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Signs that a horse dislikes/hates jumping?

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  • Signs that a horse dislikes/hates jumping?

    (some details in this thread have been edited out)

    So a bit of background: I bought my horse about 2 months ago, he’s my first horse and we are still somewhat new to each other. The first few weeks, he would bolt all the time. When picking up the trot, the canter, before and after jumps, etc... After that he calmed, but he was incredibly stubborn and oppositional (backing up when I ask him to go forward, slowing down when I ask him to speed up, speeding up when I ask him to slow down...) Now here’s the important part: I’m a jumper, he was a dressage horse who only recently started jumping, I wanted to turn him into a jumper horse. Before, he was bolting to the jumps and after them. Now, unless I have perfect eq and a crop, he will nearly always refuse. Over jumps, he has his ears pinned and his tail swishing around. I don’t have a single picture where his ears are not pinned and his tail is not up in the air. To me, it seems he doesn’t like jumping at all. When I flat him I almost never have to push him to anything, he’s pretty forward on his own. He has so much potential as a jumper, but I don’t want to force my horse to do something he doesn’t want to do. I love him with everything and I don’t mind it all that much if he doesn’t like jumping, it’s just a little disappointing. Please note I’m still inexperienced, any advice or personal stories are really really appreciated.
    Last edited by starr331; Oct. 9, 2019, 05:55 PM.

  • #2
    So lots of questions.. you bought him 2 months ago? What was his job when you bought him? Did you have a pre purchase exam done? It sounds like to me that he is in pain. When did all these issues start? Did you get to ride him and see him being ridden before you bought him?

    Comment


    • #3
      starr331 Hi, welcome to the Forums! I'm going to go ahead and ask some preliminary questions we probably all have to fill in some gaps of information.

      1) Vet - Has the vet come out to do a thorough once over of the horse to rule out any physical pain? Teeth are floated? No ulcers? In good weight? Rule out the physical causes first.

      Assuming that is all checked out, next questions:

      2) Trainer/Training Questions: It sounds like there are some miscommunications happening - how does your horse go when he/she rides it and jumps it?

      3) Bolting - Is this a grab the bit in his teeth and take off galloping bolt? Or just a bit of a surge at the canter before/after the jumps?

      4) You say he has "so much potential as a jumper" but from what you're describing this is confusing to me - have you seen him jump with other people? What leads you to believe he has this potential?

      It sounds just from what you're saying that you might need to have your trainer ride him for 30-60 days to get him past some of these hurdles while you ride something a little bit more confidence inspiring to tune yourself up, and then try to establish the partnership again - maybe ride him 1x a week and your trainer ride the rest of the time, really see what he/she does with him. Definitely watch someone else who doesn't have these issues ride him and see what they do differently.

      Other thoughts?

      Comment


      • #4
        "unless I have perfect Eq and a crop, he always refuses.". That's not a horse with "so much potential as a jumper.". That's a horse telling you he's in massive pain. Refusing, bolting, ears pinned, tail swishing, bolting, he's telling you in every way he can think of that he's in pain. Listen to him. Honestly shame on your trainer for pushing you both. Stop before you get hurt.

        Why buy a dressage horse to turn him into a jumper?

        Did you do a PPE when you bought him? Have your vet do a lameness exam, guessing his hocks and back are very very sore.
        http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fentre...24774504235082

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        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by starr331 View Post
          So a bit of background: I bought my horse about 2 months ago, he’s my first horse and we are still somewhat new to each other. he’s a 9yo 15.2h paint horse. The first few weeks, he would bolt all the time. When picking up the trot, the canter, before and after jumps, etc... After that he calmed, but he was incredibly stubborn and oppositional (backing up when I ask him to go forward, slowing down when I ask him to speed up, speeding up when I ask him to slow down...) Now here’s the important part: I’m a jumper, he was a dressage horse who only recently started jumping, I wanted to turn him into a jumper horse. Before, he was bolting to the jumps and after them. Now, unless I have perfect eq and a crop, he will nearly always refuse. Over jumps, he has his ears pinned and his tail swishing around. I don’t have a single picture where his ears are not pinned and his tail is not up in the air. To me, it seems he doesn’t like jumping at all. My trainer says it’s because I don’t push him to the jump enough that he looks mad, but when I flat him I almost never have to push him to anything, he’s pretty forward on his own. He has so much potential as a jumper, but I don’t want to force my horse to do something he doesn’t want to do. I love him with everything and I don’t mind it all that much if he doesn’t like jumping, it’s just a little disappointing. Please note I’m still inexperienced, any advice or personal stories are really really appreciated.
          Generally when things start going sideways like this in jumping the best thing to do is back off right away and work on the flat until the horse behaves. No one should be trying to jump a horse that bolts in the arena. As you've seen first hand the potential to make the problem worse and worse really exists.

