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Successfully preparing a horse to move up Novice to Training?

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  • Successfully preparing a horse to move up Novice to Training?

    My horse & I completed 2 Trainings in 2011, & dropped back to Novice as he was getting to the base of max oxers in stadium & quitting. Dressage is a work-in-progress, & he is confident with the cross country questions & able to make time. In schooling, he is still sticky to the max oxers, & will stop if I don't ride him aggressively. After a stop, he will always hop right over the 2nd attempt. For various reasons, did not compete for 18 months. Have had 3 successful outings at Novice in 2013, hope to move up in fall. I work with a dressage & jumping coach, & am using the conditioning schedule in O'Connors "Practical Eventing" to insure strength & fitness. My aim is to be over prepared with a super confident horse. Any suggestions on how you did it? Also, anyone else have a horse that has no problems with big, wide questions on cross country but is losing confidence with oxers in stadium?

  • #2
    I hate to say this, but the issues you discuss indicate a rider issue in my thoughts. The fact you have issues with one type and not the other is the indicator. Oxers and big tables require a forward ride with minimal "rein/micromangement." You have to be confident enough to keep your leg engaged while the hand stays low and quiet (on XC). In the arena you can use more hand but the leg has got to still be there. The ride itself does not change all that much between the two. The rider balance does.

    You may be trying to over ride the horse in the stadium. Too much hand will always kill you in a stadium round. You have to have a soft wrist, elbow and arm. The horse has to still be able to come forward. Of course, they have to be able to adjust back if there is a short step afterwards (e.g. 23' one stride) but that is accomplished via the body and not totally the hand.

    Schooling lots of low, WIDE overs help getting used to jumping across a fence. Use placement rails to help. Conditioning is not an issue at training. I still have yet to do any conditioning (other than fun hacks) with my greenie at training. Focus on FUNDAMENTALS. Get solid at home and go play on XC courses. Don't show until your responses are instinct and then start on a course you have schooled so you know exactly how each fence rides. Set your horse and yourself up for success.


    Originally posted by Romahorse View Post
    My horse & I completed 2 Trainings in 2011, & dropped back to Novice as he was getting to the base of max oxers in stadium & quitting. Dressage is a work-in-progress, & he is confident with the cross country questions & able to make time. In schooling, he is still sticky to the max oxers, & will stop if I don't ride him aggressively. After a stop, he will always hop right over the 2nd attempt. For various reasons, did not compete for 18 months. Have had 3 successful outings at Novice in 2013, hope to move up in fall. I work with a dressage & jumping coach, & am using the conditioning schedule in O'Connors "Practical Eventing" to insure strength & fitness. My aim is to be over prepared with a super confident horse. Any suggestions on how you did it? Also, anyone else have a horse that has no problems with big, wide questions on cross country but is losing confidence with oxers in stadium?

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Thank you!

      Comment


      • #4
        Agree with Reed about conditioning at training. Really not a big issue, I go out on trails once a week or sometimes more of im having a bad week, and do a small bit of trotting and no canter really and my guy is over fit with that and regular rides. He is a full tb, so may differ for you, but conditioning is not a huge issue at training.

        At home does he stop at the max oxers? Is it only at events? What does your coach say? What methods have you been using to fix this behavior?
        I am on my phone 90% of the time. Please ignore typos, misplaced lower case letters, and the random word butchered by autocowreck.

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        • #5
          Agree with what was said, but also make sure you are schooling at least one level above what you are showing. If you want to compete at Training, you should be schooling Prelim level at home, 3'6 courses at least.

          I would also rule out a soundness issue, a lot of the time when horses quit at oxers there is an underlying hock or foot issue.
          Fillys By Vibank - 2017 Road to RRP
          https://www.youtube.com/user/jealoushe

          Comment


          • #6
            If show jumping is your only issue, could you go to some h/j schooling shows and do some 3'3" (1m) jumper classes? Even hunter classes might help. Just to get some extra practice in the ring, in a competition environment.

