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Can you tone down the powerhouse jumper?

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  • Can you tone down the powerhouse jumper?

    I have come to a point in my riding with my greenish OTTB where I am stuck between selling because he is not the right horse for me, or putting some serious time into getting him right. He is not a big horse, 16.1 hands, 1200 lbs (pretty average) but loads a desiel engine in his behind (I am on the smaller side). I am currently running this horse BN but am having a problem with his huge jump. He will take a 2'6 verticle like its a prelim oxer. He is very scopey and talented, and up to this point I have done most of the training myself. I take lessons, but not regularly enough I admit.
    I have had three falls over the last 2 years on this horse all pretty much from the same problem-getting jumped out of the tack. Two of those times I was seriously hurt with broken bones and this last time, yesterday at an unrecognized, just banged up and really sore.
    I have a few physical issues I want to address: Too much protein in his diet, possibly a mouth issue that makes him pretty resistant to rein pressure, and possibly the wrong bit.
    Before he was really fit he would lean and pull on me so we put him in an elevator which has worked, but lately he has become very resistant and rushy when I touch his mouth, esp jumping. I have the dentist coming out in the morning to address that and am going to try going down a bit now that he is fit and doesn't lean anymore. Not sure if this is going to change my problem, but they are a starting point.
    My question is, with these type of horses, (aside from any physical issue) have you been able to tone their jump down a bit so that this getting launched out of the tack isn't such a problem, or is it a matter of, this horse has too much power and needs a different rider? I haven't taken the route of , maybe bigger fences will back him off, but I am just now having to really break this down into pieces and figure out what the problem is. I know I cannot keep having these falls because eventually I am going to get seriously hurt, but this horse is really talented and is made to run and jump so I don't want to give up on him without trying every avenue.
    Trainer wants to spend the winter working on stadium, maybe possibly putting him with a jumper rider for a while to get him to chill in the ring, and if spring comes around and I still can't sit his jump we will have to make the decision to sell him and move on. He is extremely scopey and a very round jumper. For the most part I have adapted to his jump, but what happened this weekend has me shaken up a bit. I don't want to be hasty in saying he is too much horse for me without some serious correct training, but at the same time I don't know if these types of horses are just the way they are and need strong quiet riders and maybe this type of jumper isn't suited for me. I came from a flat QH jumper that was by no means hot. This horse loves to get out and run which in itself is change, but combine that with a huge, round powerful jump and that is a different ball game. I have been working this horse for two years so he is by no means super green, however still green in stadium. I think we are past the 'woah that thing might bite me I better get way over it' to ' I am going to throw in a huge jump just because I can'. Do you give these horses some time with gymnastics or is there no hope here?
    Honey Badger don't give a s*#^!

    "..a three-day event is not a test of speed and endurance, it is a test of character" ~JW

  • #2
    With my own OTTB overjumping has subsided somewhat with experience. Anything new he still clears by feet, rather than by inches, but he is getting better as he becomes more comfortable with jumping.

    I'd love to have had some photos of a few of those jumps. I'm sure my look of surprise has been priceless.

    Gymnastics should help because if you set them up properly it will help set your horse up to jump correctly out of a good stride.

    I also try to incorporate some small jumps into most rides. I try not to make a big deal out of them -- just trot over something out on the trail or sneak a few fences into a flat schooling.

    Protein shouldn't be making your horse hot. Excess protein is excreted through urine.

    As for bitting -- I personally think that a three ring is a lot of bit for a green horse. If your horse is pulling you to every fence and rushing I'd see that as a training issue rather than a bitting issue. My own OTTB has the tendency to flatten and run, but for him it's caused by anxiety. Making the "questions" easier and trying to make jumping more 'ho hum' has done wonders for the rushing. I do use a running martingale but I rarely use more than a plain loose ring snaffle (nothing fancy in the mouthpiece). But, then again I like having my horse take some contact and I am tall with long legs so it's harder for my horse to pull me out of my balance point.

