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What to Do With the Young Jumper?

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  • What to Do With the Young Jumper?

    I recently bought a 6 yr old Hanoverian/TB gelding as a hunter prospect. Issues I saw during the trial ride were ones I thought a. I could fix and b. were mostly due to lack of riding

    Turns out, I was wrong Lesson learned but now I have a horse on my hands that definitely wants to be a jumper and I have limited experience in that arena. My trainer is my mother & she's very busy with her paying clients so my horses always get pushed to the back of the line.

    The horse is a forward going, powerful horse. He can be dog quiet on the flat and over a few little jumps (hence the reason I thought he could be a hunter) but lights up over courses or as soon as the jumps go up.

    This is my question: When the horse wants to build too much to the jump; do I let him in hopes that he will learn to back himself off or do I hold him for the distance I want. This horse also has a habit of throwing his body into the air when the jumps start to go up instead of rocking back. I've tried gymnastics and he's better but still tends to jump up too high with his body.

    Back in my teenage years, I remember setting fences for a BNT jumper rider and he consistently rode the horse right to the base which I assumed was to teach the horse to rock back. I've tried that with this horse but he builds so much on the approach that he ends up with too much pace & jumps with his shoulder from the momentum. Or he puts 3 strides in front of the jump where he should be putting 4 - he's still at the base when he takes off but obviously with too much step.

    If I hold him together more; he can't build as much but he still pulls me past where I want him to be on the take-off. Should I just hike up the fence & let him clobber it once or twice? Don't want to scare him (nothing much phases him though) but I also want him to figure it out a little on his own instead of relying on his rider to set it up for him.

    One exercise I thought might help is landing and take-off rails over square oxers at about 3'3". This will help the building issue but I don't think it will address the throwing the body issue. One thing at a time perhaps?

    Thoughts?

    I added a few pics so you can get an idea of what I am trying to explain:

    http://pets.webshots.com/photo/23579...97913210VnDgGp

    http://pets.webshots.com/photo/20809...97913210QIwZRr

    I know, I know - I'm jumping ahead - really & truthfully, sometimes I feel like I just want to get OFF his back; he's so powerful that I feel like if I stay back [I][I]where I should be, he'll launch me.

    Ok, I decided to be brave and post a video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWSUeHoHy8E

    I don't normally flat him so easily.
    Last edited by Czar; Oct. 4, 2010, 01:53 PM.
    \"Don\'t go throwing effort after foolishness\" >>>Spur, Man From Snowy River

  • #2
    I can see why you wanted him to be a hunter Very cute.

    But, I get two impressions: A) He's one of those deer style jumpers - kind of a bit old school (I have an image of black & white picture of a calvary guy, one-handed tight release, looking back to watch the hind end clear the jump in my head), everything's about the hind end, front-end be damned, or... B) something about the film gives me a feeling he's back sore (tail, lack of extension at the trot, seems to fuss when contact is taken up)

    Will say I think the triple is set a bit long for him and that's only encouraging the style... but, if you are coming in collected in an effort to keep him from rushing, then he's probably rushing to make it down the line
    EHJ | FB | #140 | watch | #insta

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    • #3
      He doesn't look that bad!

      I would work a lot more on the flat getting him to be much more responsive. Forward and back, upward and downward transitions. He likes to poke his nose out and go a little flat - so you're going to have to work a bit.

      Over fences, you try to carry a pace that's just a little too conservative for the type of horse/height of fences. Don't be afraid of the pace. I would also place ground lines out a little from the base of the fence - it helps young horses learn where to take off. I would also probably put a bounce pole, or one stride pole before or after to teach him to properly balance himself to and from the fence. Raise the fences gradually during the work out so it's not such a drastic difference for you and the horse to go from 2' warm up to 3'3 oxers. Also make sure to keep your body quiet - if you move a bit too much, it'll throw the horse off and make him jump faster.

      I just finished re-reading Klimke's book on Cavalletti. There's a lot of great tips and very specific instruction on how to use them and the basics of teaching a horse to jump. It's a short read and pretty easy to get through. I'd recommend it.

      Oh and if he were mine, he'd be on a diet! Haha. Pulling the weight off can have some athletic advantages.

      He's not bad though!

      Comment


      • #4
        Isn't this horse for sale? Are you selling him because he isn't suitable as a hunter?

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Thanks for the response.

