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How do you start your horses over fences?

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  • How do you start your horses over fences?

    Just a question.

    How do you start your horses over fences?
    Free lunging through a chute, single cross rails, gymnastics of some sort?

  • #2
    I haven't started many but the ones I have or been involved with we have usually started with X-rails moving towards ones with placing poles and small gymnastics early on. Also start adding "scary" stuff very early on and they learn pretty quickly that its not scary at all. Sometimes it had depended on the horse how much trotting jumps versus cantering them goes. Some of the very lazy ones needed to canter to actually stay in front of my leg and mostly cantered stuff at first. Others that were more nervous we trotted more. With most also did not do x-rails forever or itty bitty jumps for much other than learning they go over no matter what (so a size they could walk over easily mattered). I have tried to add in some larger jumps as they got better early on (nothing to overface of course, talking about jumps that are 2'6"+, I have known people who will jump x-rails or verticals under 2' for months).

    Since I have worked with a variety of different horses it has been done different ways. Some have been very broke on the flat and just didn't know how to jump and others were just plain green. I also spent time trotting over poles and especially poles between standards for the super green ones.

    I have found that jumping more solid types of jumps early on help them be confident later, as jumping stuff with good ground lines, and being smart of course about trying new things. If they are being dumb on the flat that day I often didn't jump unless they improved a ton at the end then might do one easy jump. Adding a few jumps every day or every other ride helped at the very beginning (when some might be trying to decide if the jumps eat horses or not). If it is super easy for the horse I try not to do as much because they tend to get bored and if they look like they have a lot of talent you don't want them to get sloppy either.

    I know everyone has their own way of doing it, and like I said I am not sure I have done one the same way every time.
    http://community.webshots.com/user/jenn52318

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    • #3
      I've started quite a few horses over fences. When I am flatting a green horse, I start incoroprating poles on the ground, walk, trot, canter. Then I usuall trot a simple X, and see what they do. On occassion, I have some that struggle, not understanding the X, so we go to a low vertical, about 12-18" instead. Sometimes, I think visually, they have a hard time correlating the pole to the X, but the vertical makes sense to them.

      Once they have popped over something we just plug away from there, introducing new elements as the horse gets brave. Gymnastics are dependant on the horse, some are naturally braver than others, and some are insecure at first. I think a gynmastic can be overwhelming to some geen horses.

      I like to trot small jumps on a cirlce, also.

      Comment


      • #4
        Jimmy Wofford's book on gymnastics is VERY helpful. It is currently out of print but there are still copies on Amazon.

        Make sure your horse is well balanced in all three gaits and that you have transitions between gaits and that your horse can bend well both directions first.

        Get a ground person to help you.

        Happy jumping!

        Comment


        • #5
          Courses, seriously, I start over courses of jumps. I have hunters so my goal for a young one is to travel straight and bend in the corners on a whole course.

          I start one by setting up a course of rails, walking, trotting, then cantering the "course". For me this is an extension of flatwork and it will tell you what your deficit areas are. Then I add flower boxes, then X's, then gates, etc. until I have a 2' course, this process takes time I don't do it in one day. I move the jumps frequently and vary my approach so I don't end up with one that memorizes the pattern and can't deviate from it.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by mrsbradbury View Post
            I've started quite a few horses over fences. When I am flatting a green horse, I start incoroprating poles on the ground, walk, trot, canter. Then I usuall trot a simple X, and see what they do. On occassion, I have some that struggle, not understanding the X, so we go to a low vertical, about 12-18" instead. Sometimes, I think visually, they have a hard time correlating the pole to the X, but the vertical makes sense to them.

            Once they have popped over something we just plug away from there, introducing new elements as the horse gets brave. Gymnastics are dependant on the horse, some are naturally braver than others, and some are insecure at first. I think a gynmastic can be overwhelming to some geen horses.

            I like to trot small jumps on a cirlce, also.
            This. Plus, honestly, I start leading them over stuff as soon as they can lead. Before Q was even backed, he could hop over a ditch or a "pile" of 3 rails or a teensy flower box.
            "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief

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            • #7
              The ones I actually started from scratch went to Western but I always believed they all need to learn to be brave and go forward when told to go forward. Plus I mostly did Trail classes where a jump up to 30" was a possibility-that's 2'6" and could be a 50 gallon barrel on it's side or spread of some type like a pile of logs. Lope overs are nothing but a little multiple bounce gymnastic at 2'. Also Western Riding (a serpentine pattern class with a log to be jumped on an arc around a pylon without breaking rhythm, not Eq).

