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young horse "refusing" xc jumps

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    young horse "refusing" xc jumps

    I just started riding with a friend I haven't seen for a few years and am slightly concerned about the re-training of her young OTTB. Long story short, she came over to play over fences and the horse was fine over stadium jumps, but as soon as there was something solid (barrels, coops, logs) he started stopping. He comes to the fence positive then stops and sort of falls onto the jump with his knees. Not dirty, just unsure. My friend has been riding for years and has done Training level on her previous horses so she has some experience. I don't think she's had any jumping lessons on him (we don't really have good options in the area) and I'm afraid she is teaching him that this behavior is ok. Most of the time he ends up either walking over the baby jumps or launching from a standstill. It doesn't matter if she approaches in trot or canter. I don't feel that I'm overly qualified to give my opinion, but it seems she might be taking a little too much hold of him before the jumps and then catching him in the mouth after he launches. She doesn't want to use a crop to get him over them since he's young and trying to figure things out. What advice do you have for me, as her friend, to help her get him more fluid over the solid fences? I just don't have experience with ones that go to their knees. I'm used to ones that over jump from the long spot! LOL
    Last edited by someday; Jul. 3, 2020, 07:20 PM.

    #2
    Suggest to your friend that she has a go at lunging the horse over some small xc fences. That way, both sides can learn together.
    "Good young horses are bred, but good advanced horses are trained" Sam Griffiths

    Comment


      #3
      Similar to ^^ has the horse done all of these things without a rider first? He sounds confused about how to arrange his body parts in order to get to the other side of the fence. If he's feeling rein pressure at the wrong time and can't use his neck the way he needs to, he may not be *able* to jump.
      --
      Wendy
      ... with Patrick and Henry

      Comment


        #4
        Always start with solid obsstacles so small they can walk over them. Start by walking over both directions, calm and relaxed. Then trot. Use a neck strap. Land in trot or come back to trot calmly. Do this over lots of types of obstacles until the horse is confident and when presented with something new, wants to give it a go rather than sucking back. Then start approaching in canter, again, work until horse is calmly confident.

        Only then should you raise the jumps past the point that the horse needs to jump to get over.
        Blugal

        You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Blugal View Post
          Always start with solid obsstacles so small they can walk over them. Start by walking over both directions, calm and relaxed. Then trot. Use a neck strap. Land in trot or come back to trot calmly. Do this over lots of types of obstacles until the horse is confident and when presented with something new, wants to give it a go rather than sucking back. Then start approaching in canter, again, work until horse is calmly confident.

          Only then should you raise the jumps past the point that the horse needs to jump to get over.
          This, even if it takes all summer. And maybe add a little "follow the leader" time where your horse can precede him in walking back and forth over those little sticks on the ground. Despite her experience, every horse is different and she may be unconsciously over-pressuring him. It's easy to do so.

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            #6
            Does he just stop the first time...and then jump them?. Stopping is a normal part of training with some horses. Not ideal though but I don’t get freaked out. I’ve brought taught numerous horses up through prelim. At the beginning with a baby horse...some of them are just more unsure and its our job to instill confidence. So for now, always introduce him to the fence. Let him walk up an sniff it. Keep the fences small. Give him time to read them. TROT....by your description, it sounds like a horse being surprised by the fence, not having time to process it and a rider not riding with enough leg on at the base. I would not expect a horse like this to just go and jump...not yet. Take a step or two back. Let him sniff them first. He will get there but isn’t ready yet.
            ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

            Comment


              #7
              The others posted good advice.

              I second the recommendation for a neck strap. Makes it easier to confidently sit up and keep leg on without the fear of getting jumped out of the tack or hitting them in the mouth.

              Comment


                #8
                I suspect it's a rider body error. Some horses are quite good at sensing a rider's body no longer going forward.

                You don't state the age or experience of said rider.
                Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by merrygoround View Post
                  I suspect it's a rider body error. Some horses are quite good at sensing a rider's body no longer going forward.

                  You don't state the age or experience of said rider.
                  That's a good point.

                  Plus, some inexperienced jumpers are very sensitive to the rider's body being even fractionally too far forward. The horse doesn't seem to think he can get off the ground with even an ounce of the rider's weight over his shoulders.

                  Agree with the question about this rider's experience with a new jumper. The rider position needed for a green jumping horse can be very different from the way riders usually ride on horses that are confident over jumps. And, the rider has to be comfortable with some wonky jumps. You can't ride overly-defensively thinking this horse is about to frog-jump, or maybe he'll hesitate at the base and then launch, or he'll skip the last stride and do the rocket thing over it. Overly-defensive riding can confuse or bother a green horse enough that they just stop in confusion.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Yeah, might just be clueless.

                    My little mare, who turned out to be a jumping fool once she figured out what to do, stopped at jumps for weeks when she started her jumping training, according to her breeder. She'd figure out one thing (like crossrails) but then when presented with something new (like a little oxer or a coop) would stop again. Once she figured out what jumping was about, she was fine other than having a tendency to want to take a flying leap over water rather than go through it.

                    I never got to jump her much, which is kind of too bad. Not me riding her in this photo but she could fly!
                    You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                    1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

                    Comment

                      Original Poster

                      #11
                      Thanks for all of the feedback.
                      We actually went schooling since posting this and although he still stopped at everything, he did seem to come to some understanding.
                      The rider is a 25ish yo who has had success at training level eventing. I'm not sure of what her background is with greenies though.
                      She does let the horse sniff all of the jumps before trotting up to them. All of the jumps could easily be stepped over.
                      She's bringing him to my place this weekend so I put out a few more baby logs and have built a couple of tiny coops. I'm going to suggest a neck strap and try to get her to keep her eyes up because I'm sure that's putting her balance too far forward (even though she looks pretty balanced). It's just weird for me to give her advice for some reason.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Has she let the horse jump through grids by itself first? Used cross poles vs rails? I second lunging over simple in the grass first also.
                        The cue card kid just held up an empty cue card. For a minute there I thought I had lost my sense of humor. --- Red Skelton

                        Comment

                          Original Poster

                          #13
                          I'm not sure how much she has used grids with him. We're planning on doing grids this weekend in addition to the baby logs I set up.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Walk the horse parallel in front of a jump - go both directions- so the horse can see the fence with each eye, not just straight on at the fence.

                            Grids and lunging without the rider so the horse can figure out and use their own body, learn their own striding. Some horses are just more insecure and cautious, especially young.

                            We had a young one off the track that was a huge guber, very lookey. I had my daughters chicken wing to the fence, sit back and YELL GO. Yelling go expressed the air out of their body made them sit back and down, opened up the front for forward and was very convincing to the horse. Try it standing to feel for yourself. The rider can't come in hesitant and drop that horse in front of the fence.

                            I also had the young horse experience of fence sitting (judging) at a starter division and altho I used to scoff at this having evented back in the 70's and starting at Training, if you couldn't find a pre training competition, I did see an outstanding example and really learned from it. A rider (looked like an experienced or pro ride) came thru on a young horse at a very STRONG ROAD TROT - justa stringing those fences together - held that horse between hand and leg very straight. That horse never even saw the fence judges! And the young horse started hunting for that next fence. My DD was starting jumping with a homebred 5 yr old, I came home dragged all the standards and poles out into the field and set them as low cross poles, told her to go trot everywhere and change direction over and over. That young horse quickly got that idea!

                            Litter the ground with jump poles, like pickup stix, and let the horse find their way over/thru them at the walk. Everything you can do for co-ordination and brain development and independence. Keep trying, it'll happen!
                            The cue card kid just held up an empty cue card. For a minute there I thought I had lost my sense of humor. --- Red Skelton

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by pony grandma View Post
                              Walk the horse parallel in front of a jump - go both directions- so the horse can see the fence with each eye, not just straight on at the fence.

                              Grids and lunging without the rider so the horse can figure out and use their own body, learn their own striding. Some horses are just more insecure and cautious, especially young.

                              We had a young one off the track that was a huge guber, very lookey. I had my daughters chicken wing to the fence, sit back and YELL GO. Yelling go expressed the air out of their body made them sit back and down, opened up the front for forward and was very convincing to the horse. Try it standing to feel for yourself. The rider can't come in hesitant and drop that horse in front of the fence.

                              I also had the young horse experience of fence sitting (judging) at a starter division and altho I used to scoff at this having evented back in the 70's and starting at Training, if you couldn't find a pre training competition, I did see an outstanding example and really learned from it. A rider (looked like an experienced or pro ride) came thru on a young horse at a very STRONG ROAD TROT - justa stringing those fences together - held that horse between hand and leg very straight. That horse never even saw the fence judges! And the young horse started hunting for that next fence. My DD was starting jumping with a homebred 5 yr old, I came home dragged all the standards and poles out into the field and set them as low cross poles, told her to go trot everywhere and change direction over and over. That young horse quickly got that idea!

                              Litter the ground with jump poles, like pickup stix, and let the horse find their way over/thru them at the walk. Everything you can do for co-ordination and brain development and independence. Keep trying, it'll happen!
                              This sounds like a Lucinda Green exercise. Are you Lucinda Green?

                              It certainly worked well for Lucinda!

