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Spooky jump ideas for the Ho-Hum-Horse

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  • Spooky jump ideas for the Ho-Hum-Horse

    I'm slowly incorporating a few jumps here and there into my big horse's routine, and... well....

    He's not impressed.

    Not even when I took the crinkly WHITE tarp and laid it over the barrels (a la roll top). Not even when I switched it to the black side. Lazy, lazy, lazy. Not even a PEEK. Not even an ounce more effort to safely clear the 'terrifying' tarp - he had the audacity to DRAG HIS FEET over it! In fact, when I took it off and set it to the side, he stood on top of it, crinkly noises and all, as if to declare VICTORY.

    Cheap, creative ideas to spice up his life are appreciated. I'm not trying to scare him, but it won't do me any good to 'expose' him to things he's not even going to LOOK at! Barrels are yesterday's news, tarps make him roll his eyes, even my Disney Princesses plastic tablecloth (aka Liverpool) and Hula Grass with flowers only elicited a scoff. Now, if I could shove a cow underneath it....

    Maybe a Corriente. Anyone have a spare?

    What a terrible dilemma to have.

  • #2
    Sorry, what was the dilemma? If he's not spooky, he's not spooky. I wouldn't worry about trying to expose him to things he'll never have to jump anyway. Take him xc schooling instead.


    • #3
      Juice is very Ho-Hum, not much gets to him. In fact I just moved him to a new barn and we jumped the liverpool today. I was soooo ready for him to put on the breaks but he just loped over it.

      Thinking back to my spooky boy I know that contrasting colors would catch him. Make a fence with yellow and black V's or a chevron. At a jumper show once there was a jump with pin-wheels turning and that got a lot of people.

      I think more importantly you could start challenging him with multiple fences, or gymnastics. Juice will jump anything from a nice long gallop approach but we're a mess if you put 2 fences close together. !
      http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn


      • Original Poster

        I live in the land of perpetual rain, and with perpetual rain comes perpetual MUD! I believe there is one course still open, about 3 hours north in Rainier - and I am without a buddy to school with, anyway. Not that I wouldn't love to get him out, he's a blast to gallop.

        The 'dilemma' is that he's *usually* suspicious of strange-looking things. Clearly not tarps, hula grass, or Disney characters, but we have a few events in our area that are known for their creativity and enthusiasm when it comes to decorating stadium fences. I'd like to expose him to as many ridiculous-looking things as possible (giant horse statue made of horseshoes, anyone?) given that - who wants to be eliminated in stadium because your horse is afraid of the Fire Breathing Dragon fence?

        It's not really a dilemma. I just want to get him over as many things as possible that he might encounter - whether he looks at it, or not. Preferably not.


        • #5
          I have one that's very ho-hum about spooky jumps, although not so much to chairs, strange patches of dirt, butterflies, etc. He had only one stop on his record when he was 4 and I missed a fence and had to cross my tracks to get back to it at his first training. Not afraid of ANYTHING and quite cavalier about dragging a bit over some xc fences. Until last year.... At the Surefire horse trials, doing one last positive preliminary before moving up, we had our first stop on course in 4 years!! At the Kool Aid Blue water. He screeched to a halt, arched his neck and stuck his part-arab tail straight in the air and gave the loudest, most flamboyant SNORT at that water. Then when he did jump in, it was one of those absurd all four legs leave the ground at the same time and stay in the air as long as possible not to touch it jumps.

          I'm not sure about stadium jumps, as those really don't impress mine either, but if you have a chance to school some blue water before you get to an event and find it, it might be worth it!

          "A canter is a cure for every evil." - Benjamin Disraeli


          • #6
            Erm, I have one of those. Last week we jumped the barn cat that was hanging out on the middle of a vertical, without so much as a blink. I, on the other hand, was laughing so hard I almost fell off over the next fence.


            • #7
              Originally posted by baxtersmom View Post
              Erm, I have one of those. Last week we jumped the barn cat that was hanging out on the middle of a vertical, without so much as a blink. I, on the other hand, was laughing so hard I almost fell off over the next fence.
              Ok, I've got this one. Wait for a really windy day. Bring in a 3* rider for a lesson so there's a credible witness. Have her jack up the jump to 3'6-3'9ish with barrels underneath (on their sides, not standing up). No ground poles. Time approach to the jump carefully so that four strides out the barrels start rolling toward you. This will test the bravery and scope of even the bravest animal. Try not to get left behind. Praise horse, stuff with carrots, be more careful about using ground lines in future
              The big guy: Lincoln

              Southern Maryland Equestrian


              • #8
                Count yer blessings.

                I haven't found anything yet that will make Boscoe "peek" at a jump. Now the ACT of jumping gets him fired up and he is all lit up just when I put on his running martingale and jumping gear, but the fences themselves are sort of beside the point.

                The tacky white glitter Xmas trees decorating the oxer at last weekend's indoor jumper show made him pick up his feet a little higher, but that's as close as I've gotten to having him "spook" or even really look. But fake Christmas trees are great for festooning jumps.

                NOT a bad problem to have. Really, who would WANT a horse to begin spooking at jumps? I'm not a believer in making over-the-top crazy spooky jumps on purpose unless the horse is going to be an open jumper or something and have to jump Shamu.
                Click here before you buy.