            Sometimes it comes down to trust. As Reed said, overriding can make things worse...making your horse nervous and tight. What are your horse's capabilities? Are you nearing the end of his scope range? Some horses can open up their stride and use power to jump xc safely, but find it much harder to jump the same height from a more controlled pace, especially if they get to the base. Make sure you aren't overfacing your horse and asking him to do something he can't do...right now he *thinks* he can't do it, if he really can, then you have to find a way to build that confidence.
            “A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.”
            ? Albert Einstein

            ~AJ~

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Jealoushe View Post
              Agree with what was said, but also make sure you are schooling at least one level above what you are showing. If you want to compete at Training, you should be schooling Prelim level at home, 3'6 courses at least.
              I don't 100% agree with this principle. There are MANY horse and rider combos that are perfectly comfortable, happy, and competent at a certain level (especially training, I think) who are not schooling the level above questions or sizes. I don't think ANY of my horses were schooling 3'6" courses at home as they prepared to move up. Jumping that height? Or stringing a few together? Yeah, sure. But they didn't need to jump that big to be ready to compete at training. It CAN help with confidence in the RIDER (especially if riding into the ring at show can make them a little at their level) but I think it can also scare a tentative rider to push them to jump bigger and harder questions than they really need to be proficient at a level.

              I do tend to agree with Reed on the oxer issue. My first training horse would do similar things to me, especially in show jumping (he was actually a beast on xc and taught me A LOT about riding xc). It definitely was a rider issue (made worse by a horse near the top of his scope and athletic ability). If I rode right, we got the job done.

              Depending on your horse's type (TB vs WB or draft cross....or a pony), your conditioning needs are going to be different. My TBs haven't ever need anything "extra" to go training. But I've ridden some WBs and have been involved with some draft crosses that needed more. One draft cross guy needed to condition like he was going to Rolex and I had to keep him pretty thin. If your horse is lacking in scope or athletic ability (no shame in that. Lots of game but not necessarily super athletes running around at training), then upping the fitness and definitely the strength can help.

              If your show jumping issues are more of a show issue (hard to decipher from your OP), I'd get out to as many CTs, jumper shows, and whatever as you can- preferably with a good coach to watch and help and evaluate each round and send you back in with things to try for the next round. Sometimes you just have to recreate the show environment to get to the bottom of an issue. I've done it for show jumping (a lot...I'm not a great show jumper) and for the dressage. Sometimes homework at home only gets so far. Sometimes you gotta test the waters, and schooling show opportunities are a good place to do it.
              Amanda

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Exactly this, yellow britches. " If your horse is lacking in scope or athletic ability (no shame in that. Lots of game but not necessarily super athletes running around at training), then upping the fitness and definitely the strength can help." He is a little guy, pure QH, so I'm hoping the extra conditioning will help with scope. Jealoushe: Had hocks injected, round of Adequan in April.
                Eventer AJ:" Some horses can open up their stride and use power to jump xc safely, but find it much harder to jump the same height from a more controlled pace, especially if they get to the base." This sums up what is happening- I'm hoping, again, that it is just a strength issue, which can be improved upon.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have had this issue in the past on green horses that find the wider oxers intimidating or come underpowered to the base and stop.

                  A good exercise for schooling is to set up 9' placing rails before/after to help you find the correct middle distance to the oxer, and just repeat until you are both more comfortable. You can also make the fences a little bigger with this method since it's taking some of the guesswork out of the approach.

                  Also, the extra conditioning works wonders for improving the canter, which will help get you off the ground more easily when you find yourself at the base. Don't just canter around without purpose, pick the horse up and make adjustments every now and then to engage the hindquarters.

