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Anticipation....issues with over fence work

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  • Anticipation....issues with over fence work

    Okay so I know I just got back from a show, but the other day I was working on SIMPLE lead changes because he anticipates so badly he takes off, throws his head up, sometimes gets it or doesn't, then settles before the next fence.

    I tried working on halting after fences before he anticipates and this gives me a VERY mad horse! Its to the point where we come into a line beautifully and then bolt down the line, land and take off in an attempt of a change.

    We have used ground poles and he knows what they are for and actually does the change before the poles on the ground...to smart for his own good.

    But does anyone have any exercises that I could work on to get him to stay calm and stead between fences and to land and not anticipate? It seems to be a big thing holding us back.

    Calm & Collected, 13, OTTB
    Forrest Gump (Catasauqua) , 17, OTTB
    Little Bit Indian, 29, TB
    Owner of Spur of the Moment, Custom made spur straps! Find us on Facebook

  • #2
    Hi, Maybe try throwing in a gymnastic line where he normally bolts, may back him off. Always change things around, never do the same thing twice. I am dealing with this as well and these ideas help. Good luck.


    • #3
      What about a circle? Just circle him out until his canter calms down, come down to the trot and simple him to go to the correct lead.

      Jumps on a circle sometimes help that as well. And will make him learn to land the lead after a jump. I need to work on that. Chance changes in the front, but not behind. He's got a dreadful lead change so we mask it by trying to just land it.

      I would totally mix it up. You're guy seems really smart so he'll figure it out quickly and anticipate that this time we change leads/circle out/canter the pole/halt, etc.


      • Original Poster

        Originally posted by HRF Second Chance View Post
        What about a circle? Just circle him out until his canter calms down, come down to the trot and simple him to go to the correct lead.

        Jumps on a circle sometimes help that as well. And will make him learn to land the lead after a jump. I need to work on that. Chance changes in the front, but not behind. He's got a dreadful lead change so we mask it by trying to just land it.

        I would totally mix it up. You're guy seems really smart so he'll figure it out quickly and anticipate that this time we change leads/circle out/canter the pole/halt, etc.
        haha...that's our problem hes too smart for his own good! and we have done the fence on a circle with both ground poles before and after and he is a champ over that exercise. Singles he is perfect over, though yesterday he landed on the correct lead and still tossed his head, sped up, then settled before the corner.

        When we do these exercises it takes about 3 times and he knows what he is suppose to do...ie lead change, back off, etc. Yesterday I jumped in the line halted, turned around and tried again and only let him continue to the next fence until he wasn't rushing and it took us two halts by the third time he was so slow I thought I needed leg! However then we ended up cantering sideways down the line, but I dealt with it considering the point yesterday was slow and steady.

        I'm not 100% balanced on him and actually lean left, hence why we always land left and I know I am inhibiting what he is doing, but I am definitely working on that by strengthening my lower leg to hold me better.

        Thanks for the tips though!
        Calm & Collected, 13, OTTB
        Forrest Gump (Catasauqua) , 17, OTTB
        Little Bit Indian, 29, TB
        Owner of Spur of the Moment, Custom made spur straps! Find us on Facebook


        • #5
          Sometimes - and its tough to say if it applies without actually seeing the horse - bolting is from insecurity with jumping and too much pressure from too many extra things (like poles, draw reins and so on). Unfortunately correcting it by halting after the fence too strongly or adding placement poles just ramps up the pressure when the problem may call for taking the pressure off the horse.

          If you think this is the case, maybe try removing the poles, making a single jump that is very easy (3-6" less than what you are typically jumping) and work on more quiet/patient exercises. walk until the horse is relaxed, then maybe trot to the fence on a fairly short line (not a long build to it) and if he rushes too badly, just quietly circle until he is quiet again, then repeat.

          After the fence, don't react, but 2-3 strides after, quietly ask him to slow down to a walk. Let it take as much time as it needs to be a quiet calm transition (even if he is halfway around the ring again.

          Wash, rinse, repeat.

          If it is insecurity/fear, eventually (being the key word), this will take that part of the response away from the equation. You still have to work with why the horse got that way to ebgin with, but you may be back to a horse who is not rushing before/after the fence.

