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Cross post from H/J forum: Exercises for horse that lands inverted and rushing....

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  • Cross post from H/J forum: Exercises for horse that lands inverted and rushing....

    I have an older horse who is a seasoned competitor. He had some time off and was leased to a few people. Now that he is back with me, he has started this new thing of landing (even from a small fence) with his head up, defensive and rushing. Its pretty obvious that he is sensitive and also that he has been caught in the mouth. I do not want to use a running martingale and I have been using a standing to make sure that he doesnt hit me in the face or anything. Its better if my seat stays off of him for at least 3 strides after the fence.

    I basically cannot pull back on him at all or it gets worse. If I do an opening rein and circle its better, but is there some exercise that will encourage him to be softer on landing... maybe working with placing poles or cavaletti on the landing side? What other ideas can you give me?
    GO TARHEELS!
    COMH
    http://community.webshots.com/user/funnyknuckles
    http://community.webshots.com/user/funnyknuckles2

  • #2
    Exercises I like for similar issues:
    1) small fence on a circle - keep the canter rhythm consistent. You may need a small circle to encourage him/her not to rush. Just keep coming around until he stops rushing and inverting.
    2) multiple bounces or grid work with lots of placing poles. Makes him lower his head and use his back...eventually! I've used up to 4 bounces and a couple of one strides to accomplish this on a very defensive horse.
    3) placing pole on landing 12 feet after fence.
    4) flat work and jumping all mixed into one: do your flat work in your jumping stirrup length and just randomly pop over a jump here and there and return to your circles/transitions etc. so that there is no clear start or end to your jumping but rather random jumps scattered into your work session throughout.

    Good luck!

    Comment


    • #3
      Personally...if they are rushing because of being caught in the mouth...jumping on a circle has worked best for me...and not catching them in the mouth or sitting back on them too soon. But the circle needs to be small enough that you are jumping with a bend/landing on a bend.


      gymnastics where you really give them the rein...then on landing after the gymnastics, don't pull up but change what you do....i.e. turn right, turn left, circle etc. Give a job on landing after each fence so that they stay focused.
      ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        All good suggestions. I had also wondered about leg yeilding on the landing side of a fence? Anyone tried this?
        GO TARHEELS!
        COMH
        http://community.webshots.com/user/funnyknuckles
        http://community.webshots.com/user/funnyknuckles2

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by UNCeventer View Post
          All good suggestions. I had also wondered about leg yeilding on the landing side of a fence? Anyone tried this?

          yup done that as part of getting them to do something different on landing......I also have done counter bend on the approach (helps really get them straight and listening)

          The jumper trainer I worked for would have me do figure 8s over a fence landing on a new lead each time as well. Worked well with some of them...again..getting the new lead and bend not from the hand but by shifting your weight and your leg.
          ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

          Comment


          • #6
            been said before, but a figure eight over a small jump will do wonders. i have a pretty bad head tosser/rusher and that does wonders for his rhythm.

            also, in talking about doing leg yields after the jumps, you can also try trotting fences from shoulder fore. hopefully that'll keep him thinking all the way up to take-off, and if you can control the take-off, a lot of times you'll be able to control the landing (after 5 circles or so )

            Comment


            • #7
              David O'Connor had a good exercise for this. He had quite a few jumps set up near each other, so that it was easy to land from one, turn and have another one nearby. He had us go one at a time, and keep jumping, randomly choosing jumps but always having to plan and go *somewhere* on a turn on every landing. You were not allowed to circle to reorganize or pull them up, but had to try to smoothly get to the next jump.

              After about 10 jumps, my horse suddenly had a lightbulb moment - he landed and set himself back on his hocks (without interference from me) as if to say "I have no idea where we're going, but it will be easier for me if I get myself balanced and organized."

              It was a great feeling and I go back to that exercise with horses that like to get heavy, to pull with head up, or to rush.
              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


              • #8
                I would have a running on before I'd put a standing on one like that. A standing on a horse who is already a bit of a rusher can leave a horse feeling pretty trapped - a running only comes into play to keep you from flossing your teeth with their ears. Useful.