                  Another thing my SJ trainer has ingrained in me is to give an extra kick when you find yourself at the base, instead of thinking "oh crap, we're at the base with not enough canter, time to give up". This will become instinct and help your horse understand that he can jump from there and doesn't need to stop. Good luck!
                  No Trouble
                  2/2/05 - 7/29/13
                  Rest In Peace my quirky brave boy, I will love you forever.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Also, all in with schooling shows!!
                    FLeventer: Coaches(both dress/jump) feel he lacks power in canter- typical QH does not want to use his God-given huge butt, pulls along with shoulders. Am addressing this in both camps.
                    It's happening at home as well as shows. Little back story: In 2011, hadn't gone TR in 5 years. I def approached the stadium situation like that 3" difference was 3'- major override. Soon after I had a disastrous lesson where we crashed thru an oxer. Is the problem him or me? Don't know...
                    Maybe my real question should be: How do you know if a horse is topped out? I love everything about Tr level- the speed, the questions, the dressage tests- but maybe my horse doesn't. My coaches both think it is in our comfort level, just need more practice.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      If it is a strength issue, temporarily forget the idea of jumping lots of oxers in courses. Instead, go back to gymnastics. Design gymnastic lines with oxers in them: low and wide oxers, built up in width/height slowly. Make the distances comfortable for your horse, so he isn't tempted to use speed, but that he has the opportunity to get to the base comfortably. You can always build the distances back as he gains confidence.

                      I started out eventing on a fantastic 15.1 foundation-bred QH who was a good jumper and took me up to training level. My first one-star horse was also QH. I love the breed, but there are some individuals who might be limited to novice; they can jump 3'3" on a perfect ride and try very hard, but can't fix a mistake at that level. How does he go with your trainer or another experienced rider? If he still has issues, perhaps it's not just you, maybe it's his own limitations. It doesn't mean he's a bad horse, but as responsible riders we have to respect our horses and do our best to keep them safe and happy, and sometimes that means staying at a lower level within their limits.

                      If you can, get a few lessons on an established training level horse and rebuild your own confidence. That will help transfer over to your own horse. You may also notice how EASY it feels to jump 3'3" with an experienced horse...and you might realize how hard your own horse has been working. I know I've been there-- many of us have-- you jump a higher-level horse and realize what it's Supposed To Feel Like, then feel a bit guilty knowing how hard your own horse has tried for you despite reaching his limits.

                      Perhaps that's not the case-- hopefully you and your horse just have a mental fear to overcome with confidence and more experience.
                      “A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.”
                      ? Albert Einstein

                      ~AJ~

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Romahorse View Post
                        In schooling, he is still sticky to the max oxers, & will stop if I don't ride him aggressively. After a stop, he will always hop right over the 2nd attempt.
                        Talk to your coaches about how you are approaching these fences. You want a big, deep step with forward momentum. You don't want to chase him at them flat, especially if he tends to get heavy in front easily. Developing your horses canter to be bigger will help with these jumps, and allow you to move up. At a certain point you can't chase them over, because at a certain height you run out of god-given talent that can leap the jumps and you have to help him package himself.
                        Good luck.
                        As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Romahorse View Post
                          Eventer AJ:" Some horses can open up their stride and use power to jump xc safely, but find it much harder to jump the same height from a more controlled pace, especially if they get to the base." This sums up what is happening- I'm hoping, again, that it is just a strength issue, which can be improved upon.
                          I take the 'lazy' approach to stadium. Works for me, might be worth a try for you. The basic principle is as follows:
                          1. Human steers to jump;
                          2. Human puts horse on a straight path to jump about 3 strides out;
                          3. Human stays out of the way. Seriously.

