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First time cross country - do you show them the jumps? Update - we did it!

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  • First time cross country - do you show them the jumps? Update - we did it!

    I might be taking the new boy x -country next week and am wondering how everybody goes about it.
    I won't have an agenda and am totally okay if it just ends up being a trail ride around the course. Other than that, do you usually show them the jumps (ie. walking besides them, not stopping in front of them) and then circle around and jump?
    he has done very well over logs and ditches on our last 2 trail rides, but besides that has zero jumping experience (save one lesson where we did gymnastics.)
    I just want him to have a good time and build his confidence.
    Thanks!
    Last edited by BEARCAT; Mar. 15, 2012, 10:21 PM.
    "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."

  • #2
    Absolutely! I want my horse to be completely comfortable with the object that I ultimately want to jump. If they want to go up to a new fence, on a long rein, and sniff it and lick it and be relaxed, I'm much more likely to have a confident horse when I pick up the reins, put them to work, and ask them to jump over the new strange stuff. My only exception is with ditches - I don't want them to go up to a ditch and throw their head down to stare into it. I will make sure I can walk alongside a ditch without any drama before asking a horse to jump it. Have fun!

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    • #3
      I think it's kind of a personal preference--I know great riders on both sides of it.

      Personally I am not a fan of showing them the jumps. I don't think it reinforces forward. I try to build a rhythm, and then add in little jumps.

      But I've worked with great people who like to show them the jumps, so whatever you are comfortable with.

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      • #4
        I may let them take some peeks at the scarier things as we warm up (even things we may not jump), and may let them take a good look at the first few things, especially if they are real wiggle worms. I will even WALK over little things (which I will probably have done at home over poles and little boxes before hand). But I won't let them go up and inspect EVERYTHING. I want them to learn that if I'm asking them go go over something, they go without question.
        Amanda

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        • #5
          Only thing I "show" is a ditch (walking along side).

          Otherwise, my "plan" is to start small, have a nice leader especially for the water, keep to fences that are well with in their comfort zone, and proceed in a progressive manner with TONs of reward after each jump.
          ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

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          • #6
            I'm fortunate to have access to 12", 18" and 2' jumps where I school. We start by moseying around and stepping over the smallest ones- forward and in front of my leg, just non-problematic, because they're tiny. Then we'll trot over the ones they've seen already, and as they're starting to understand, we go to the bigger set so they can "jump" from a trot, stop, whatever if they booger- so they can understand the forward, you must go etc. and then move on to the bigger ones when they're comprehending and so on. It's kind of a gradual build- the first on they can stop and sniff, paw, whatever. The next one they have to march up to, but they can drop their head and look at it if they need to, next one I expect them to step over etc etc.
            Big Idea Eventing

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            • #7
              Pretty much what YB said.

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              • #8
                Maybe I'm overly conservative but I wouldn't take a horse with "zero jumping experience" over any cross country jumps at all, except perhaps some 12" logs. For my own personal safety I'd want them to be a little more confirmed over stadium jumps before jumping anything bigger.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by bornfreenowexpensive View Post
                  my "plan" is to start small, have a nice leader especially for the water, keep to fences that are well with in their comfort zone, and proceed in a progressive manner with TONs of reward after each jump.
                  All of the above, plus I always start over small logs that they could step over from a stand-still if necessary. Until I am confident that they have some idea of what they are expected to do, and are confidently going forward, I keep the jumps small enough to kick them over until they realize, that is the only option no matter what!
                  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


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by CiegoStar View Post
                    Maybe I'm overly conservative but I wouldn't take a horse with "zero jumping experience" over any cross country jumps at all, except perhaps some 12" logs. For my own personal safety I'd want them to be a little more confirmed over stadium jumps before jumping anything bigger.
                    My experience has been the opposite; I have found young horses to understand XC jumps much better and faster than stadium jumps & even poles on the ground.

                    As long as they start over simple logs (yes, 12" is great) and go from there, I find they are quite confident. It also helps encourage forward when you can canter away quietly (especially if they are a bit worried) without having arena fences forcing you to turn or slow down.
                    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


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by CiegoStar View Post
                      Maybe I'm overly conservative but I wouldn't take a horse with "zero jumping experience" over any cross country jumps at all, except perhaps some 12" logs. For my own personal safety I'd want them to be a little more confirmed over stadium jumps before jumping anything bigger.
                      Also in the opposite camp. My coach tries to start everyone (weather permitting) jumping over cross-country logs. My understanding of the theory is that they are less likely to roll/get caught underneath than a small cross-rail/stadium type jump. The logs are rarely over 8" tall to start but have enough space on the approach to permit a nice forward and consistent rhythm. They are also quite wide so the human portion of the equation is less likely to miss. If the horse needs to walk on the log to get to the other side so be it - no danger of them getting stuck/breaking the log or other silliness that may occur.

                      When the young horse is ready to be started and if the weather permits (we're in Canada) we head outside to teach them to jump.

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                      • #12
                        Leslie Law had an interesting viewpoint at clinic. Rather than "showing" horses things that might be scary, he had us walk parallel and leg yield toward them. When they were comfortable enough that they weren't looking at it or sidling away, he had us present and jump (after trotting away to a normal distance for oresentation).
                        OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!

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                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Update - We did it!

                          Took him to Spring Gulch today and we had the whole place to ourselves!
                          He was fantastic!!
                          We set out on our "trail ride" and if a jump got in the way, we jumped it We trotted most of them and he didn't bat an eyelash at any of the jumps - we stuck to the Elementary jumps as there are quite a few of them on that course. His favourite was the ditches, we did the baby one and the BN. He was also good with banks. By the end, we were cantering several jumps in a row and he felt fairly balanced.
                          The only thing that caused him to get a bit worried was the judges' stand LOL He wasn't quite sure what to make of that, so I dismounted and walked over to it and he followed me gingerly and decided it was okay.

                          No action shots as no one else was around, but he was very good at the trailer, eating and drinking:

                          "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."

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