          Sounds like you are fairly novice and perhaps young. One thing that will sour a green jumper fast is a rider with a less than stable seat who catches him in the mouth over or after the fence.

          It sounds like you have created these problems trying to school him alone. The best advice here is to find a good trainer to try to undo the damage and give you lessons.

          Keep in mind also that one reason horses are made into lower level dressage horses is that they never liked to jump, had no talent, or were soured early on. Do you know much about his background?

          Comment


          • #6
            Soooo this whole thing seems odd to me. If he was doing all this before you bought him, why did you buy him? Did your trainer go with you when looking at him? Seems to me that if he's been a dressage horse all his life, there may be a reason why. How in depth of a vet check did you have done? I would suggest you stop jumping him immediately before you get hurt. Horses are only "bad at distances" if their rider is inexperienced. The horse knows how to jump naturally. It is the flat work that needs work.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by starr331

              By potential I mean he is a very pretty jumper with a lot of scope, sorry if that was confusing. I did have a PPE done, he was cleared for jumping “up to 3ft” though I definitely don’t jump him nearly that high at the moment. Another thing to add, I don’t know if it’s important, but he hates full seat canter? Hes fine with light seat or two point. Could this indicate something wrong with his back??
              What do you mean he was "cleared for jumping up to 3ft"? What all was done during the PPE? I would say yes.. if he doesn't like you sitting down on his back, something is probably wrong. Which seems odd because he was a dressage horse...

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              • #8
                If you have a dressage horse that has started jumping, and presumably been jumping several days a week, pair that with a novice rider , possibly getting left behind, smacking the horses back, that's a recipe for a very sore back, at the least. Not factoring in saddle fit, horses fitness level in general, footing..
                http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fentre...24774504235082

                http://fentressfieldsequestriancenter.com/

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                • #9
                  Free jumping him is pointless. That won't do anything. Like I said, the horse knows how to physically jump. That's not the issue. He's in pain and that is what needs to be addressed. If he was doing all this when you were looking at him to buy, why did you buy him? Have you had his saddle fit checked by a professional? As I said before, I would suggest you (and whoever else) stop jumping him immediately before anyone gets hurt. Get him thoroughly checked out by a vet and go from there. What does your trainer say about all this?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I would still agree with what everyone else is saying. Sounds like he's in pain and has already started to sour on the idea of jumping, whether it's getting hit in the mouth, his back, something with his high end, or a combination of everything.

                    Also, horses who are cleared to jump up to a certain height by a vet typically have something found in the PPE that would limit them physically.

                    Some horses it's a good idea to keep them under a certain height due to their talent or ability, but if a vet says "no higher" that is a potential flag to me.

                    Why was this the horse you and your trainer chose to be your first horse that you wanted to jump? It sounds like maybe he was happier being a dressage horse, and you should sell him for that and get something more suitable. It sounds like going back to flatwork for the both of you would be beneficial anyways for a while.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by starr331

                      By potential I mean he is a very pretty jumper with a lot of scope, sorry if that was confusing. I did have a PPE done, he was cleared for jumping “up to 3ft” though I definitely don’t jump him nearly that high at the moment. Another thing to add, I don’t know if it’s important, but he hates full seat canter? Hes fine with light seat or two point. Could this indicate something wrong with his back??
                      Ok something is very wrong here. Without video I can't guess if its horse, saddle or rider.

                      But you do realize that dressage horses are *only" ridden in full seat? That it's very clumsy to two point in a dressage saddle and dressage riders rarely do so? This tells me that either his back hurts, his saddle doesn't fit, or you are thumping on his back when you canter. Or all three.

                      ​​​​​​Also keep in mind that a half decent dressage horse usually isn't given a crash course in jumping and sold as a green jumper. Why did seller feel he no longer was marketable as a dressage horse?

                      I'm going to make a wild guess he was cheap? Well now you know that you either pay money for a horse doing the job you want already or you buy a prospect and then unless you are a good trainer yourself you pay money to get the horse made into what you want.

                      You need trainer rides because you've messed him up or he's messed you up and once a horse sours on jumping it's hard and even dangerous to fix.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Stop jumping him immediately. Sell him if you can't imagine a life without jumping.
                        But do not continue jumping because he's either 1) in pain/distress--which is the most likely scenario, or 2) he's got your number and it's bad behavior that's only going to get worse.