                          Way harder than it sounds. You do not get to adjust things three strides out - at that point you job is done. You can keep leg on to keep going... But no micromanaging, no nitpicking, no being a PITA. Your horse can figure it out. Sure it might be ugly the first time or three, but they need to figure out to do it and in order to do that you *must* stay out of the way.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post
                            I don't 100% agree with this principle. There are MANY horse and rider combos that are perfectly comfortable, happy, and competent at a certain level (especially training, I think) who are not schooling the level above questions or sizes. I don't think ANY of my horses were schooling 3'6" courses at home as they prepared to move up. Jumping that height? Or stringing a few together? Yeah, sure. But they didn't need to jump that big to be ready to compete at training. It CAN help with confidence in the RIDER (especially if riding into the ring at show can make them a little at their level) but I think it can also scare a tentative rider to push them to jump bigger and harder questions than they really need to be proficient at a level.

                            I was always trained this way. It is to make the competition easy for you, not tough. If the OP is struggling making it around a 3'3 course, then they should be showing at the level below. They will be ready to compete at Training when they comfortably schooling a level above. Train for success, not maybes.
                            Fillys By Vibank - 2017 Road to RRP
                            https://www.youtube.com/user/jealoushe

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              No one is saying this horse and rider are ready right now for training, because obviously they aren't. But I don't think that if they solve this issue that they have to wait until they can comfortably jump around 3'6" before they can go training. The OP says the horse might be reaching the top of his scope at training, so why risk frightening horse and/or rider by pushing for "schooling a level above" before they can go training? If they can competently answer the questions at training and are happy doing it, why isn't that enough to go training?

                              A good example is a kid's horse I used to have in my barn. He was a saintly beast with a heart of gold, but not the most athletic or soundest creature ever. He was very comfortable at novice. He COULD jump a few fences up to 3'3" and even jumped 3'6" on occasion out of gymnastics, but he was just not capable of consistently jumping training level courses. But he and his kid clocked around novice without issue. With the logic of "school the level above", they should've stuck to BN. Which seems unreasonable to me.
                              Amanda

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Thanks everyone for good advice. I think schooling a level above (for me) is the ticket. Have feelers out for a lease on a confirmed TR/Prelim horse. Not easy to find. If anyone has any leads, I own my own farm about 45 miles NW of Charleston, SC. Please PM.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I think there are exceptions to the rule - and ponies and kids are more likely to be the exceptions. Obviously not all ponies showing N can jump around a Training course safely. However I do think in the OPs case it might help.
                                  Fillys By Vibank - 2017 Road to RRP
                                  https://www.youtube.com/user/jealoushe

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Jealoushe View Post
                                    I think there are exceptions to the rule - and ponies and kids are more likely to be the exceptions. Obviously not all ponies showing N can jump around a Training course safely. However I do think in the OPs case it might help.
                                    I agree. I think this may be the ticket for the OP.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I would also rule out a soundness issue, a lot of the time when horses quit at oxers there is an underlying hock or foot issue.
                                      This turned out to be the case with my mare--she was a little sore in her hocks and that manifested by an increase in "I can't" answers to wide-jump questions.

                                      I, personally, want a horse that is going to find a way to jump the jumps even if I don't give it a perfect ride. A horse that isn't bold and looking to jump EVERY jump is a horse I don't particularly enjoy taking to the jumps. Bonnie gets like this at Training questions, so she's a Novice horse.
                                      Click here before you buy.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I may have been looking at the wrong poster, but I got the impression your horse was a QH. Eventing for certain QH's can definitely be difficult. There is a woman who rides with me who has a TB QH mare. That horse shows like zero signs of being a TB. She loves to revert to the typical QH short stride and lack of motivation when it comes to jumping. My trainer took the mare Training at the end of last year, and she will be the first one to say that she had to work really hard to get that horse over the fences. Though it may be hard to hear, maybe your horse can't go much farther than Novice. Like deltawave said, a horse that isn't looking to jump every jump is a horse that isn't really fun to take to fences. If you want to try and use this horse for Training, I'd work a lot on letting the horse go in the hand and being very firm with the leg. The hands usually tell the horse commands like "Shut up and listen to me," and the leg usually tells the horse commands like, "I don't care what you think. We're going over this jump." Work a lot on impulsion with this horse. A lot.

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