          I've had the chiro. check him over b/c I wondered about that too (he'd gone from a couple rides a week to a full schedule with jumping higher than he used to) and he isn't sore...just opinionated. I kind of chalk it up to his personality, which he has a lot of He's kind of bullish to handle & he's surprisingly sensitive to leg.

          I've been trying to be non-interfering when I've been flatting him (which is probably why he's not extending the trot since I'm barely touching him with my leg ) but I think it's time to get into him a little. He's much happier now than when I first got him and he's getting ridden more consistently so he needs to learn to start accepting more training. I'm not too worried about it as even though he can be a lot of horse; he's not disobedient and in general, he likes to please.

          And his jumping style...sigh...it is what it is.

          but, if you are coming in collected in an effort to keep him from rushing, then he's probably rushing to make it down the line

          This is my whole issue - if I let him go forward; he eats it up and jumps over his shoulder. So, as you see in the video, I hold him off a bit which yes, makes the lines longer but I suspect if I didn't, he'd be jumping THROUGH the triple.
          \"Don\'t go throwing effort after foolishness\" >>>Spur, Man From Snowy River

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by MumboJumbo View Post
            Isn't this horse for sale? Are you selling him because he isn't suitable as a hunter?
            There's a no advertising policy on this forum which is why the video I posted does not mention he is for sale but yes, he is not suitable for what I wanted...but I still have to ride him which is why I posted this thread.

            And thanks for the advice sptraining! It's funny you mention the pace - when I do get my mother to watch me for a minute; she's always harping on me about the pace It's my hunter background - I just want it to be nice and flowy And I will definitely pick up the book.

            And as to his weight....the vet just told me the same thing! But I like nice fat hunters!!!
            \"Don\'t go throwing effort after foolishness\" >>>Spur, Man From Snowy River

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            • #7
              I agree with almost all of what sptraining has to say.

              On the flat you allow him to go around at the same pace the whole time. Work on the flat on making him go forward and collect. When riding a jumper over jumps you are not going to go one single slow pace the whole time - so make sure you start with the adjustibility on the flat. It might help you to to work on making him a little more compact - bring his hind end under him a little bit more.

              It looks to me like you are trying to canter way to slowly around the corners - try carrying more pace in the turn and then allowing your horse to slow down a little bit to the jumps. As the jumps get bigger you might have to reverse your ride a little bit and ride up to the jumps a bit more, but at this height the jumps probably won't hold him much.

              Finally, I think that your body is encouraging him to speed up in front of the jumps and off the ground. Stay further back with your body and allow your horse to jump up to you. Also, you release seems a bit exaggerated over some of the jumps - perhaps a shorter release would work better.

              Comment


              • #8
                That sounds a lot like my mare. She is a TB and part of the issue was that she thought she was right. If I tried to tell her to wait she would grab the bit even harder run past the distance and clobber the fence. If when she went to grab the bit, I dropped her she would leave the fence up but it was kinda scary at times.

                What I figured out with her thought it that fighting her was the worst thing to do. I had to teach her what I wanted. I went back to my flat work to get her much more adjustable in the canter, so she would understand that I wanted her to collect her stride. This helped a bunch! I also put placement poles on either side of a trot jump and raised it slowly. This helped her learn to rock back and used the hind end.

                She is probably the smartest horse I have ever ridden which is good and bad. She learns quick, but I also have to prove to her that my way is better than her way. Did I mention she is an alpha mare. She is a trip though. BUT she is getting it! Listen to me getting to the base and rocking back. On the occasion that she tries to take over and I know its not going to end good, I just let her and hang on. We are not jumping huge, so no worries of us getting hurt, more just an ugly fence. The next time we head to the jump, she decides to listen to me and it works out much better.

                She is a trip and my first horse that I have done from the ground up and not an easy one at that.

                She however does lift her front end and doesn't have the deer jump so to speak like your horse. She can be slow with it on the pat the ground distances as she is still really learning to rock back, but its coming!

                I agree that I would work him on smaller set triple to encourage him to rock back and use himself. Truthfully though, I would go back to flat work. I also thought he may be sore somewhere. Also placement poles as suggested in the above post would be good as well. They allow you to let him teach himself what to do instead of fighting with him.

                Good luck, he is super cute.
                I love cats, I love every single cat....
                So anyway I am a cat lover
                And I love to run.