                • #9
                  An acquaintance uses those inflatable floaty tubes for kids to use in the pool shaped like critters to 'dress up' jumps.

                  Sparkly garland? There's lots of it available with the holidays. Motion activated dancing santas could be fun or disastrous. Or those giant helium balloons that play music?
                  Owned by a Paint/TB and an OTTB.
                  RIP Scoutin' For Trouble ~ 2011 at 10
                  RIP Tasha's Last Tango ~ 2010 at ~23
                  RIP In Sha' Allah ~ 2009 too young at 5


                  • #10
                    We used blow up crayons/toys at one time, like big 4ft. ones on the side and underneath. Christmas trees after the seasons over go for very cheap- and they make pretty fillers. Parachutes have lots of different colors- like the rainbow ones kids use to play with- you can get them from toys r us for cheap. Really toys R us after Christmas is like a mecca for jump fillers


                    • #11
                      Is this horse the big one in your signature? If so, he looks and sounds like mine

                      I just moved to the PNW, so I'll be anxious to see how my guys does with these jumps! I love the fire breathing dragon That said, I haven't come across anything yet that really catches his eye.


                      • Original Poster

                        Yes, that's him.

                        It seems that lately, they've toned down the jumps a bit at that particular venue - probably has something to do with the fact that they've been running two stadium rings, so needing twice as many fences. While most of it is still brightly colored, I've seen less over-the-top stuff.

                        I do have some blow up pool toys stashed away, for this very purpose. I doubt they will elicit much excitement, but its worth a try. I don't WANT him to spook at the jumps, per se.... but I know there will be some things that 'get' him that we'll need to work on. Like my big white truck parked outside the barn in the dark the other day - that was snort-spin terrifying.


                        • #13
                          Another one for the "what, exactly, is this problem?" It sounds like he doesn't care what he jumps - count your blessings!!


                          • Original Poster

                            Originally posted by Hilary View Post
                            Another one for the "what, exactly, is this problem?" It sounds like he doesn't care what he jumps - count your blessings!!
                            We hope this carries over to XC. He seems to like water quite a bit, although we all know the difference between 'natural' water and a XC water complex is vast. Frankly, he seems more comfortable outdoors than in the arena anyway. I wish we still had access to the fields!


                            • #15
                              Tis the season

                              This trainer, by the way, has a motto of:

                              "There's no such thing as spooky horses, just lazy trainers."

                              By the time I get done taking lessons with him, my horses jump anything in stadium. Actually, with 5 different horses over many years, I've never had a horse stop once in stadium in competition. (you know I just jinxed myself, big time)

                              One of those horses was such an inherent chicken, when he was first introduced to jumping, he would jump plain white verticals just fine. Anything else: he would slam on the brakes, tremble all over, break out in a sweat and he was so genuinely scared, I could feel his heart pounding with my legs. He came around, with a lot of patience & repetition and gradual exposure to stuff like this.

                              Nice that you don't have that particular problem though...that one is not a fun one!


                              • Original Poster

                                Now that's impressive!


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Lisa Cook View Post
                                  Tis the season

                                  This trainer, by the way, has a motto of:

                                  "There's no such thing as spooky horses, just lazy trainers."
                                  Really??? My mare will spook at a box of horse treats. If she lived to be 104 there would not be enough time to train the entire spook out of her!

                                  However, that is an impressive fence!!


                                  • #18
                                    Open umbrellas scare my non-spooky horse!
                                    Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!


                                    • #19
                                      Fake animals

                                      Especially a life-size horse statue made of horseshoes. If that doesn't spook him, he should probably be considered for the Olympics.


                                      • #20
                                        He seems to like water quite a bit, although we all know the difference between 'natural' water and a XC water complex is vast.
                                        Not necessarily. Toby thinks water in all forms is AWESOME (creek, river, puddles, water complexes, water troughs, water bottles...you get the picture). He freaked the eff out the first time I walked him through the water complex on our schooling field, but in a good way ("WOOHOO!!!! WATER!!!! Splish splash!!! Yay!!!!"). The other day I hacked him down to the another part of the river (the first time we went, we were across from the farm with the SHEEP. He was like "Yes. Water. Good...but there's SHHHEEEEEPPPPP over there!!!! We need to RUN!!!! AHHHHHH!!!!!!"). In this new, sheep free zone of the river, I thought I was going to drown while sitting on top of him, he was making such a fuss and splashing and playing so hard. Water, to Toby, in any form, is a glorious, wonderful thing that should be celebrated with great intensity. It's a wonder he doesn't stop IN the water at events to relish it's bountiful goodness. Anyway, not all horses have a hard time comprehending that water is water.

                                        As for spooky stuff...those little shiny pinwheels can create some interesting responses. The leaf bags that look like jack o' lanterns are also good. How about a few rolls of streamers?

                                        I would count your blessings. Vernon from day one was pretty content to jump ANYTHING (his very first show jumping round is living proof of that). He would sometimes go "Look at all those rails!" jumping into a triple, but it wasn't a spook, just an appreciation for the effort ahead.