                I also wonder how his hocks are - if he's a bit older, he may want to be sore, which keeps him from landing balanced, and can conversely cause him to fall forward - thus feeling like they are rushing.

                Assuming nothing physical, I like jump and turn exercises, and I like grids with fairly tight distances and no hands from the rider - let him figure it out. Don't hold him off the fence, don't tug to get the distance: let the exercise do the teaching and be a passenger while he figures out where his footwork is. I don't like leg yielding on the other side of a fence unless you are 100% sure you're not going to overuse your reins in an effort to keep the shoulder straight.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  I choose the running over the standing because I do not want it to hit his mouth- again the reason for the defensiveness- being hit in the mouth. I do not want something attached to his mouth if I am trying to get him to settle and not worry about the bit.

                  The standing is much much nicer for this horse and it is adjusted so he does not feel trapped.
                  GO TARHEELS!
                  COMH
                  http://community.webshots.com/user/funnyknuckles
                  http://community.webshots.com/user/funnyknuckles2

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by GotSpots View Post
                    I don't like leg yielding on the other side of a fence unless you are 100% sure you're not going to overuse your reins in an effort to keep the shoulder straight.
                    I agree. It eventually makes a crooked horse. Most riders who do this want to leg yeild out to the rail and this can become a habit for the horse to the point where the horse is moving over on its way over the fence.
                    They learn it so well that as soon as the rider puts some leg on the horse launches itself towards the rail, through the outside rein.
                    Ultimately it makes being straight to, over and away from the fence very difficult.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I like the jumps on a circle exercise.. you can put 4 up at each 1/4 point. or 3 1/3 of th way around if space is an issue. Depending on the amount of space you have available will determine how many strides fit between each .. I like to go with 4 if you have the room.. (they do not need to be high, in fact I think smaller the better. (think cavaletti) start with one fence on your circle (go around the others) then add them in. you can also do it so you jump one miss one, jump one miss one or any variation.

                      I would not leg yield after a fence.. as someone else stated it is a great way to create straightness issues.

                      lots of little bounces are good too.

                      I like the idea from David.. you could probably do that with your circle by changing directions after a fence, turning to the outside and meeting up the second last fence you just jumped.. (does that make sense?)

                      how does is he if you trot in? does it make a difference?

                      I would say pick exercises that you can comfortably stay out of the tack in and just grab mane.

                      good luck!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        A correctly fitted running martingale will help the bit act more correctly in his mouth = kinder/softer to the horse. If his head is up and you touch his mouth the bit is going to be acting in completely the wrong place.
                        Shop online at
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                        Comment


                        • #13
                          In addition to his hocks, check his back. All the great exercises in the world won't work if he is hurting.
                          The big man -- my lost prince

                          The little brother, now my main man

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            To add to GotSpots and asterix - also make sure his front feet aren't hurting.
                            ~Nancy~

                            Adams Equine Wellness

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Thanks guys- Yes I am planning on getting his hocks and feet checked starting with flexions and some hoof testers. So far, back does not seem sore when palpated or if I run a hand down the back.

                              I will definitely try the circle exercises, etc before I try a leg yeild etc after the fence. He is honestly not that different if you trot in. I have also in the past done shoulder fore into a fence like raaeve suggested. It sort of helped, but again, I do not want to compromise straightness if I dont have to.

                              For what its worth, 2 different professionals suggested that I use a standing vs. a running on this particular horse. I have used the running and gotten a bloody face- so thanks for the suggestion to use one, but I think I will stick to the standing for now, until he begins to settle more.
                              GO TARHEELS!
                              COMH
                              http://community.webshots.com/user/funnyknuckles
                              http://community.webshots.com/user/funnyknuckles2

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by UNCeventer View Post
                                For what its worth, 2 different professionals suggested that I use a standing vs. a running on this particular horse. I have used the running and gotten a bloody face- so thanks for the suggestion to use one, but I think I will stick to the standing for now, until he begins to settle more.

