,704

    Default

    you did the right thing. It sounds like your trainer needs to be reminded the level your horse is dealing with.
    Jumping gets better from a better balanced horse, which is achieved on the flat, through dressage principle
    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
    chaque pas est fait ensemble



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep. 13, 2002
    Location
    Azle, Teh-has
    Posts
    7,691

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gry2Yng View Post
    "Leaving it out" is my middle name. My current rising 5 yo is so of the same mind. His middle name is "Did you say move up?" I like the ones with the big stride. So easy to screw them up.
    lol. me too. I seem to get stuck with the guys that are born with a 15 foot canter stride.

    You really just have to ride the horse you are on.
    I knew something was wrong with Boomer when at his last show (2008) he put 5 strides in a 5 stride line. Never had he done that before in his life. He ALWAYS does an easy 4. Took him to the vet and tah-dah! big issues.

    Any clinician that I have ever used has always said to me..it's a 7 but you'll get 6.

    Also, Will had us adjust striding. My 4 year old had been jumping for just a couple months. He gave us 18" verticals on the circle and we did 3 and 4 strides from the canter with no stirrups. ; ) But they were on a circle so you really don't change stride length, you change your arch.

    Moral: you do what you feel is good for your horse. Youngsters should always be set up for success. Especially jumpers/eventers. You have to make those kids feel like they are the best damned horses on the planet. That's how you build a safe partner that can hold his own in the tough situations down the road.

    Have fun with your kid! Good for you for speaking up at your clinic!
    http://kaboomeventing.com/
    http://kaboomeventing.blogspot.com/
    Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan. 19, 2005
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    12,374

    Default

    Quote:
    You want their instinct to develop that WHEN you reach a fence on a half stride...they will collect up themselves, shorten their stride and pat the ground....not fling themselves over the fence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Martina View Post

    I am not sure what this means, and what PnP said by it being up to the ground person?
    By half stride...I mean you are not going to meet the fence well....instead of just being able to jump out of stride (which your distance may be a little close or a little long)...you are meeting it where you either need to leave a stride out or add a stride. My point was that we ALL meet fences on half strides....and what you want is a horse that if you do nothing...sit quiet, loop in the rein...your horse will add the stride...not leave it out. He will shorten his stride himself. He will rock back his balance, add the stride and pat the ground in front of the fence. If you don't develop this instinct...with a bold jumper...when they are reaching a fence on a half stride, left on their own...they will launch and leave the stride out. BAD habit that if you progress up the levels you have a much higher risk of flipping, falling or crashing them...especially event horses but also top show jumpers...and will need to do a lot of work undoing that bad habit....better to do it right from the start.

    A ground person can help you by doing things like walking in front of the fence as you approach to help back the horse off (so the rider doesn't have to use their hands). You need an experienced ground person to do this.....if you watch the top trainers working with the bold young jumpers....watch what they do. They are not just wandering in front of fences (done to help get the horse to add the stride)....or standing to the side of a fence (done to help keep a horse straight) by accident or for no reason...they are doing all of that on purpose.
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec. 7, 2007
    Posts
    151

    Default

    That makes a ton of sense now, thank you.

    Its funny because I literally thought it was good that he was leaving out the stride. He didn't always do it though--this is pretty recent. That's when my friend had enlightened me that its not a good thing. I hope we can nip this in the bud now, because I have to say he likes to leave early. She said that trotting to fences and trying to get as deep as you can is helpful.

    I'll talk to my instructor and hopefully I can get a private with her. The group is hard because we are the greenest pair. Next group lesson I will be riding a more schooled horse, which will be good for me.

    Its getting on her schedule for a private that's tough. I am doing more clinics off the farm though, so that will be helpful.

    Thanks again everyone!



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb. 13, 2008
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    1,655

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gry2Yng View Post
    IMHO, dressage makes us hand ride our horses.
    I think this is only true if you are riding dressage wrong.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep. 8, 1999
    Location
    Libertyville, IL USA
    Posts
    4,105

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobthehorse View Post
    I think this is only true if you are riding dressage wrong.
    I agree, and I disagree. Sometimes it is not "wrong" per se, but where you are in your education. I also both agree and disagree with the PP who said I am riding dressage in the early schooling of my youngsters.

    It takes a well schooled rider and a well schooled horse to half halt off the seat and thigh. It is also a very natural impulse to pull when you don't see anything. Only reinforced by flat work that tends to encourage the hand over the leg. (I am not saying it is correct, just that it is pretty common. I fall into that trap all the time - I don't think I am above it or better than that.)

    Teaching a horse to carry himself on a consistent stride is not an easy exercise. Keeping one "cocked" to jump without holding him up with your hand is even harder. Asking one to add without killing the engine, same thing.

    As to the comment that I am doing dressage with my youngsters. I am not. You would be seriously appalled by what I let them do while they sort out their own legs over the jumps. They don't accept the bit, their ears aren't level, they may or may not be in front of my leg, I turn with an opening rein. I find them totally annoying to ride on the flat and to a certain extent over fences because they don't adjust and they sure don't hold a stride length. They do have rhythm. I look for it. Now, maybe some people call that dressage, perhaps it is semantics.
    Last edited by Gry2Yng; Jan. 22, 2010 at 07:02 PM.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr. 11, 2001
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    6,485

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gry2Yng View Post
    As to the comment that I am doing dressage with my youngsters. I am not. You would be seriously appalled by what I let them do while they sort out their own legs over the jumps. They don't accept the bit, their ears aren't level, they may or may not be in front of my leg, I turn with an opening rein. I find them totally annoying to ride on the flat and to a certain extent over fences because they don't adjust and they sure don't hold a stride length. They do have rhythm. I look for it. Now, maybe some people call that dressage, perhaps it is semantics.
    Seeing as Rhythm is pretty much at the bottom of the dressage training pyramid you might be guilty of doing some...

    I don't have any problems asking a horse without a lot of finesse on the flat to start jumping (currently guilty!) But expecting finesse you don't have on the flat when jumping is the problem.



Similar Threads

  1. Matching strides
    By sheltona01 in forum Driving
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: Dec. 23, 2011, 12:37 PM
  2. Have you ever taken out strides at a show?
    By Big_Grey_hunter in forum Hunter/Jumper
    Replies: 41
    Last Post: Aug. 13, 2010, 05:52 PM
  3. How many strides to add?
    By ToastieOaties in forum Hunter/Jumper
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: May. 30, 2010, 09:25 PM
  4. counting strides?
    By oxeventer36xo in forum Hunter/Jumper
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: Feb. 4, 2010, 07:57 PM
  5. pony strides
    By skyy in forum Hunter/Jumper
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: Jul. 29, 2009, 02:18 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •