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When are you ready to school xcountry for the first time?

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  • When are you ready to school xcountry for the first time?

    In regards to green as grass, max fence height if 2' and very inviting like logs and such. Thanks
    Originally posted by Sithly
    do NOT give your 5 year old child a big bag of apples and send her out alone into a herd of 20-some horses to get mobbed. There are better ways to dispose of unwanted children.

  • #2
    I often will go out and school xc after introducing a horse to just a plain x-rail in the ring. I don't think it's ever really too early go to have a little xc schooling. It should be nothing more than a little trail ride where you pop around some small jumps, walk through the water, step off a bank, step up a bank and possibly do a little ditch. My first xc schools are kept very short and simple so that I don't overwhelm the horses with too much.

    I do prefer to keep the jumps small enough that I can just pop right over them from the walk if I can. I want them to know that going forward is always the correct answer and that they have to go over. I prefer just to trot to let them figure out their footwork and really think about what they are doing.

    I always try to go with somebody who can give me a lead and I take a lunge line as well. I don't want to get stuck somewhere and teach them that NO is an answer Getting off and lunging is something that I do when needed.
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    • #3
      I agree, I don't think it's ever too early as long as you can steer and stop and have a forward button. Keep things small and simple and the horses generally really enjoy it. Do make sure you have a good partner to help school you through things if you do have an issue.
      Life doesn't have perfect footing.

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      • #4
        Who is the green one, horse or rider? I think a hunter pace is a nice way to start-it is how I started my 7 year old daughter on her 27 year old hony...very pleasant for all concerned.
        Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.

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        • #5
          I agree that you can go pretty early. If you or your horse is green then set your expectations low - even if you just hack around the course, jump 1 or 2 fences, walk through the water, etc. that might be enough for a good start. Try to go somewhere that's not insanely crowded and with a partner who can be patient and will give you a good lead if need be.
          "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals" Immanuel Kant

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          • #6
            What's your riding out history? We start the young horses by trotting a few x poles set out in a field. They're set small, the point is for the horse to learn to go forward and quietly, no rushing before or after the xpole. If they start anticipating and don't keep a slow steady rhythm then it's back to work on the manners. Once they relax then they learn to string them together. Doing it outside of the ring in a field is the first step.

            And hacking out over terrain will make xc schooling easier. You're ready when the horse has manners and stays quiet, isn't reactive and fearful being ridden out. Like said start small b/c everything xcountry is about building confidence.
            Don't let anyone tell you that your ideas or dreams are foolish. There is a millionaire walking around who invented the pool noodle.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by wildlifer View Post
              I agree, I don't think it's ever too early as long as you can steer and stop and have a forward button. Keep things small and simple and the horses generally really enjoy it. Do make sure you have a good partner to help school you through things if you do have an issue.
              Agreed.

              I prefer to start them jumping over logs - they seem to find it much more intuitive than coloured flimsy rails & cross-rails!
              Blugal

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

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              • #8
                If you are talking about the horse, it is never too early.

                I teach them to pony first. They are ponied through streams, over nsatural ditches and over logs on the trail.

                Then I take them to Frying Pan Park and pony or lead them over the tiny stuff, and also over ditches, water and banks (both up and down).

                All before they are ever backed.
                Janet

                chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

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                • #9
                  I started my mare jumping over logs on trail rides, first time I had access to a proper xcountry course was at a clinic and she was excellent.
                  for more Joy then you can handle
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                  • #10
                    I also think that it is never too early! Even just going along with a group who is schooling and hacking would be good for a green horse. Also I think starting jumping over small logs is good (especially for those "efficient" horses). The first thing we took my horse over were very small logs, and I think it really helps them understand they can't just run through it!

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                    • #11
                      I don't want my baby to know jumps fall down!

                      Originally posted by Janet View Post
                      If you are talking about the horse, it is never too early.

                      I teach them to pony first. They are ponied through streams, over nsatural ditches and over logs on the trail.

                      Then I take them to Frying Pan Park and pony or lead them over the tiny stuff, and also over ditches, water and banks (both up and down).

                      All before they are ever backed.
                      Absolutely agree! Ponying is a dying exercise. I took my 2yo to a very casual hunter pace last year to pony with my big guy (with the huntmaster's permission), and you would have thought aliens had landed in the parking area. Most people thought I was crazy to lead a horse while mounted, but others complained that it was dangerous for both the youngster and other riders. (The filly in question had already been ponied around two farms and three state parks for HOURS--it wasn't our first rodeo, so to speak).

                      By this summer, she was going up/down all the banks, over the ditches, and even down into water on the lead (not to mention actual W/T/C work).

                      When I asked her to try trotting something small with me on her in September, it was no big deal--she already understood both expectations (1. me on her back and 2. the jump). In four total jumping schools, she's not even seen a cross rail yet--just cross country fences.

                      To the OP: Good luck and have fun!

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                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        What about the rider? when is the rider ready to school xcountry? My mare and I both have never done it before but we used to canter/hand gallop around all over at my previous barn that had lots of land. Up and down little hills, along the woods (too deep to go in), up and down a ditch. She doesn't like water but I've made her go through the huge puddles that were several inches deep at a walk. Of course I'm going to ask my trainer but I'm just curious what others think.
                        Originally posted by Sithly
                        do NOT give your 5 year old child a big bag of apples and send her out alone into a herd of 20-some horses to get mobbed. There are better ways to dispose of unwanted children.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Oh and no hunter paces around At least not that I could find via google. If anyone is in Houston - let me know! I'd have to trailer out to get "hacking out" space, all my barn has is arenas.
                          Originally posted by Sithly
                          do NOT give your 5 year old child a big bag of apples and send her out alone into a herd of 20-some horses to get mobbed. There are better ways to dispose of unwanted children.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I like for them to be hacking out from day one, crossing little swales, stepping over stuff, trotting up and down little hills. One thing I do NOT do is walk babies/greenies (or any horse, for that matter) through long-standing puddles, since I don't want them getting rattled by what's at the bottom of a nasty, deep, mudhole of a puddle and thinking that water is scary. IMO I want them to think that water ALWAYS has good footing and is NEVER scary to step/jump into.

                            I like babies/greenies to just GO PLACES, so if the opportunity arose to take one on a "XC schooling day" I would, even if it were just to walk around, see the woods and the other horses, stand tied to the trailer, trot around, canter up and down a hill, follow the big boys and girls through the water, and just hang out. If Junior was being really really good I'd have no problem popping over a couple of little logs.

                            Never to early to instill in them that XC is normal, fun, stress-free and a good way to spend the day!
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by mackandblues View Post
                              What about the rider? when is the rider ready to school xcountry? My mare and I both have never done it before but we used to canter/hand gallop around all over at my previous barn that had lots of land. Up and down little hills, along the woods (too deep to go in), up and down a ditch. She doesn't like water but I've made her go through the huge puddles that were several inches deep at a walk. Of course I'm going to ask my trainer but I'm just curious what others think.
                              Whenever the rider feels comfortable, but as early as possible. You know, before you develop crazy phobias....

                              It is the same concept - go out and enjoy the scenery, hop over a few logs and go from there. Some people stick to logs on their first day and some get brave and do some bigger jumps as well.

                              For a green rider, I would say going out with a reputable trainer is essential to help push the envelope, and not push it to far. Help get the horse over that first log that they may look funny at, as well as through the water and up and down the bank. Help the rider understand how to ride a down bank, up bank, downhill jump, uphill jump, etc.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                In regards to when to take a horse for the first time-we've taken lots of horses out that have barely done any jumping just for them to get out and see other horses doing it and get exposure. Many times they end up following the other horses over little stuff and get a ton of confidence and really learn where their feet are! It ends up making it no big deal for them because it's very low pressure-if they seem like they are having fun and catching on then you can ask them to do some little jumps, if not they are just along for the ride and exposure!

                                As far as the rider-as long as they are on a fairly level headed mount, if they have ridden out in the open on trails a little bit and have good balance jumping (don't hit horse in mouth often, etc.) they should definitely go give it a try! Just remember to keep it positive for both horse and rider!

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