                Comment


                • #9
                  The toughest thing I had to learn for the eq was to let my horse canter forward. It felt like we were speeding, but once I got comfortable at that pace, my horse jumped better and it was easier to get the spots. I still to this day prefer to have the horse go collected and quiet and have to remind myself that they need a little more pace to get around nicely.

                  Roll out those groundlines and play with cavallettis. Seriously. The beauty is that it takes *you* out of the equation. Set up "learning exercises" and let him figure it out on his own. Slowly take away the crutches and voila, problem solved. It won't happen overnight, but it'll happen a lot faster than trying to get him to listen to you. Training is all about setting up good habits so create situations in which he can develop good habits.

                  Pulling the weight off him too will help him and he *might* just jump a bit better. I knew a horse that was heavy like yours and he had a horrible time trying to get around the ring. Pulled off 200lbs and he was moving 100x better...

                  Seriously though, he's not that bad. I've seen way worse. And have seen way worse get fixed.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by amt813 View Post
                    Also, you release seems a bit exaggerated over some of the jumps - perhaps a shorter release would work better.
                    More contact off the ground? I wondered about this - I've seen some jumper riders almost "pick" their horse up off the ground in front of the jump. I was hoping that if he had his head and I got him to the base that he would rock back but I don't think that's going to happen.
                    \"Don\'t go throwing effort after foolishness\" >>>Spur, Man From Snowy River

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by sptraining View Post

                      Seriously though, he's not that bad. I've seen way worse. And have seen way worse get fixed.
                      Thank you! I'll admit I've been pretty discouraged with him - he didn't turn out at all how I thought he would (my bad for not reading him better) and the whole jumping style thing I thought I could get him to jump better and I may yet still, but he's NEVER going to snap his knees. I guess as long as he's careful and ridable; it won't matter so much at the lower levels.
                      \"Don\'t go throwing effort after foolishness\" >>>Spur, Man From Snowy River

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        From your description, I was expecting much, much worse. He does bid a little to the fence, but he looks rideable the stride or two afterward, which is better than a lot of horses.

                        I don't think he's hopeless as a hunter. Like others have said, you need to carry more pace and then he won't seem to rush as much.

                        I'd do some gymnastics, set fairly short, to get that front end working... Trot in to a big rampy crossrail, bounce to a vertical, and one stride to a Swedish will do wonders for him, I'd think.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          My junior jumper was so forward and our of control that my trainer frequently had me walk into gymnastics and if he was really being a pud, I'd have to halt him in the middle of a line and walk out of the line. We never walked anything bigger than 3'6" or so, but it was the only way to get the "Red B@stard" to slow his body and mind down. I use this trick frequently with babies who get too ahead of themselves at ground rails or tiny X's and it works wonders.
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Czar View Post
                            Thank you! I'll admit I've been pretty discouraged with him - he didn't turn out at all how I thought he would (my bad for not reading him better) and the whole jumping style thing I thought I could get him to jump better and I may yet still, but he's NEVER going to snap his knees. I guess as long as he's careful and ridable; it won't matter so much at the lower levels.
                            My eq horse had a somewhat unconventional style of jumping but he still made a good eq/jumper horse. Just couldn't get him deep to anything if you wanted it to look pretty.

                            He might not ever snap up those knees like a six figure hunter, but there's still a huge market for things that are nice, sane, and safe. The best thing you can do is make him nice for someone else by putting solid experience and a brain on him.

                            And don't be discouraged. Warmbloods don't grow up until they're 7 or 8. I'm pretty convinced that with most of them, you're just biding your time and putting good solid miles on them until they reach that age. It just takes some of them longer to figure out their job.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Czar View Post
                              More contact off the ground? I wondered about this - I've seen some jumper riders almost "pick" their horse up off the ground in front of the jump. I was hoping that if he had his head and I got him to the base that he would rock back but I don't think that's going to happen.
                              I am not really referring to "picking" your horse of the ground - he seems to have plenty of jump to jump the height that you are at.

                              My observations from watching the video is that he seems to get a bit quick before the jump and then quick across the jump, flattening out. He also is a little slow and drapy up front, which could result in having rails.

                              It appears to me that at some jumps you would throw your body and hands up his neck - which only encourages the flat, quick, skimming across the jump jump.