                              Comment


                                #16
                                Originally posted by OverandOnward View Post

                                This sounds like a Lucinda Green exercise.
                                Haha. I regretfully missed out on getting to see her teach clinics in my area long ago. I was busy with 3 teens in other activities at the time. I taught my own kids in the backyard and some friends kids and found some very creative ways to engage them to think and feel; develop their bags of tricks and have a catalog of reactions ready at hand (or seat). We would practice scenarios so they would be prepared, safety. And to think outside the box. My personal favorite was putting tiny raw eggs in their hands with the reins so that they would realize the tenseness in their hand grip. And making them carry small coffee cups in both hands with the reins to 'carry' their hands and stop dropping their wrists or the puppy paw. Then I'd ask them to hand me a cup, from the horse's shoulder, and they could separate their hand action. I taught one rein stops and we played the 'I don't see the bogeyman march.' One girl went on to barrel racing seriously enough to go to Texas to work w/ a BNT -who asked her directly where did you learn to ride, and sit and use your body the way you do?

                                I hope the OP posts back I'm curious what they've found that works for this horse and rider.
                                The cue card kid just held up an empty cue card. For a minute there I thought I had lost my sense of humor. --- Red Skelton

                                Comment

                                  Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by pony grandma View Post

                                  Haha. I regretfully missed out on getting to see her teach clinics in my area long ago. I was busy with 3 teens in other activities at the time. I taught my own kids in the backyard and some friends kids and found some very creative ways to engage them to think and feel; develop their bags of tricks and have a catalog of reactions ready at hand (or seat). We would practice scenarios so they would be prepared, safety. And to think outside the box. My personal favorite was putting tiny raw eggs in their hands with the reins so that they would realize the tenseness in their hand grip. And making them carry small coffee cups in both hands with the reins to 'carry' their hands and stop dropping their wrists or the puppy paw. Then I'd ask them to hand me a cup, from the horse's shoulder, and they could separate their hand action. I taught one rein stops and we played the 'I don't see the bogeyman march.' One girl went on to barrel racing seriously enough to go to Texas to work w/ a BNT -who asked her directly where did you learn to ride, and sit and use your body the way you do?

                                  I hope the OP posts back I'm curious what they've found that works for this horse and rider.
                                  So, do you have a video series out? Because I'd watch! I love your ideas!

                                  My friend came over yesterday and things went better. This time she had a crop and a grab strap.

                                  We started with a gymnastic and he was great, no issues at all. Super cute!

                                  I had set up some telephone poles all over the xc field for her to hop over. They were specifically set so they would make a good line with some baby coops. He was very keen getting over the poles, forward and brave. Then she did a pole to a coop and he was perfect!!!!! Didn't hesitate at all. She did the smallest coop a few times then did the pole to the larger coop. Perfection!! Everything was great, but then we moved on to the next jump. A telephone pole to barrels. The pole was great, but then a huge "No" to the barrels. She went back around to the coop (he was hesitant this time) to the pole to the barrels and he stopped again. I don't think she trusts him or herself to use the crop. Ideally, she should have given him a tap a few strides out...I could see he was going to stop and I'm sure she had to have felt it coming. She got off and lunged him over it with no issue at all. I think he's just really sensitive to her and stops if she has any doubt. At this point, it was too hot and we were toast so she let him be done with lunging over the barrels. We'll try again next time. I was super excited to see him go so well over the poles to coop though! He'll be really nice once they get it figured out. Makes me wish I could get a baby...all of mine are getting old and broken, much like me

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    Sounds like progress!

                                    Possibly she doesn't have a lot of experience with true greenies? Everyone has to start somewhere.

                                    If she's used to a horse that moves up smoothly to the jumps, the inconsistency of a green horse could be somewhat unnerving. Maybe you can get her to talk a bit about what she's experiencing, next time. Sounds like she didn't volunteer why she thought the horse wasn't taking her forward over the barrels.

                                    Also, she shouldn't forget brushing up the flatwork, again and again. How the horse carries himself and the rider; his feeling of confidence with lateral work. Greenies tend to bobble and weave at times when jumps are involved. They have to get their feet straightened out underneath them. The more practiced they feel about that, the more willing they are likely to be.

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      If she is not confident - it may be wiser to lunge him over the fences without her on his back.

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        Personally, with babies, for the first year of jumping I lunge them over everything first. Keeps the message clear (go from one side to the other), and allows them to build confidence without a rider spanking them over, so they learn to seek the fence and have confidence in themselves. If a horse refuses more than once, I lower the fence until they can walk over it and do that for a while to regain trust and confidence.

                                        This isn't feasible with any and all fences, and I probably have a tendency to take it "too slow" with my greenies, but I have never developed a stopper so there's that. I try really really hard to never present a horse with something they don't believe they can do. Overfacing a horse never pays off.

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