                                I've known people who have used both at the same time....it is training, not a competition so you can think a bit outside the box.

                                I'm not opposed to jumping in draw reins with the right rider and depending on the horse.

                                But honestly (assuming nothing is hurting him)...if he is scared of the bit...I'd be working more on his flat work. STOP jumping for a while. Get him accepting of the bit and hand again on the flat. Work on getting him really good at listening to half halts from your leg and body...not your hand...on the flat. Put him in the mildest of bits with nothing else....and take your time. Fix it first on the flat...then start working on the jumping. They are probably related
                                ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Can't tell without knowing the horse, but SOMETIMES, you can use reverse psychology.

                                  IF the horse is rushing after the fence BECAUSE he is anticipating, and trying to avoid, an aid to slow down, THEN asking him ACCELERATE on landing can help to get him (and you) out of a viscious circle.
                                  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).

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    My young mare likes to rush the fences. She's sees a fence and nose in the air and run... YEEE HAAWW. I hate it. I really like some of the suggestions and have worked lots of grid work with her, which she paces herself nicely and gets a lovely rythm. my mare is very soft in the mouth and does not have any soreness issues.

                                    Let me give another excercise. when we start getting some distance between fences..heads up and yeee haaw..(i still hate it). Part of what she would do would get her head up and throw me in the "back seat". so my trainer worked with us out on the xc course (or, as my mare looks at it like the YYEEE HAWW) course. I worked at keeping myself from getting put in the back seat when she lifted her head. Then my trainer had me trot fences and stop her and make her stand as soon as she started to rush the fence. then we would trot the fence. if she rushed, she stopped. it went from rushing 8 strides out to closer and closer to the fence. even down to one stride she'd rush and would get planted (and sometimes not ceremoniously) but she got the "whoa" down. finally, after alot of whoa's which finally were just an slight exhale, she got sick of rushing and trotted all her fences without rushing. then we added canter, it only took a couple hard stops for her to stop rushing and quietly take the fence. I do foxhunt her, so usually after the hunt I remind her to wait for me, and she's getting the point.

                                    Sometimes it's hard not to stop her because when she sees a new fence..Yee haw. so it's still a work in progress. I don't think it's teaching her to stop at fences, but I see her ears going back and forth when she locks on and tries to decide to listen or rush.
                                    I love my OTTB! I get my dressage test done faster!

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by bornfreenowexpensive View Post
                                      I've known people who have used both at the same time....it is training, not a competition so you can think a bit outside the box.

                                      I'm not opposed to jumping in draw reins with the right rider and depending on the horse.

                                      But honestly (assuming nothing is hurting him)...if he is scared of the bit...I'd be working more on his flat work. STOP jumping for a while. Get him accepting of the bit and hand again on the flat. Work on getting him really good at listening to half halts from your leg and body...not your hand...on the flat. Put him in the mildest of bits with nothing else....and take your time. Fix it first on the flat...then start working on the jumping. They are probably related
                                      Well said as far as thinking outside the box. The thing is- this horse went preliminary, his flatwork is usually pretty good, and I feel that this horse does not need training per se, but more of a quick refresher. But you are right, it doesnt hurt to go back to basics.
                                      GO TARHEELS!
                                      COMH
                                      http://community.webshots.com/user/funnyknuckles
                                      http://community.webshots.com/user/funnyknuckles2

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        I also went and found a nathe bit to start doing all my work in. I could do some draw reins too. He doesnt typically rush on the take off side of the fence, its more on the landing. I also have a hackamore that I may try as well.

                                        Janet- I like the rev psychology idea He will be so confused!

                                        I almost think that the best thing is just to do nothing. Just jump the jumps, land and do nothing so he realizes that I am not going to grab on his face. And then I can start asking for more once we establish a baseline. But winter is coming, so that does mean more flat work.

                                        Thanks guys!
                                        GO TARHEELS!
                                        COMH
                                        http://community.webshots.com/user/funnyknuckles
                                        http://community.webshots.com/user/funnyknuckles2

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