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Too big a stride - how to teach to shorten?

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  • Too big a stride - how to teach to shorten?

    So, I am new to working my horse in jumping. He is big, young, and relaxed with a huge step, apparently.

    Previously I had set up a pole, and/or small jump every 12' and he did fine with up to 5 in a row, gradually building in height. This is free jumping, I am talking about.

    The trainer suggested the following combination to help him learn how to "rock back": ground pole 9' to a low X or small (1'6") vertical 18' to a small(2'6") inviting oxer. My horse looked at the jumps, and did it as a bounce - NO stride in between. It was a bit of a stretch, but he certainly did not overexert himself.

    I put a ground pole in the middle - it made him take a really awkward stride and clearly messed up his flow and rhythm. I also tried lengthening the combination by a foot or so to give him a touch more room - still awkward.

    My other youngster (who is much smaller) seemed very comfortable with the 18' distance, she sat back but had a much easier time keeping a consistent pace.

    Is what my bigger horse doing normal? What combinations do you use to teach your horses to compress strides? This particular horse is not rushing or running, he is just a big boy with a nice open stride. The outdoor lines are easy for him, but the indoor 10' are so tight he would rather leave out a stride then scrunch one in.

    I am new to jumping, hence the FREE JUMP schooling for him. He loves jumping and is game to try any combination.
    Horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
    ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.

  • #2
    The classic exercise to teach adjustability is to put two poles on the ground a set distance apart, and practice putting a certain number of strides in between them, then add one more stride, then add two strides, then leave out a stride, etc.

    You can do it at the trot as well as the canter, so the horse gets the idea of lengthening and shortening the stride as needed.

    Riding over poles instead of jumps cuts down on the wear and tear on the horse's legs while they figure things out. It's also much harder to crash a pole than a jump, just in case there's an error by horse or rider.

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    • #3
      You can have me ride him. lol. As you can see in my thread I have the opposite issue. And it just may be created by me. Sounds like your horse has a lot of scope and thats GOOD.
      Live in the sunshine.
      Swim in the sea.
      Drink the wild air.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by mzm farm View Post
        This particular horse is not rushing or running, he is just a big boy with a nice open stride. The outdoor lines are easy for him, but the indoor 10' are so tight he would rather leave out a stride then scrunch one in.
        I don't understand this comment. Why would the outdoor lines be set different than the indoor lines?
        Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
        Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"

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        • #5
          Originally posted by RugBug View Post
          I don't understand this comment. Why would the outdoor lines be set different than the indoor lines?
          Because if it is anything like our indoor at home, it is shorter and narrower than the outdoor, so the walls come up fast if you aren't setting (and riding) on a shorter step.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by mzm farm View Post
            The outdoor lines are easy for him, but the indoor 10' are so tight he would rather leave out a stride then scrunch one in.
            I'm not sure I understand. Does this mean the outdoor lines are set at 12' and indoor at 10'? If so, that's your problem - don't expect a big, young horse to do that

            If that's not what you mean, then you'll have to explain

            Is he trotting or cantering into your little setup where he bounces the 18'? If he's not trotting, that's the problem.

            I would stop free jumping him in problem situations - he's learning bad habits.

            I would either, under the right supervision, lengthen the distances so he's taking a natural stride for him, and then shorten *a little* so it's still too long to bounce, but short enough he has to shorten up a little, or just stop jumping altogether until his flatwork has a more adjustable stride.
            ______________________________
            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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            • #7
              Originally posted by wanderlust View Post
              Because if it is anything like our indoor at home, it is shorter and narrower than the outdoor, so the walls come up fast if you aren't setting (and riding) on a shorter step.
              Oh I understand how that works. But we just set shorter lines (3 strides is the max line on the long side, 4 across the diagonal) rather than shorter distances. Or we do gymnastics. We wouldn't ask a horse to jump from a 10' stride for anything other than a rare exercise. (or if the horse was short strided to begin with).
              Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
              Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"

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              • Original Poster

                #8
                We are working on adjustability of stride in our dressage work. He is coming along nicely there. He is nowhere close to true collection as dressage calls for.

                He is trotting into the combination, I can even have him walk in he can still stretch just a little bit and bounce it.

                Perhaps it is not us much of a problem as I perceived it to be.

