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Horse "diving down" after jumps

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  • Horse "diving down" after jumps

    My horse is a 7 year old OTTB and is very very quiet. He loves to jump and never refuses - but when we jump at home, after a line or single jump at the end of the ring, he dives his head down repeatedly. Almost never bucks, but there has been occasions when he does. Mostly cantering around jutting his head down toward the ground. He doesn't do this between jumps of a line, this is only on the ends of the rings, so it's not a soundness thing, just a behavior thing. He's never been lame and he gets regular chiro visits.
    I've tried stopping him/backing and I've also tried making him go forward. The thing is, he is athletic enough that it's not a problem for him to do this while also going forward. Also, he never has ever done this at a show. At shows, he's the perfect little hunter.
    Any ideas?
    My CANTER cutie Chip and IHSA shows!

  • #2
    Sounds like he's bored and wanting to amuse himself. Try putting a ground pole about 2 strides away from the last jump and another about 3 strides away from that. Or put a jump on a short 90 degree angle from the last jump in the line, so you'll land from the line, go about 2 strides and turn, take 2 or 3 strides and jump. Both of those will cure the playing after they get surprised the first time, if he is just doing it from boredom.


    • #3
      Are you sure you are not jabbing him in the mouth? Horses will sometimes do this if so.
      Owned by an Oldenburg


      • #4
        my tb mare does the SAME thing. set up a gymnastic of quite a few jumps, then we'll see how cocky he is. maybe try turning a lot right after too. after a while, even if you mean to go straight, he'll probably be waiting for your cues instead of knowing you want to go straight and pulling some funny business.


        • Original Poster

          Thanks everyone. We do all sorts of variations of jumps... singles, gymnastics, etc. I will try the turning and setting oddly angled jumps...however, even turning becomes a problem when he does this. It's really a very forceful plunging of the head and neck. It turns into quite the argument sometimes.
          Would it be a horrible idea to put very loose anti-grazing reins on him while jumping very small jumps (under 2') just to break him of the habit?
          My CANTER cutie Chip and IHSA shows!


          • #6
            I wouldn't do the grazing reins. I'd try a turn right after to a jump that is big enough for him to respect, yet small enough that you can bury him at it, and he can get over it, but will have to try. And I'd intentionally let him bury himself at it, if he lands not paying attention and trying to screw around. I guarantee that the next time you jump that line, he'll land paying attention to you.

            Jet will do exactly what you describe if I jump the same line more than once, if the jumps are low. Doing a sharp turn and letting another jump surprise him, will get him paying attention again. But his expression was priceless. Kind of an "Oh $hit!" type of look, and then was all "Yes, maam?" when we jumped the line again...


            • #7
              What is important is that he's perfect during the shows.
              You can allow those playing moment, because, as other have said, it's because the horse is bored by repeated jumps.

              The real problem is when horse is perfect at home and playing during the competition
              "If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, And treat those two imposters just the same"
              Rudyard Kipling
              Quartz Rouge


              • #8
                I would ask him to jump a line and then after the last jump IMMEDIATELY put him on a circle. This will rock him back on his hocks and make him come up in front. I seel a lot of riders who do not RIDE the corners, they jump down the line and then the horse just "falls thru" the corners,. which shoulder bulging and they fall on the forehand. If ytou insist on a correct circle, with correct bend and you sit down on him, instead of being in a half seat, he will be gin to expect that and automatically begin rocking back when he lands. Just make your circle in the corner and repeat the circle as many times as needed until he is balanced and on his hocks, then you can ride thru the corner to another line. Make sure also that your approach to a new line has a properly ridden corner, and if need be, make a circle in the corner before approaching the new line. Its about balance.