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Jumping height difficulty

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  • Jumping height difficulty

    I'm currently jumping 2'6" and I was just wondering how different it feels to jump 2'9", 3'0", etc. My trainer said that I could move up to 2'9" and I'm just wondering how different the jumps feel at 2'9", 3 feet, 3'3", etc. Is there also a mental aspect to how high the jumps seem? Because on the ground 2'9" doesn't look all that different from 2'6", but does it seem much bigger than 2'6" or is it just all a mental game? TIA!

  • #2
    I think a ton of it is mental. I know adding 3" can make something I was comfortable with start to look like a barn wall. Also, once you're up around 3' or so, most horses have to put a little more work in, so your (the royal "you," not OP-you) mistakes will make a bigger difference (bad striding to fence, lack of confidence, dropping shoulders, etc).

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    • #3
      It is mostly mental. However, some of it can be based on the confidence and jumping form of the horse.

      Personally, I think anything up to 3'6" is pretty much the same. At 3'6" horses generally begin to have to really put an effort into the jump (hence my qualification of the horse). For horses that are confident and jump well, 2'9"-3'3" all feel the same and anything under is less jumping and more like cavaletti.

      For riders, I believe the key to over coming the mental aspect is to focus on balance and equitation. keeping a consistent pace, stretching tall, letting the leg stretch down and around the horse, squeezing the horse forward. Don't throw your body and just break over at the hip AFTER the horse starts to leave the ground. When you focus on your ride, the fences become more like modified steps rather than fences.

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      • #4
        Up to 3', I would say it doesn't feel different. After that, every 6" inches makes a big difference in how the jumps feel, which is largely in part to how the horse uses its body.

        Just my opinion.

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        • #5
          I’d say the 2’6-3’ singles feel the same. If you’re in the jumpers, you’ll notice the oxers become wider, typically as wide as they are tall especially at the A/AA shows. The combinations also feel different in a 3’+ class than a 2’6 puddle jumper class. In the hunters, the jumps appear more solid as you approach because of the boxes, roll tops, gates, etc.

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          • #6
            Isn't there a height where "hang-time" in the air becomes noticeable to the rider? I recall being told that once.

            As for how jumps look from the horse, I try not to look too hard at the height once I'm on the horse! Once your head is 8 feet above the ground things start to look really big! OP, you and I are at similar places in our height progression. I am usually jumping 2'6", but recently my trainer has been throwing more and more 2'9" fences into our courses.

            I've definitely found that jumping is a mental game, and as jumps get bigger I have to be committed to getting over a jump.
            It can be easy when you are nervous to let the horse suck back and then stop or run out (I am a big offender on this one! I even watched video of myself where I *asked* for a run out ). Recently I told my trainer we were going over a jump or stopping, and I might end up on the ground, but we were *not* going around the jump!
            That commitment to not letting a run-out happen has changed my mindset for the better.

            If I'm nervous about a fence or think my lease horse may stop at it, I approach that fence with a *forward* canter, point my eyes where we are going and past the fence, and think about landing in my heels. I'm trying to train myself that when I feel nervous, that is what my body should be doing.
            By doing that I set my horse up to jump well, and I am less likely to mess her up if she needs to take a tight or long spot. This has made me feel less nervous over time, because we have more successful attempts at scary fences, better recoveries from awkward distances, and also those are things I always should be doing, so my position is getting stronger.
            Reading what I just wrote, I realize this is essentially the same thing RAyers recommends (though his equitation tips are better, my brain is not yet big enough to focus on more than two things during a course). Focusing on myself and my ride instead of the fence or the horse has been very effective for me in getting over my nerves.

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            • #7
              I have found that every 6” (if not 3”) increment looks and feels significant if you are working at the high end of your experience. So someone who’s ridden and shown 4’ for years is not going to be fazed by 2’6” vs. 3’6”, but if you’re starting to school 3’ for the first time, those oxers can look pretty massive and the horse’s effort can catch you off guard, even if you’ve been riding 2’6” regularly with a bunch of 2’9” thrown in.

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              • #8
                This year I moved up from the 2'6" pre-adults to the 3' adults on my pre-green horse. I hadn't jumped a 3' course in years (maybe twenty) and found it to be really more a mental change than a physical one. The 'feel' of jumping the height wasn't that different, but for some reason, things seemed to happen faster and mistakes seemed amplified. I was clocking around 2'6" courses pretty consistently, but seemed to take a big step back when I moved up. My trainer mentioned at one time that the step up from 3' to 3'6" was a big one (which I already knew) but that the step up from 2'6" to 3' was also a big one (which I hadn't considered). I cannot tell you why, but I absolutely agree it's true.

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                • #9
                  I would say that some of it depends on the horse's size and jumping style.

                  Until recently I was doing most of my jumping on a 13.2 hh pony, and the difference between 2'6" and 3' was quite noticeable both to look at from her back and in the effort she made over the jumps. She is quite an athletic pony and could easily make it over at least 3'3" oxers but at 3'+ I could feel more of the air time that MissCoco mentioned, and I had to ride more accurately to produce good results.