                        Your personal goals do not justify putting an animal in pain/distress. Even if it's just him being a pill and behaving badly, it doesn't sound like you are the right rider to fix that. And every ride he gets away with it makes it harder and harder for this horse to be retrained and to find a quality home. Horses with unsafe, ingrained bad habits like bolting and refusing jumps, end up with bad outcomes.

                        All signals point to that your horse is experiencing pain. I would get a vet out. You'll find the money somewhere.

                        You need to seriously question your trainer's professionalism if he/she agreed that a young, novice horseowner should buy a 'project horse' that needs intense training to learn how to do the job you want him to do.

                        Buy a horse that's already successfully doing the job.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by starr331
                          I don’t even know where to start I think my wording is all off and I’m being very confusing. When I tried him out, he was a completely different horse under saddle. He was never particularly excited, had trouble with his right lead but easy to fix. I honestly saw the way he jumped as “he’s just green” and it was stupid of me. The whole purchase process was impulsive and dumb, and even just two months later I realize that and wish I had approached it differently. But I was unprepared and misled and sort of coerced into buying him. That said, I love him, I have no plans of selling him, I can do dressage it’s just not my main discipline but it is okay to me if he doesn’t like or can’t jump. Again, not the best rider, but he is not difficult for me to jump. I am just wondering whether or not he likes it. I don’t jump him more than once a week, sometimes not at all. I had a professional saddle fitter come, and I don’t think the saddle is the problem. That comment of “he hates full seat” should be disregarded, because I’m just paranoid. He doesn’t hate full seat, he just prefers light seat. He is fine with the sitting trot. I still think it is worth free jumping him, because I want to see how he handles it without the strain on his back. Sorry for this mess, I’m very worried about my horse but I also do want to stand my ground, because I just don’t think the assumption of “I am not riding him well” is true. There are things I can work on but he is by no means a difficult ride.
                          I'm not really sure what you were looking for here then. If he has done dressage his whole career, he shouldn't have an issues with leads. It sounds like maybe you need to find him a good home with someone who doesn't want to jump. There is no point in keeping a horse who isn't suited for what you are wanting to do (unless you have unlimited funds to pay for him and another). Did you have blood drawn when you had the PPE done? If he wasn't "particularly excited" then maybe they saw you coming, drugged him and fooled you. It happens all the time in the horse industry. It also sounds like you need to find a new trainer because a good one would never have let this happen. Jumping him is dangerous and you are asking to get hurt if you continue to.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Choo choo!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              All I'll say is that if you or your trainer had the appropriate experience level, the initial bolting should have been enough to warrant evaluation of 1) tack 2) soreness/pain and 3) rider position, ability and experience. A dressage horse - even a lower level one - does not start bolting out of the blue without a clear cause.

                              So I clearly do not understand why two months into this new partnership, you and the trainer are forcing this poor horse to do something that he is clearly does not want to do (whether it is pain related or rider related or likely both)?

                              You can't fit a square peg in a round hole. You can't force a horse to be a jumper, no matter how "pretty" he free jumps or how scopy he seems to be. It is clear to me he needs a true professional - as in sent off for training - before someone gets seriously hurt or this poor horse is irreversibly ruined.

                              Please don't jump him anymore. He's trying every way he knows how that he's had enough. Please listen to him.

                              ~~ How do you catch a loose horse? Make a noise like a carrot! - British Cavalry joke ~~

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Your horse is probably fine, but needs a lot of time (and muscle strength) to be able to jump. Take a breath.

                                You said he's done dressage - to what level? Can you get him to go in a Training Level frame? First level? How much lateral work does he know?

                                Any horse can jump. Jumping with a rider on board and in good form is a different issue. Until your guy is using himself properly - working off his hind end, equally in both legs, jumping is going to be a nightmare.

                                So, take him back to the beginning. Poles on the ground, until he (and you) are cantering confidently and in balance through 4 and 5 stride lines. Don't forget single poles in random spaces - off corners, in the middle of the ring, etc. You should be able to ride to the distance or not (he should be confortable with just striding over a pole). No big moves from you (they're just poles on the ground, after all).

                                Don't forget working him (properly) on the longe over poles. He needs to realize he doesn't have to be stressed out about them.

                                Take some time now to establish the horse you want to have for years. It rarely comes quickly, but putting in the slow, confident work now will pay off in the future.

                                Best of luck!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Post videos of you flatting and jumping him.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    If you can post some videos of your riding this horse on the flat and maybe over a 'course' of poles ridden like a 2' course, you might get some valuable feedback. The signs you've described: speeding up over jumps, refusing jumps, swishing tail and pinning ears, are all clear indications of discomfort, whether that's ulcers/back/saddle fit, or lack of confidence from you frequently cantering to a big miss and catching him in the mouth or back. Without video, we can only assume the worst from your description.

