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How to teach forward over fences?

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  • How to teach forward over fences?

    To start off I've ridden many an OTTB and they all seem quite happy to go forward for everything so this has never been an issue for me. But my current horse has been really good lately. He's an appendix that has been a poke along trail horse his entire life (all 5 years of it). I've finally got him moving forward on the flat and over trot poles.. but jumping he kind of just... doesn't. He doesn't stop, doesn't feel like he's looking, he just slloowws down and kind of heaves over it (think small xrails/verticals). He'll be forward coming in and then the two options a few strides out are... slow down a little bit and treat the cross rail like a tall trot pole or slow down quite a bit and plop over it. He's on a loose rein while I'm doing this and I've tried sitting back and really squeezing to no avail. I've lunged him over stuff, probably 2'3"-2'6" maybe, and he keeps going and doesn't have this lagging and is actually quite nice. So should I just give him and tap/whack with the crop or does anyone have any other tips? I hate to use the whip because I don't want him running at it or thinking he's gonna get smacked before the jumps and he's not really doing anything wrong per say.. just not moving forward over the jump.
    Custom Painted Brushes: spcustombrushes@gmail.com

  • #2
    Get him out foxhunting for a couple of seasons.

    It really makes an event horse.
    \"I have lived my life-it is nearly done-.I have played the game all round;But I freely admit that the best of my fun I owe it to Horse and Hound\".


    • #3
      He's not a thoroughbred and he is not going to be harmed by a bit of a smack with a crop. Alternately, you can use spurs to make your legs a bit 'louder'.

      Set up something of a decent height - at least 2'. Get a few jumps in a circle, or one on each long side of the ring - something where you can jump pretty consistently without having to stress him with to much turning and rebalancing. If you can do this out in a field (make a large circle of jumps), it would be ideal.

      Jump around these jumps for a few minutes until you really get him cantering infront of your leg. Once you have gone over two jumps or so where he is really forward, be done with that exercise for the day.

      The crop should be used, to smack ONLY when he starts to slow down, get behind your leg and look at the jump. Same thing if you use spurs. Your leg should be on the horse and add spur when he starts to get behind your leg.

      He will be a different ride than a hotter horse and thus needs to be ridden differently.


      • #4
        This type of horse requires a warm up with lots of forward and back transitions in canter. Gallop forward a few strides then come back trying not to lose the extra energy that you just created, and do it again and again, until your horse is hot off of your leg. This gets the hind legs more active, and the horse more up in the bridle in his regular canter. Go to a jump with that more active, connected canter. And if he still stalls and falls behind your leg at the jump, land and gallop forward for a few strides, come back and come to another jump. You will find that if done correctly your horse will start taking a hold of you and taking you to the jumps. That's when you know that you don't need the excercise any more for that moment. But you can always use it in warm up or between jumps as necessary to maintain that forward thinking brain and active hind end.


        • #5
          I have two horses like this, one came to jumping late in life (9) and the other was a very laidback greenie when I got him.
          lstevenson's advice is RIGHT ON. It may always be a tool in your toolbox, although in my experience as they really go out and learn their jobs it becomes less and less necessary (but for my late in life horse, it was well into his career as a Training horse -- hmm, doing the training 3 day to be exact -- before he truly got "Forward" on his own).
          The big man -- my lost prince

          The little brother, now my main man


          • #6
            My Cleveland Bay x QH mare needs a lot of transitions and some brisk wake up work at the start of schooling. Also, with this sort of horse fitness is your friend!


            • #7
              And I've found myself with an OTTB with this style , kind of a surprise to me as I've always had the ones that needed slowing and balancing to the fences. I am doing lots of hill work to give him more hind end, the kind of warm up ls recommends, wear small spurs and definitely thwock him on the shoulder with the bat to remind him to keep moving forward. The good news is if he jumps several without stopping between, he gets more forward, so Ajirene's advice could also be helpful.
              OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!


              • #8
                Originally posted by lstevenson View Post
                This type of horse requires a warm up with lots of forward and back transitions in canter. Gallop forward a few strides then come back trying not to lose the extra energy that you just created, and do it again and again, until your horse is hot off of your leg.
                AMEN!!!! It's SO EASY to get slack and allow for our horses to not be hot off our legs! (It's definitely something I struggle with to hold my pony accountable to). But seriously - it's your life saver out there with this type of horse.