                  I just started jumping a 16.1 hh TB who uses his body really well over the jumps and to me that also makes them feel bigger than they actually are. At the end of a lesson this morning I asked my coach how tall the biggest oxer was and it was only 3'3" apparently but felt massive the way he jumps. I'm definitely going to have to get used to that but thankfully he is kind and patient with me!
                  Building and Managing the Small Horse Farm: http://thesmallhorsefarm.blogspot.com

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MissCoco View Post
                    Isn't there a height where "hang-time" in the air becomes noticeable to the rider? I recall being told that once.
                    For me I experienced this starting at about 4'3/4'6, but below that there wasn't a noticeable difference

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                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by MissCoco View Post
                      Isn't there a height where "hang-time" in the air becomes noticeable to the rider? I recall being told that once.

                      As for how jumps look from the horse, I try not to look too hard at the height once I'm on the horse! Once your head is 8 feet above the ground things start to look really big! OP, you and I are at similar places in our height progression. I am usually jumping 2'6", but recently my trainer has been throwing more and more 2'9" fences into our courses.

                      I've definitely found that jumping is a mental game, and as jumps get bigger I have to be committed to getting over a jump.
                      It can be easy when you are nervous to let the horse suck back and then stop or run out (I am a big offender on this one! I even watched video of myself where I *asked* for a run out ). Recently I told my trainer we were going over a jump or stopping, and I might end up on the ground, but we were *not* going around the jump!
                      That commitment to not letting a run-out happen has changed my mindset for the better.

                      If I'm nervous about a fence or think my lease horse may stop at it, I approach that fence with a *forward* canter, point my eyes where we are going and past the fence, and think about landing in my heels. I'm trying to train myself that when I feel nervous, that is what my body should be doing.
                      By doing that I set my horse up to jump well, and I am less likely to mess her up if she needs to take a tight or long spot. This has made me feel less nervous over time, because we have more successful attempts at scary fences, better recoveries from awkward distances, and also those are things I always should be doing, so my position is getting stronger.
                      Reading what I just wrote, I realize this is essentially the same thing RAyers recommends (though his equitation tips are better, my brain is not yet big enough to focus on more than two things during a course). Focusing on myself and my ride instead of the fence or the horse has been very effective for me in getting over my nerves.
                      Neat! 2'9" is definitely very fun

                      I agree with everything everybody else has said, the horse is capable of making that jump to a certain extent but most of the time its the rider that gets psyched out about the raised jumps lol!

                      So would you generally say (I know it varies by horse/pony) that 2'6" and 2'9"/3'0" are similar to each other in terms of feel, but feels different in terms of the rider's mentality?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by sterlingthedutchwarmblood View Post

                        Neat! 2'9" is definitely very fun

                        I agree with everything everybody else has said, the horse is capable of making that jump to a certain extent but most of the time its the rider that gets psyched out about the raised jumps lol!

                        So would you generally say (I know it varies by horse/pony) that 2'6" and 2'9"/3'0" are similar to each other in terms of feel, but feels different in terms of the rider's mentality?
                        I think it depends a lot on the horse. I have a solid 2'6" horse who makes a significantly bigger effort over 2'9" and 3' than he does over 2'6". So on him the difference is very noticeable. However, mentally he is a horse I've had forever and trust to jump anything so the height doesn't affect me when I'm on him.

                        On the other hand, I have a scopey baby whose sire did the 1.60 and is just starting to jump 2'6". On her, that height feels like a canter stride, so I'm sure once she is jumping bigger there won't be a big difference between the way those heights feel. BUT, mentally for me, everything looks bigger on her because she's green

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by sterlingthedutchwarmblood View Post

                          So would you generally say (I know it varies by horse/pony) that 2'6" and 2'9"/3'0" are similar to each other in terms of feel, but feels different in terms of the rider's mentality?
                          For me 2'6" and 2'9" feel very similar to ride, but my lease horse is 16.2 and has a really easy jump to ride, she doesn't tend to over-jump. For me the mental factor is more specific jumps, and honestly some days I am just not that on my game as a rider, so then I am more worried to every jump because I'm not performing at my best

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MissCoco View Post

                            For me 2'6" and 2'9" feel very similar to ride, but my lease horse is 16.2 and has a really easy jump to ride, she doesn't tend to over-jump. For me the mental factor is more specific jumps, and honestly some days I am just not that on my game as a rider, so then I am more worried to every jump because I'm not performing at my best
                            Totally agree. To me, 2’6 and 2’9 feel the same. And - the jump itself, 2’6, 2’9, or 3’, on a smooth horse, feels the exact same. But I do think that there are many factors outside just the jump itself that make these heights feel different. I will say 2’6” to 3’ can be a big jump if you don’t have an eye, feel, pace, and adjustability. You can chip hard or crawl at 2’6 but you can’t really at 3’ even with a nice athletic horse. Sure, you’ll make it over but it will feel different than the 2’6.

                            Long story short - yes, I think the jumps themselves feel the same but it’s allllll that flatwork in between that makes a difference (sometimes mental, sometimes purely physical).

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