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Can't jump without trainer?!?!? Yes or no?

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  • Can't jump without trainer?!?!? Yes or no?

    Hi, so I'm switching to a new barn to board my ottb. I've owned her for a little under a year and she is still pretty green however, at my current boarding barn, I'm allowed to jump whenever. Now of course I don't, only maybe a few crossrails every once in a while or to work on position or finding distances in between lessons as I don't think it's good to overjump your horses - we do mainly focus on flatwork however I like having the option. At this new barn though, we aren't allowed to jump unless in a lesson. Not even tiny crossrails. Is this normal? I'm the only boarder as the barn just opened and this is a fancier barn but does this commonly happen? I get maybe for safety reasons, but she is my horse and if one of us gets hurt, that is my fault. She doesn't want the horse to learn any bad habits but I just want to have fun with her and if I do accidently teach her a bad habit, then I can live with that and we will work through it and learn and it's not like we would be jumping 4ft courses. Any advice? Am I over thinking it? Is this common? Thanks!

  • #2
    At the barn where my daughter rides (Northern California), the rule is no jumping without a trainer present. It's for insurance reasons. I believe this has been discussed on this board before, and it turns out to be a common rule.


    • #3
      Plenty of barns have this rule- you need to decide if you can live with it or not. If not, find another place to suit your needs. Are you moving to this new barn so that you can work with this trainer?

      Off topic but I would advise you to think carefully before becoming someone’s first boarder. Been there, done that, and it was a mistake- there are always kinks to work out, and I didn’t like my horse being the guinea pig for that process. YMMV, of course.


      • #4
        How old are you? Is it a rule for juniors? You're the only boarder? Is there a trainer present who you'd be taking lessons with?

        It's not an uncommon rule, other barns have a only jump when someone else is there rule.


        • Original Poster

          I'm 17 but I have been riding for 12 years and have trained several horses. The trainer is always on site and lives there so there would always be someone there. I just find it annoying as she is MY horse. I would totally understand if I was leasing her or something... I'm probably over thinking it. Thank's for the reply's!


          • #6
            It is a common rule, but that wouldn't work for me. I couldn't board personally where that choice is taken away from me. Though I am an adult who has been riding many, many years.


            • #7
              I think this is very common, but not universal.
              Of the barns I've been at, policies have ranged from complete prohibition of using any poles at all without a trainer, to no restrictions whatsoever on jumping (or requirement to use a helmet for that matter. . .)

              Some policies that I found to be logical compromise positions have been:
              - Solo use of poles/cavalettis under 18" with verbal trainer approval
              - Solo jumping allowed after taking a test that involved setting a course and riding the related distances in different numbers of strides (which the rider announced before starting the course).
              - Trainer giving verbal permission to jump solo once she felt it was appropriate at which point she let riders have discretion over the heights they are jumping.

              Personally, I do find the use of poles or cavaletti very helpful, and I don't feel any need to jump anything higher when I'm not working with a trainer. I can still work on distances, pace, straightness, and my position, but I'm not jumping high even when I am working with my trainer. Have you talked to your trainer about use of poles on the ground/your questions about the policy?
              That said, if you have already switched, that is the policy you've agreed to, so unless knowing why this trainer doesn't allow unsupervised jumping will change your feelings about the policy (eg one barn I was at didn't allow jumping to avoid damage to their lovely jump poles), it might be better for you to talk to your trainer during lessons about how you can practice specific skills she's having you focus on without the use of jumps.


              • #8
                It's a pretty standard rule for any show barn. You go to these types of barns for the training program which really shouldn't leave you with much need to jump outside of lessons. Trainers want their students to be a good representation of them when they go to horse shows, and they can't make sure you're riding your best and representing them well if they haven't seen you regularly.


                • #9
                  It is a very common rule, but even if it weren't, a BO can set whatever rules they choose. Sounds like this barn is not a good fit for you and you should look for a different one.
                  Custom tack racks!


                  • #10
                    Is this your trainer? Are you paying her for training your horse or you or both? If so, then you're paying her for her knowledge and judgment and it's kind of a waste of money to ignore her advice.

                    If you're just boarding there, then, in answer to your question, it depends on the facility. Some places have that rule. At some other places, boarders are free to use their own judgment. I also used to board at a place where the BO/trainer allowed some boarders to jump unsupervised while others were asked not to.