                              I think most important is that you have to first slow your body down, and stay a bit more open over the jumps and allow your horse to jump up to you. However, you might also try a shorter release to slow his jump down a bit and not allow him to get so quick across the jumps. By throwing your hands and body forward in an exaggerated matter is not helping your horse to rock back and jump up - but only to get quicker and skim across the jumps. I think you need to try to keep him on his hind end as he leaves the ground, and this may require you to hold him off the ground a little bit, and then a shorter release to keep him slow across the jump.

                              If you were going into the jumper show ring tomorrow I might also suggest that you hold him off the ground a little bit to protect his front end from having rails. As I mentioned above, he is a bit drapy and slow in the front end. Therefore, in order for him to jump clean you might have to hold his front end a little bit off the jumps to avoid have rails - however, as training at home, you probably don't want to protect him all the time, but allow him to hit a few and get a little sharper on his own.

                              Hopefully this makes some amount of sense - I need to give my trainer more credit - its hard to put these things into words sometimes!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                He's a nice looking horse. I can see why you took a chance with him. I agree with the previous comments about groundwork. He seems to like his job and will likely be good at it. You already know he'll go over the jumps. HE knows what to do at the jumps. So, let that part go for now. He needs to learn how to balance up. IMO, it will only happen with cavaletti/gymnastics. Good luck. He'll be a nice project for someone, if you sell him.

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                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by amt813 View Post
                                  As I mentioned above, he is a bit drapy and slow in the front end. Therefore, in order for him to jump clean you might have to hold his front end a little bit off the jumps to avoid have rails - however, as training at home, you probably don't want to protect him all the time, but allow him to hit a few and get a little sharper on his own.
                                  Makes sense - my original thought was to let go to see if that was why he was being so drapey up front (as in, someone had held onto his face too much when he was started o/f) but I'm thinking that is not working

                                  And as to my jumping position/slowing my body down...that is EXACTLY why I don't do jumpers. I get all crazy in the jumper ring - it isn't pretty. The faster things come up; the crazier I get. That's why I stick to the hunters - single, outside, diagonal, outside with LOTS of room in between to calm down
                                  \"Don\'t go throwing effort after foolishness\" >>>Spur, Man From Snowy River

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                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by 49th_parallel View Post
                                    He's a nice looking horse. I can see why you took a chance with him. I agree with the previous comments about groundwork. He seems to like his job and will likely be good at it. You already know he'll go over the jumps. HE knows what to do at the jumps. So, let that part go for now. He needs to learn how to balance up. IMO, it will only happen with cavaletti/gymnastics. Good luck. He'll be a nice project for someone, if you sell him.
                                    Thanks He really IS a good boy - he's got a lot of power so he's not a super easy ride but like I said, he's not disobedient and he tries really, really hard. But I do have to say, this is the last time I will EVER buy anything already going over jumps. I'll stick with my 3 yr olds - he was just so pretty
                                    \"Don\'t go throwing effort after foolishness\" >>>Spur, Man From Snowy River

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                                    • #19
                                      What does he do when you try to ride him a little more into the bridle on the flat?

                                      Does he get hot? Does he curl up? Does he toss his head? Does he lift to evade?

                                      To me, it looks like he is just lacking the basic rideability he needs in order to jump better.

                                      I think if you put the time into some dressage work and jumping only carefully thought out gymnastics, he may come a long ways.
                                      Proud Member of the "Tidy Rabbit Tinfoil Hat Wearers" clique and the "I'm in my 30's and Hope to be a Good Rider Someday" clique

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                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        When I got this horse, he was so behind the vertical that I could barely touch his face. I spent the first month just flatting him around without bugging him in hopes that he would "uncurl" on his own.

                                        He did. My next goal on the flat is to get him to accept leg. He's very sensitive to leg - you'll notice in the video whenever I put a little pressure on him, he swishes his tail. I've known for a while that he needs to go to flatwork boot camp and I have been doing more with him lately; I've just wanted to take it slow so I don't undo him completely. He's the kind of horse that you work WITH, not force. He gets rather upset if he's drilled.

                                        I'd like to get him going where he accepts seat & leg more; he's a little hard for me to "get around" and he seems to like a lighter seat and if I ride him on the flat in a lighter seat; he goes around nicely without swishing his tail or trying to drag me. However, when we start to jump; I have to go to my seat more and he's reacting too much to it.
                                        \"Don\'t go throwing effort after foolishness\" >>>Spur, Man From Snowy River

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