    Good luck and stay safe!
    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Painted Hill View Post
      I have come to a point in my riding with my greenish OTTB where I am stuck between selling because he is not the right horse for me, or putting some serious time into getting him right. ....but am having a problem with his huge jump. He will take a 2'6 verticle like its a prelim oxer. He is very scopey and talented, and up to this point I have done most of the training myself. ....
      I have had three falls over the last 2 years on this horse all pretty much from the same problem-getting jumped out of the tack. .... I have a few physical issues I want to address: Too much protein in his diet, possibly a mouth issue that makes him pretty resistant to rein pressure, and possibly the wrong bit.
      Before he was really fit he would lean and pull on me so we put him in an elevator which has worked, but lately he has become very resistant and rushy when I touch his mouth, esp jumping. ..... I don't want to be hasty in saying he is too much horse for me .... Do you give these horses some time with gymnastics or is there no hope here?
      I've sort of picked out the relevant parts of your OP to me above.

      Hhhhmmm. Do you have a picture you could post online somewhere or point to? It would be nice to see it.

      And I would think about possibly sending this horse for 30-60 days to an upper level rider that you trust, and seeing what their experience and knowledge would come up with. Then listen to their advice.

      Horses that are thrusty jumpers are often hard to ride, and most pros have a love/hate relationship with them - it's great to ride a horse that gives the jumps such a good bascule but it's hard to keep paying the chiropractor bills for your back, too!

      Mouth problems are directly related to the dressage background and schooling. By the time a young horse, typically, in my opinion, is ready for BN, you should be riding this horse in some kind of a snaffle and he should not be needing anything more than that at this level. This worries me more than anything else in your OP...but again, this is the internet, and we can't see your horse and how you ride, so it's not going to be anything more than just ideas and opinions. ONe persons' hard mouth is another person's perfect hack.

      It's clear you have concerns so making a change is probably a good idea. Just making the right one! I know, it's tough. But can you get us a picture?
      Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
      Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/p...58&id=12707075

        http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/p...59&id=12707075





        At this moment, this is all I have at hand. Both pics are from about 1 1/2 years ago when he was first starting out, learning some xc and stadium. The logs are about 2 ft. The stadium was schooling over like, 2 ft. A lot has changed in my riding since then, but but that stadium pic is a lot of what he does from time to time and I am either prepared for it or not.


        http://www.hoofclix.com/Full-Gallop-...52445454_NAsQu

        These pics are his first BN and while he is not way up over these, I had to trot almost every fence, which caged his jump a bit.

        I had a lesson with an upper level rider who advice I spend some time trotting big fences to strengthen his hind end, as some of what she saw was him just thrusting himself over instead of really using himself, whcih you can see in some of the full gallop pics.
        Honey Badger don't give a s*#^!

        "..a three-day event is not a test of speed and endurance, it is a test of character" ~JW

        Comment


        • #5
          How are you riding him to the fences? In the last pics that you linked, it looks like he's jumping UP rather than over, if that makes sense. Like maybe he's getting in a bit too deep to his fences.
          Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!

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          • #6
            Based on the Hoofclix pics, I would say definitely don't give up. He doesn't really look like he's overjumping.

            Not having the full picture, I'll offer some advice based purely on my own experience with "Look-how-high-I-can-jump-Ma" mare.

            Regularly jumping, even if it's only over x-rails a few times 2 or 3 times a week. They tend to get ho-hum about it after a while--and probably more important, so do you. Also, if he's launching over small jumps and you're having trouble staying with him, i'd keep the jumps low. Based on my experience with the exuberant one, it doesn't matter if it's a pole on the ground or a 3-foot oxer. The lesson is still the same.

            I know this can be hard, but take regular lessons with someone who understands you both and will set up exercises to work out issues--and also has a plan to work progressively as you two go along. I should have made this #1. I ride by myself most of the time but carved out time to jump with some really good people on a weekly basis. This is the best way to progress and also work on any fear issues you have.

            Keep riding him. i wouldn't necessarily send him away to a trainer for a long period of time, or if you do, make sure you can go and take lessons. If you don't ride him for a long period, the first few rides will be spent figuring it all out again. The best way to learn to stay with him is to keep trying, until you find what works for you.

            Relax. This is my new mantra. Well, it's an old mantra, but I've newly reaffirmed it. I did a lesson a couple of weeks ago with my new favorite instructor. Mare was exuberant to say the least. After a few times of way overjumping, landing, and being silly, I pulled her up not roughly, but with a, hey, knock it off. Instructor said don't do that. Try to be relaxed, and through your relaxation, she'll relax. After a few more tries, I was amazed at how she calmed right down.

            Make sure you're in shape. Not saying you're not, but with an athletic horse, it helps to be able to keep up.