                    "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
                    that's even remotely true."

                    Homer Simpson


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by sauvignon1008 View Post
                      I'm 17 but I have been riding for 12 years and have trained several horses. The trainer is always on site and lives there so there would always be someone there. I just find it annoying as she is MY horse. I would totally understand if I was leasing her or something... I'm probably over thinking it. Thank's for the reply's!
                      Your horse, but not your property, not your business, not your rules...

                      Yes this is very common, in fact I think more boarding barns have this rule than not, at least in my area. I currently ride at a place that does allow jumping without a trainer (for those over 18), but I completely understand why many places have the rule. Liability and insurance concerns, for one. They also have a business to run and if people are able to jump whenever, there’s a good chance they won’t take as many lessons, which equals lost income.

                      IMO no barn should be allowing kids to jump unsupervised. Yes, there are some 16 and 17 year olds that are mature for their age, ride well and probably would be fine, but then you’d either have to make an exception just for them, which gets messy, or allow all kids to jump whenever, which is, best case a recipe for kids/horse developing bad habits, horses getting jumped too often, or worst case, a recipe for a someone to get seriously hurt.


                      • #12
                        I grew up in a decent sized show barn where that was always the rule. When I come home to visit my parents, I try to make time to visit the barn, and I usually end up schooling a few horses for my trainer while I'm there (was never a professional, but was the working student for many years). I asked if it would be okay for me to pop the horse I was on over a cross rail a few times, and my trainer looked at me like I had three heads and said I didn't have to ask, I was welcome to do whatever I felt would help school the horse I was on.

                        MANY others are not allowed to break that rule, but my point is that (likely once you prove yourself to your new trainer as competent, safe, and thoughtful about why you want to jump) you may want to just ask and see if she's okay with it, and has it as a rule to stop anyone and everyone from possibly being dangerous in their rides.

                        We definitely had high school kids who would pop the jumps up to 4' and sneak a course in when they thought no one was looking, which is definitely why the rule tends to exist in many barns.


                        • #13
                          My barn also has the no jumping without a trainer present rule, unless you’re one of the few competing at the Grand Prix level, that group is allowed to jump whenever they want. However, the rest of us are allowed to set and use ground poles to our hearts content (after our trainer is confident we can set them up with appropriate striding).

                          It seems like a pretty common rule, and has been in place at all the barns I’ve ever been at or looked at.


                          • #14
                            That's always been the rule at barns I've boarded at. I've always been a little surprised by people who are surprised by it, lol! But having had my horses at home for many years, it's definitely not something I could adjust back to at this point in time. You just have to decide if that's something that works for you or not.
                            Flying F Sport Horses
                            Horses in the NW


                            • #15
                              Many barns have this rule for insurance or rider safety. If your over 21 you can talk about it with the trainer. Flat work more important than jumping


                              • #16
                                This has been common in farms where I've boarded. Junior riders are not permitted to jump without an instructor, quite often for reasons of insurance. Depending on the policy this may or may not be the case for adults as well.
                                "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden


                                • #17
                                  Completely normal. My insurance agent would flip if I suggested anyone jumping on my farm outside of a lesson.


                                  • #18
                                    Very common. We are allowed (and encouraged) to do poles without a trainer, but no jumping. Personally, I love the rule. I like knowing when I'm hacking that anyone jumping in the arena is being supervised.
                                    ~ Citizens for a Kinder, Gentler COTH...our mantra: Be nice. ~


                                    • #19
                                      Interesting question! BO or trainers, what exactly does your insurance dictate regarding this? I AGREE that this rule is up to you. I'm not so convinced that your insurance company is "dictating" this requirement. Does your policy actually specify no jumping without your presence? So, someone practicing a trail course with cavaletti - must have a trainer present? Are there other parts of riding horses that are likewise "dictated"?


                                      • #20
                                        In the 30 years I've been riding, I don't think I've ever boarded somewhere without this rule! I've grown so used to it, I don't even think about it. That said, I've always been able to do poles/cavaletti sans trainer presence, which is enough. God knows I have enough to work on with flatwork and poles.

                                        The interesting fallout is: I'm not sure I COULD jump without a trainer present at this point. I'd be an anxious mess without that emotional security blanket.