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Lazy Legs

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  • Lazy Legs

    Our just turned 5 yo Hanoverian gelding is coming along nicely over fences and under saddle, except for the fact that he is lazy with his front legs, frequently hitting the jumps or taking down a pole completely. He is still schooling at 2'6 and 2'9, and is quiet and straight at this height. He is a BIG horse and measures just under 17 hands. What exercises would you recommed to help him be sharper with his legs? He is training for the hunter ring as an A/O.
    Last edited by happyhacker; Jun. 6, 2011, 08:18 PM. Reason: delete

  • #2
    He may simply be uninterested to jump such a small fence. I would bump them up a bit and see if he doesn't pay more attention.

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    • #3
      Is it that he is lazy, or perhaps that he is still growing and not always 100% sure of how to use his body and get his legs out of the way? How is he free jumping (without the weight of the rider)? I think I would try to figure out what is wrong with his jumping effort (is he landing too early, not coming up quick enough, getting too close or to far off) and then use grids and poles to help him learn a proper jumping effort. Some fill under the jump (something safe) may also help him judge the jumps better.
      Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

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      • #4
        Does he jump reasonably well or is he hanging his front end? If he is jumping ok and just not careful, I have found that usually comes with time as he learns to get his legs out of the way. Be sure to use good heavy wood poles so he feels it and no boots to protect him. He will figure it out!

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        • #5
          Big lugs like that often learn to pick their feet up jumping heavy logs in the woods... They don't move the way the poles do! It sounds like he's trying to figure out where to put his parts. Like others suggested, you could also just make the jumps a little more sizable to see if he respects them more.

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          • #6
            All other input is good, but here are some exercises you might try:

            My favorite for getting them sharper is a single BIIIIG X. Put the end of each rail high up in a jump cup (depends on the length of your poles but for me it's around the 3'6-4' setting) so the X is at least 2'9 at the center, with one pole on each side 9' out. That "squeeze" really gets them paying attention to getting their legs up and out of the way, and the rail on landing makes them stay focused so they don't just "laze out" after the fence. Make things interesting later on by making it an X-oxer.

            Trot poles to raised cavalletti to a high X, or ramp oxer maybe 2'9 in front, & bump it up to 3' in back to ask for that extra effort.

            Lastly, some bounce to one-stride gymnastics again with the big, tight X's. Usually 2-3 bounces in a row with a one-stride to the last fence gets the message across. Last fence can also be changed at the end to a regular fence (vertical or oxer) to "test" the horse's response.

            Other than that, just give him time. He's still young and still has some ways to develop & build before he can employ his skill & sharpness to the fullest. Take these exercises slow, keep them interesting (the fill idea is great), and gradually move up in height and no doubt you'll see him grow in leaps & bounds both physically and mentally!

            Good luck with him!

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              This horse can and does jump very nice over some things.
              ( Wish I knew how to post a picture on this bulletin board. )
              Then sometimes he "swims" over the jumps. I agree that he is still figuring out what to do with his big ole body. Love the suggestions for exercises.

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