            This was much longer than I intended. As you can tell, I've had mucho experience working on the same problem!

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              I can definately say that in the full gallop pics I was not fit enough at the time (it was 100 degrees outside and it was all in one day...i was worn out by cross country). But for sure my position sucked there and I have spend some time this fall really working on staying low in the saddle and keeping my reins short so he doesn't have so much to take, landing in a heap after fences. Like I said, the full gallop pics don't look like hes way up there, but I trotted every fence so I would feel comfortable. When I ask him to canter those fences, he kicks it up into next gear like his tail is on fire. I have a pic that I can't get online that his feet are in line with the top of the standard.
              My trainer says, '20 years ago I would ride something like that but I can't ride those type of horses anymore'.
              Up until the last month, I didn't even jump weekly and I know that at this stage that is probably a big part of my problem. But, I ride alone a lot and I don't spend to much time working on stadium b/c I am by myself. But, it seems I have a different horse off of the property. He is usually pretty chill away from home but asking him to jump around in his own pasture seems to get him really worked up. I know part of the answer to my problem, it just helps to know that these horses are rideable from others out there that have these type of round, thrusty jumpers.
              Honey Badger don't give a s*#^!

              "..a three-day event is not a test of speed and endurance, it is a test of character" ~JW

              Comment


              • #8
                I have pics like that too--knees even with the top of the standards. I see those and say, hello, this is novice; shouldn't be such a big deal.

                Something else I've recently learned about keeping with my mare's jump. I shortened my reins a couple of inches or more (instructor's instructions). I'm still trying to work out why this helped, but it did.

                I think I sat back a bit before, waiting for the launch, which intuitively might make sense--not wanting to get thrown forward. But because she bounces so hard off the ground, I would often get left behind. This helped me stay with her more, and also helped limit the whiplash effect on landing.

                Just something else to consider.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I actually really love horses like this but probably because the horse that I had for years jumped everything by an extra 2ft just for the heck of it. I will say with a current horse I was having some issues staying with his jump but because I was not able to get him forward enough so he crawled to the base and then had to jump extra high to get over but it was more of a straight up and straight down jump then an up and out jump.

                  I really had to keep the fences small but focus on keeping the engine going but not going fast so that he would jump up and out instead of just straight up and down.

                  I am just reading a bit and guessing so I could be way off but often horses with contact issues might be backing off and then jumping up instead of out due to fear of contact or the incorrect bits. If he likes to rush and then you hold with your hand he might be jumping into your hand and hitting it and then stalling?

                  Often these really athletic horses learn they don't have to always give the jumps so much clearance but sometimes they will always jump like that. My Tb jumped any height like that with the extra 2ft of room and I am not making that up. It was just how scopey he was but it was a challenge to adapt to.

                  I would perhaps send him to someone to get him going a bit more for you before making a decision especially if he has all the other qualities you are looking for in an event horse.
                  http://www.benchmarksporthorses.com/

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    A round thrusty jump ISN'T a bad thing....so I would really wouldn't be trying to tone him down. If he is a good jumper and you take your time and don't screw him up...he will learn more control. But I never consider it a problem with a green horse...it is really just our problem to learn how to stay with them and not screw them up.

                    I would say if you are having to bit up like you say you are...you are skipping some steps in your foundation for this horse.

                    I would be trotting more fences. Doing little gymanstics (by little I mean comfortable for you both...mine usually stay and 2'6-3' for a while). LOTs and LOTs of placing poles.

                    Work on his canter and ridability with dressage. And not worry about competing or cantering jumps for a little while.

                    Work on your postion so you can stick with him and not be in his face. With these guys...even very minor flaws in your balance or position are highlighted and can affect your security and effectiveness.

                    I personally LIKE big round jumpers but I did have one gelding that while he jumped round, he was really tight in his back and would land really steep and hard. It would do a number on my back every time I jumped him(previous injuries to my back). So while I liked him...he wasn't the best horse for me.

                    In order for you to decide if this is a horse for you...it sounds like you need to get some consistent good help. This will be critical so you don't create more problems and reduce any damage to his confidence or yours.
                    ** 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


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Snapdragon View Post
                      I have pics like that too--knees even with the top of the standards. I see those and say, hello, this is novice; shouldn't be such a big deal.