                                    Have you experimented with different tack at all? Maybe a softer bit, borrow a friend's saddle, etc. Go back to flat work, work on suppling both of you. If he was a decent dressage horse, he should understand spirals, lateral, changes within the gaits. Schooling all these will help you trust eachother a little more. Don't work canter until you can do all of the above at the trot. Don't try to jump until you can do all of those at the canter. Then, if things have improved (less ear pinning, light in the bridle and to all your aids) you can think about the next step. The next step is NOT jumping. Next you introduce poles. Lots and lots of poles! Trot poles until you're both bored. Then canter poles until you're both bored. Do 'courses' of them, practice getting 1-2 more strides in a 'line', then 1-2 less, until you can switch back and forth perfectly. Develop your 'eye' and your horse's confidence. Then start making a few of those poles into low X's. The second the horse starts to speed up unasked, or refuses, you need to back up two steps.

                                    Think of jumping a course as a house, and all the flat work detailed above is the foundation. If you try to put a house up with no foundation, the house will crash and burn, just as your current jumping is. You need to build a strong foundation, brick by brick, to have a strong house. The bigger the house (jumps) the stronger that foundation needs to be. There's no timeline associated with this. You can't be in a hurry.

                                    It sounds like perhaps this wasn't the right horse to purchase for a rider with jumping aspirations but without deep pockets to fund training rides. However, if you have a vet (and possibly also a chiro or bodywork specialist) give the horse a good going over, and all looks okay, going back to the very beginning, as above, you may be able to progress to jumping small courses successfully with this horse. However, once a horse has 'learned' to refuse, they never unlearn it, and it may always be a problem. Perhaps his true calling is as a LL dressage horse.
                                    One more note. Without pictures it's hard to know. But many paint horses are built downhill and naturally on their forehands. A horse with this conformation will always find jumping harder than a horse with sporthorse conformation. That may be another complicating factor.

                                    One more note: based on the description of the escalating jumping problems, and the fact the horse had very little experience as a jumping horse, which is what you purchased him for, I'd be asking myself some hard questions about my trainer. The fact that he/she encouraged you to buy this horse, isn't coaching you on how to solve the problems, and hasn't jumped the horse him/herself to try to figure out the issues, means they may not be the right trainer for you. It might be time to take a good hard look at the program, the quality of instruction, and the progression of your riding and that of your barn-mates. Just my 2cents.
                                    A good man can make you feel sexy, strong, and able to take on the world.... oh, sorry.... that's wine...wine does that...

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                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      It Sounds like saddle fit to me, and if he doesn’t like full seat canter either, that makes sense also. When you are jumping, the tree points could be hitting him on landing, and his resistance before the jump is in anticipation of the pain. Have you checked saddle fit?

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by starr331

                                        Thank you for this! He was doing dressage at first level, starting on second. He’s incredibly gifted in dressage and I don’t want him to stop, but my knowledge of dressage is limited and I’ve been working with what I know. I think his previous owner may have rushed him into jumping, because he only started this year and he was already showing at 18”. Maybe he wasn’t ready for it yet. I definitely think he lacks confidence and thus jumping makes him really stressed. I honestly thought he was just very excited to jump, but it was probably anxiety. I’m gonna go back to dressage with him and start from the beginning. I think I started to lose patience and confidence with him too, so it will be beneficial to us both. Thank you again, I was so worried.
                                        If this horse was incredibly gifted in dressage the owner would have sold him as a dressage horse. If he was showing first and genuinely schooling second he is worth more as a dressage horse than as a greenie jumper. If the owner had just started him over 18 inch rails I would not call him a jumper.

                                        I am seeing red flags here. Horse flunked out of dressage, was sold cheap I am assuming?

                                        OP do you actually have.competrnt coach in the mix? Or are you alone with this horse in a back yard somewhere, or is your "coach" a 19 year old wannabe with no real experience? Or what?

                                        Because it is more and more clear that you don't understand the basics of teaching a horse to jump. No, bolting around jumps is not a sign of enthusiasm. No, a second level dressage horse shouldn't have bolt in his repertoire and should be used to a sitting canter. Do you actually have confirmation this horse has dressage training? What moves can he do, like leg yield and shoulder in? Does he have a flying lead change (typically first level horses don't)?

                                        What's his confirmation? Typically Paints are not incredibly gifted dressage horses.

                                        The story just doesn't really make sense as told.

                                        I agree that you need a better trainer. If you are going this alone you are going to ruin the horse and get hurt and if your current trainer has let things get to this point they are incompetent to say the least.

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