                The indoor competition was a combined training test, and they set the lines short. Trainer said that most of the horses at that level have shorter strides and that is why it was done that way. My horse was comfortable and relaxed, however he did easy 5s in a line set for 6. I was letting him pick the distances as I was primarily concerned with keeping our rhythm and relaxation, it did not matter for this competition that the number of strider was correct. It was also our 2nd time jumping a course of multiple lines.

                We will try the pole excersise, any others? I prefer to let him figure some stuff out on his own, so would like to hear about more free jumping patterns.
                Horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
                ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I actually think free jumping this horse will work against you, as the habits he is picking up become more and more ingrained. He sounds as if he is strung out and on his forehand, and possibly gets strong if he can trot in and bounce. However, you need tos et him up for success, not failure and 10' strides is absolultely failure! A pony does a 10' stride! He needs to be doing 12' - 13' strides distances. You can use landing and take off poles to help him, and for a while at least I think I would only trot singles. Once he is balancing and coming BACK to you on singles you can progress. If he tends to ignore you coming into a fence, drag you in on a long stride, practice trotting up til about two straides out, halting and then progressing with a SHORT trot stride to trot over the takeoff pole and the fence. Also halting after the fence will get him thinking about coming back onto his hauches.
                  www.shawneeacres.net

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mzm farm View Post
                    We will try the pole excersise, any others? I prefer to let him figure some stuff out on his own, so would like to hear about more free jumping patterns.
                    Unless he is some sort of equine Einstein, I doubt he will suddenly decide to shorten his stride from anything he does free jumping. As Shawnee said, he will get more set in his ways, if anything.

                    As long as he lands upright, he will think he did it right- why wouldn't he?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mzm farm View Post
                      The indoor competition was a combined training test, and they set the lines short. Trainer said that most of the horses at that level have shorter strides and that is why it was done that way. My horse was comfortable and relaxed, however he did easy 5s in a line set for 6. .
                      If the lines were set at 10', I would expect a young horse with a large stride to "leave a stride out". I put that in quotes because he's not leaving a stride out...just doing a long 5. 2' short for every stride is A LOT and young horse would have a hard time.
                      Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                      Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by RugBug View Post
                        If the lines were set at 10', I would expect a young horse with a large stride to "leave a stride out". I put that in quotes because he's not leaving a stride out...just doing a long 5. 2' short for every stride is A LOT and young horse would have a hard time.
                        Agreed! (Wow, RB, this is becoming a habit! )

                        The horse doesn't know that he is supposed to get a certain number of strides between the fences! WE may know the technically correct answer based on certain assumptions. The horse will do what is comfortable for him to do. That does not mean one should cater to his comfortableness necessarily, but one shouldn't punish him for it either.

                        For any youngster, you set the lines at what is *natural for them* first and then as you progress with their flatwork, balance and strength begin to modify that towards a specific goal.

                        Since shows set at a 12' stride, we all ride our horses for that common goal. Of course back in the day we did what rode correctly for the individual horse, whether that was "leaving a stride out" or "adding one."
                        It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. (Aristotle)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Mac123 View Post
                          Agreed! (Wow, RB, this is becoming a habit! )

                          The horse doesn't know that he is supposed to get a certain number of strides between the fences! WE may know the technically correct answer based on certain assumptions. The horse will do what is comfortable for him to do. That does not mean one should cater to his comfortableness necessarily, but one shouldn't punish him for it either.

                          For any youngster, you set the lines at what is *natural for them* first and then as you progress with their flatwork, balance and strength begin to modify that towards a specific goal.

                          Since shows set at a 12' stride, we all ride our horses for that common goal. Of course back in the day we did what rode correctly for the individual horse, whether that was "leaving a stride out" or "adding one."

                          I just love reading all the posts... You guys have a lot to offer...

                          and yes we "used" to ride whatever was correct for that particular horse - back in the 70's and 80's - however, and the big HOWEVER - NOW the horse flesh is MUCH different and jumping is quite sophisticated.. not only does it leave me with my eyes all bug-eyed when watching these amazing horses but a bit dissapointed in the fact of how hard it is to be competitive at higher levels.
                          Live in the sunshine.
                          Swim in the sea.
                          Drink the wild air.

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