                      Something else I've recently learned about keeping with my mare's jump. I shortened my reins a couple of inches or more (instructor's instructions). I'm still trying to work out why this helped, but it did.

                      I think I sat back a bit before, waiting for the launch, which intuitively might make sense--not wanting to get thrown forward. But because she bounces so hard off the ground, I would often get left behind. This helped me stay with her more, and also helped limit the whiplash effect on landing.

                      Just something else to consider.
                      Looked at the FG pics and suggest 'sitting back & waiting' for him to jump instead of anticipating and jumping ahead which causes the horse to try harder resulting in a bigger jump.
                      Agree that gymnastics really help both you & your horse. He learns to chill because it is just another set of fences. If he is as clever as my old girl, he will figure the gymnastics sessions quickly so you will have the opportunity to set different lines. Sometimes just doing a figure 8 over a X-rail is a good session.
                      Last suggestion is to use a form of a short crest release until both of you are more confident in each other. You then have his neck to support yourself if he throws in a goofy fence and there is less chance of you having to use your reins to stay with him. Your increased stability and more consistant rein+mouth contact will encourage him to settle into a softer jump.
                      "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
                      Courtesy my cousin Tim

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thinking about your body - do you have a solid lower leg with bouncy ankles? Can you fold your hips so when he comes way up you close your angles and let him change your position but your lower leg stays put? That will really help you not get tossed around by a big fence.

                        I couldn't open the pictures (slow computer) but do you have a yoke or breastplate to grab to keep yourself pulled into him but not with the reins?

                        Also, make sure the saddle you are using is helping you. If you can't sink deep into it and feel you are just part of him, it will be harder for you (says the princess with different jump saddles for XC and stadium due to serious horse preference for rider position)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I don't Event but....same as many Green over fences in H/J Land, he is just jumping like a Green horse. Plain and simple, that's what they do when still impressed by the idea of jumping.

                          You admit you have not been jumping regularly, that's part of the problem. Until they have jumped enough fences for it to be ho-hum-as in a thousand or so over a year or so? Everything is going to be an overachievement.

                          I think you know you need help here. He really needs to be in a serious program, 5 days a week, working over crossrails, poles on the ground or jumping low fences almost every day. And it needs to be under a fit and accomplished rider who can guide and stay out of his way.

                          If you can possibly swing it, 60 to 90 days with a Pro and you start taking 2 lessons a week about halfway thru that would help enormously. Or at least have a pro on him twice a week or so.

                          There comes a point when somebody who really knows what they are doing needs to polish any young horse over fences. I'd hate to see you give up on this one without giving him a chance.

                          Your bitting issue is more related to lack of fundamentals then anything else. That Pro help can fix that as well as the "exhuberance" over fences.
                          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I have one of those. It took me months to get used to his rocket-boost jump. I have few suggestions, some of which echo others given here. Learn to sit deep and then go smoothly with his jump- letting his power lift you up and pull you along with him will help diffuse the impact of it.

                            Pay attention to your core- I have a six-pack simply from from my horse. Riding is the only exercise I do, and a strong core is essential to riding a big jump, I think.

                            Make jumping more of an every day thing- I jump my horse over little stuff nearly every ride. He still gets excited, but as soon as the fences go up he settles down to work. My goal is to get him to be less exuberant to whatever I jump. This is a work in progress, I have to admit- horse likes to overjump.

                            Build your communication skills- huge amounts of flatwork where you get to establish a partnership so he is always waiting for you and listening for you will help. Being in control is important for any rider, but a really powerful horse needs to accept that his rider is setting the agenda. I have had massive struggles with this, and it still surprises me when my guy is happy to wait for my cue.

                            Finally, if you find that do want to work through it- enjoy this jump! It is unbelievably fun to have such an athletic horse, I think. Mine can jump a five foot wide triple bar set at 4'3" like it was a 3' vertical. I enjoy the hell out of riding him and wouldn't trade his jump for anything!
                            You can take a line and say it isn't straight- but that won't change its shape. Jets to Brazil

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              He looks like he is getting buried at the base of the jumps. You are most likely having the common problem of instinctively riding backwards to your jumps to prevent the big jump. Which of course has the opposite effect. When you hold back and don't ride forward the horse often feels the need to jump really hard. You will definitely find that when you have the right canter and ride forward to your jumps his jump is much smoother and easier to stay with. And remember forward does not mean fast per se, it means simply that you are riding the jump from your leg, either on soft reins or into your hand as necessary. But my guess is that you fall into the common trap of taking your leg off and holding his mouth instead.

