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Help with getting my horse to relax and not rush jumps

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  • Help with getting my horse to relax and not rush jumps

    So I am looking for some suggestions!

    I have an Arabian mare, 15 years old that I got 3 years ago. She is 14 hands and when I jump I usually jump 2 to 2'6 ish. So we DEFINITELY are not A rated or even close but we're working on it! I love jumping (as in Hunters, aka jumping but not going as fast as you possibly can) but I need some tips for keeping her from rushing! Sometimes when we start jumping she just gets really tense and starts rushing as soon as she realizes we are approaching a jump then she really gets going after the jumps. I have been trying really hard to make sure I am releasing plenty enough over the jumps so I don't hit her in the mouth and give her something to be scared about. Do you think it's something I'm doing? Or is she just nervous?

    So have you guys had similar problems? And how did you overcome them? I need any help I can get!!! Thanks!

  • #2
    Set up a cross rail on a circle. Begin trotting over it on the circle. Keep coming back to it, transitioning back down to trot as soon as possible after the jump. Use little half halts to get her attention and try to keep her supple throughout the exercise. After she's slow and relaxed at the trot, try cantering the cross rail, still staying on your circle.
    Incorperate this exercise into most of your jumping as well. If you feel her rushing to the second jump in a line, circle over the first one a few times. If you feel her getting tense and rushing towards single fences, circle before the fence a few times. Lots of circle work will get her supple and bending, which should help her relax and slow down to the jumps.


    • #3
      My trainer and I, well me with trainer yelling every now and then since I'm shorter, are working with a medium welsh mare that does this. So this is all coming from what I have done and my opinions on what helped and what didn't.
      Is she rushing/changing pace by herself on the flat? Anything you do on the flat will transition to over fences. I spent days getting the welsh listening to me 100% at the walk and trot, another week adding the canter, and just today started jumping. I did a lot of work over poles on the flat days, keeping her collected and listening and not rushing the "jump."
      Just a thought, but could she be picking up on your body signals? If you know she is going to rush could you be anticipating it and actually telling her to rush? If maybe, try thinking about nothing except the nice slow rhythm you established and keep contact over the fence (not catching her mouth just keeping some feel) That way she knows that you are still in control and she can not take off after the jump.


      • #4
        put a pole a stride out in front of the jump and after the jump about 5' on the other side (within the stride after the fence). this forces them to think about the poles as wells as the jump and they will slow themselves down.


        • #5
          i used to ride a arab x that did the samething..and what seemed to work for him is putting trot poles before and after jump. sorta like this ||| X |||
          gets the horse to think slower coming up to a jump,cuz for them to do poles correctly they have to slow down.

          then graduated to canter poles, | | X | |

          and then when that is going better for both of you gradually take them away.its a lil more involved,but it worked for me.

          the above ideas/suggestions are good as well.especially bigeqxo's


          • #6
            Could you post a video? It might be something you are doing that is cuing her to rush, especially if you are forward and trying to stay out of her way.


            • #7
              Go back to the very, very beginning.

              My favorite pair of BNTs added this to my repertoire: Asking the horse to stop over a pole on the ground.

              You can start at the walk. It doesn't matter how you get the job done, but the mare needs to halt and chill with one pair of legs on either side of the pole. She needs to remember that an obstacle means "go slower, not go faster."

              When you have that, do the same at the trot. If she doesn't give you a soft transition, you can walk a few strides before and still end up with her legs on either side of the pole. Do this enough times and she'll begin to slow down and rock back on her haunches before a pole. That hind-end action and "waiting" attitude is what you want. It is what enables you to give her a soft ride to a fence that doesn't add to her fear or "conflict of interest"-- a fence that tells her to run and you telling her to stop.

              When you have that "waiting" trot, you can surprise her and keep going. You'll just softly let her continue over the pole at the trot. If she gets quick or tense at all, softly stop her on a straight line and chill. Again, you are teaching her that *nothing* about jumping is fast or includes a ride that's harsher than the one you give her on the flat.

              Then do all this again with the canter. You probably will need to come down to the trot before the pole to get that accurate stop. Be sure to stand there over the pole for a moment to let her mind slow down.

              When you can get her to stop over a pole from a canter without too much fuss, you have what you need. Then you can add the next exercise that is "traditional" and what others have suggested-- a cross trail with "cheat rails" placed about 9 ft out (or perhaps 8 feet for your little mare). The purpose of those is to tell her where to leave the ground and to land in a way that creates a soft distance for her without a controlling ride from you.

              You can continue to use cheat rails with verticals and oxers, too. You'll roll them out as the size of the fence increases. But you can always come back to a pole on the ground, even mid course!

              Truly, the BNT hunter pros spend a lot of time with their young horses getting them to go slowly and to wait when they first start jumping. Don't be surprised if you have to do this, too. It's so worth it in the end!
              The armchair saddler
              Politically Pro-Cat


              • #8
                Do you have a decent half halt on your horse which says "stay with me, use your hind end"? If you have a horse who wants to rush, but also can rebalance and get your horse's mind back with you any time you want, you should be able to get the balance you need prior to the jump and go over it nicely without too much trouble. The exercises other posters have given you will help you get there - but you need to be able to ask for that balance, and learn to get the response you want. The exercises are aids to help you train yourself and your horse.

                I'm not talking about any kind of yanking on the horse's face or anything, but working on asking for the balance the exercises help create so you can just subtly shift and ask your horse to sit instead of rushing (since rushing is usually partnered with falling on the forehand), and let your forward flow continue at the same time.
                If Kim Kardashian wants to set up a gofundme to purchase the Wu Tang album from Martin Shkreli, guess what people you DON'T HAVE TO DONATE.


                • Original Poster

                  Thanks So much guys!!!!! Your help is greatly appreciated!! I will be trying all these suggestions haha looks like I have my work cut out for me!


                  • #10
                    Shoulder-in, Shoulder-in, Shoulder-in!!

                    Can't stress this enough, stop jamming the brakes on with the hands - either flex her using your legs or displace the shoulder so she cannot rush.