          Or, none of the above could apply and he's just being a dick. It's been known to happen in the equine world.
          Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.


          • #6
            Try softening your seat, and staying in 2 pt. In the videos you posted, you tend to sit really deep, and sometimes get your leg in front of you so you are driving with your seat. It really will help.

            Teach him some kind of word/prhase as a relaxation cue. Like a long drawn out "Eaaasssyyy", or something like that. Use it when grooming a spot he likes, transitioning from a working walk to walk on loose rein, etc. The key is to teach him to associate it with really relaxing. Then use it when half halting, to encourage him to relax. Do not use it at first when he is "up" and you are trying to get him to slow down/relax. Only do that AFTER you have taught him to associate the word with good, relaxing things. Then start using it when needed, with a half halt.


            • #7
              If he settles that quickly, I might suggest you have a trainer or knowledgeable friend watch you jump through a few lines to see if there are things you are unconsciously doing which cause him to react on landing. You might be anticipating the quickness at this point and riding defensively as a result, or you may be executing the halt too aggressively for this particular horse, which can add to the problem. Sometimes it is simply a matter of not carrying enough impulsion to the first jump in a line for the horse to canter out easily - and that can cause them to land and get quick.

              The other thing you might try is to have a pro ride him and see if the horse canters the line differently - if this has become a habit, it might take a short while to get the horse to relax and take a deep breath before you see a difference, but it should become obvious fairly quickly.

              Another great exercise is to put the first fence, an easy vertical, somewhere on the center line of your ring, rather than on the long sides, and have two options for the "out" jump - one on a bending line to the left, and one on a bending line to the right. Give yourself enough room between the two out jumps so that you can also treat the "in" as a single, and just land cantering straight away. Depending on how the horse lands, you can choose the best option to keep him soft and rideable. If he lands on the left lead and is soft and relaxed, you can just gently guide him on a smooth bending line to jump the "out" on the left. If he lands and gets quick, you can just continue straight ahead and settle him. If he lands on the right lead, you can softly ride him on a gentle bend to catch the out on the right side.
              We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


              • #8
                Try canter poles after the jump/in between jumps. Will get him thinking


                • #9
                  A good trainer once told me that if the horse gets quick after the change, practice doing a change and then walking. Don't continue cantering once you get the change. Do this many times at home and even in the schooling pen at a show. They start to associate the lead change with slowing down instead of getting quick.


                  • #10
                    Flatwork, flatwork, flatwork.

                    Taking the jumping out and/or just have them as poles on the ground btw standards.
                    www.brydellefarm.com ....developing riders, NOT passengers!
                    Member of LNHorsemanshipT & Proud of It Clique
                    "What gets me up every morning is realizing how much more there is still to learn." -GHM


                    • Original Poster

                      Thanks everyone! We are actually gonna try and set up the exercise that Lucassb was talking about. Yesterday we worked over a simple X with ground poles on both sides and we learned how to ask the lead over the fence and worked every time and he was so much more relaxed. I still want him to learn the changes on the flat, but if for right now it settles him we will try that route, but later this week we will try the other jumping exercise.

                      He's just too smart for his own good!
                      Calm & Collected, 13, OTTB
                      Forrest Gump (Catasauqua) , 17, OTTB
                      Little Bit Indian, 29, TB
                      Owner of Spur of the Moment, Custom made spur straps! Find us on Facebook


                      • #12
                        Try throwing in walk transitions rather than halts. Some horses hate being brought all the way down to the halt because it seems to "trap" the energy rather than redirecting it. Plus it is usually easier to keep the horse relaxed and loose at the walk than at the halt. After your horse starts to relax and not fight so much, then try to throw in some halt transitions but don't over do it.


                        • #13
                          Gymnastics are great for teaching a horse a skill like waiting AND working on your position. At Millar Brooke Farm, they start every jump school on every horse with a gymnastic. Seems to be working for them

                          Amy Millar posted 3 of the grids they use in the 5 Minute Clinic at getmyfix.org. There are variations for different skill levels. Maybe one of those would help?
                          Enabling hunter/jumper addicts everywhere.