                              Watch a bunch of riders do a drop fence, and you will see some horses make a huge leap off the drop and some step down quietly. And you may notice that many of the horses who leapt off were being held quite strongly in the mouth on takeoff. Whereas if that same horse had a looser rein on takeoff (which is hard to do if you think a big jump is coming I know!), he would tend to lower his neck and step down more quietly.

                              I would do lots of grids and gymnastic excercises, so that once you jump in, you can focus on not riding backwards to the base, but instead riding forwards to the base of the jumps. A simple cross rail, one stride oxer would be the best set up for you to feel this. Even if you feel the distance is tight for him, keep the rein soft and your leg on and trust him, and you will most likely feel a smoother jump.

                              He does look like he will be great! Good luck!
                              http://www.MyVirtualEventingCoach.com

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I also have a OTTB that clears everything by a couple feet. So, on the topic of riding a big jump:
                                @ 6 - 7 strides out, put your seat in the saddle and keep the rythm with your hips.
                                Sit back. Keep your shoulders back. Stay in your heels & think of your ankles as being shock absorbers.
                                Let your horses jump close your hip angle. Don't think about folding over the fence. Your horses thrust will automatically close your hip angle. Actraully, I try not to fold; with my guys jump, it's literally impossible. But, mentally, it helps.
                                Think about keeping your shoulders / chest open and AWAY from your horses neck. Keep your hips and butt back. If your horse over rotates, you want him to feel your seat hitting saddle. If you are too far forward, this is were he throws you too far over his shoulders and, well, on the ground.
                                And, don't forget to keep your elbows soft and give with his mouth over the fence.
                                If you want pics, let me know. Not that they are anywhere near perfect, but I go back to them as a reminder on how to jump a BIG jumper!
                                Good luck.
                                Riding: The art of keeping a horse between you and the ground. ~Author Unknown

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Pictures can't tell the whole story, but this is what I see...

                                  Horse getting too deep to his fences and "thrusting" himself over. Still photos don't tell me if he is getting there by rushing or if he is underpowered. I suspect he is under powered and getting to the base weak. This is causing him to launch himself straight up and throw you out of the tack.

                                  I also see a horse that is not comfortable using his head and neck which would only further aggravate the problem above.

                                  I suspect you have a horse that is afraid to go forward to the bit and who is also very generous, so he is doing what you ask while protecting himself.

                                  If *you* continue riding him, I would suggest changing to a snaffle (KK or the softest thing you've got) riding down to your fences with enough trot and your hands low and grabbing the mane 1/2 way up the neck to protect his mouth while he jumps. He is green and needs confidence.

                                  He appears VERY honest and genuine and looks like he might have a really nice jump at the end of the day. If I were you, I would send him to a good h/j trainer (hunter preferred) who will canter him round and round small courses until he learns to carry himself, finds a rhythm and gets confidence in his eye and ability. They will also help him with his form if they are able. When you get him back he should be able to canter around a small course with little help from you.

                                  I don't mean to pick on your riding, and mine is just one opinion, but I think you are genuinely looking for some help. I have seen a horse or two with the same bit and the same jump. FOWARD FIRST is usually the answer.

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                                  • #18
                                    If you have a hard time holding mane when he does that big jump, get a neck strap! Then try to ride forward with a soft hand to the fences, using lots of gymnastics to help him learn where to jump from so he doesn't get so deep he has to hurl himself over. The gymnastics will also help keep him from 'kicking it up a gear' just because you pick up a canter....

                                    Jennifer
                                    Third Charm Event Team

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                                    • #19
                                      "Work on your position so you can stick with him and not be in his face. With these guys...even very minor flaws in your balance or position are highlighted and can affect your security and effectiveness."

                                      Bornfreenowexpensive...you are my hero.

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                                      • #20
                                        OH are you just now noticing, Gardenie? BFNE graces us always with her presence!
                                        We have learned not to argue with her. She is usually right.
                                        Legs and hands. And proper use thereof in riding over fences. Sigh. My nemesis. It is so easy for the talented!
                                        Last edited by retreadeventer; Nov. 23, 2009, 11:48 AM.
                                        Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
                                        Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)

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