              Honestly, I think we can make too big a deal out of adding jumps to a good and well established canter. It should not be such a momentous project.

              IMO you start when you have gotten them confirmed w-t-c under saddle both directions by adding ground poles and building from there. That ought to be at about 60 days if you are on a proper schedual-that's, like, 40 rides. Keep it part of the flatwork and I also liked to do more then a single pole and make them into patterns and courses-keeps the colt interested and actually helps them gain balance and learn to keep a consistant pace.

              As they mature and/or you aim for a specific discipline, you can start adding height.

              But, I just hate seeing the OMG a fence method-it is no big deal-they know how to jump. Our job is to support, refine and direct that.

              Oh, I never free jumped or put a pole in a lunge circle-you can't help them if they make a mistake and you can teach them to stop or run around the pole as you have little directional control. And you don't need to do it anyway, won't help when you get on.
              When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

              The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by mrsbradbury View Post
                I've started quite a few horses over fences. When I am flatting a green horse, I start incoroprating poles on the ground, walk, trot, canter. Then I usuall trot a simple X, and see what they do. On occassion, I have some that struggle, not understanding the X, so we go to a low vertical, about 12-18" instead. Sometimes, I think visually, they have a hard time correlating the pole to the X, but the vertical makes sense to them.

                Once they have popped over something we just plug away from there, introducing new elements as the horse gets brave. Gymnastics are dependant on the horse, some are naturally braver than others, and some are insecure at first. I think a gynmastic can be overwhelming to some geen horses.

                I like to trot small jumps on a cirlce, also.
                This!!

                Comment


                • #9
                  I start with pole courses- I personally hate schooling greenies over fences who have no acknowledgment of flat work. For this reason I try to make sure that my greenies go walk trot, canter with a solid base of lead changes and can complete pole courses- bending through the corners, consistent lead changes and add fences from that point on.

                  While were schooling through our pole courses - I'll jump the odd cross rail, small verticle- get the idea over fences and slowly put two and two together.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I've started all of mine with the free jumping chute to begin with constructed like this. Once they are confident through the chute I will begin incorporating small jumps into my flat work and put them through the chute with a rider. I also am sure that they know how to do trot poles before they are ever introduced to a fence.

                    I prefer not to free lunge because it doesn't help them with their distances and I have found that one bad jump and their confidence can be lost quite easily.

                    I've found that the most important component is to build their confidence. Once the confidence is there, the rest falls into place.

                    Video of one of my then 4 year olds going through the chute for one of the first times (She was started that summer):

                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfVg1FXjbAM

                    Same horse 1 year later still using gymnastics to build confidence: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jaRqRlQ7ANU
                    Last edited by RyuEquestrian; Jul. 3, 2011, 11:30 AM.
                    Ryu Equestrian & Facebook Page
                    Breeding Horses Today, for the Equestrian Sport of Tomorrow.
                    Osteen & Gainesville, Florida.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Very nice in the first one...but that's not a "chute". It's a gymnastic with some ground poles acting as wings between the last elements.

                      My remarks about "chutes" not being particulalry helpful refer to the ones you send them thru without a rider. IMO those are of limited use while correctly consructed, ridden gymnastics as appropriate for that horse at that time are very helpful.
                      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Sorry, you are correct. I just meant that we use the same elements in our free jumping chute as we do with our ridden gymnastic. If they ened placement poles, then we use them, if not then they are taken out, but esseitnally the elements and distances are the same.
                        Ryu Equestrian & Facebook Page
                        Breeding Horses Today, for the Equestrian Sport of Tomorrow.
                        Osteen & Gainesville, Florida.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I personally think its very important to allow the horse or pony to free jump through a chute with gymnastic elements before a rider schools over fences. I always do a building block method and let them work their way up to a full gymnastic line. Incorporating the trot poles and cavaletti that we worked on in our flat sessions to appropriate distances between fences.
                          My idea is that I want the horse to learn to use his body on his own first without a rider interfering. I will do this very very sparingly with your young horses (always booted) and then do a refresher every now and then. Once they are confident i usually add in "scary" things such as a rolltop at the end, a coop, oxers, flowers etc. Ive even gotten creative with road cones, sparkly pinwheels that i buy at the dollar tree, and even wrapped the top rail with a 12 inch diameter black plastic irrigation tube. This isn't a crash course by any means though, the program is consistent and confidence building.
                          what ive found is that my horses learn to find their own distances and also will correct themselves if they are wrong. Its kind of a lightbulb moment for a young horse to realize he has gotten himself into a tight spot or a long distance as opposed to a rider riding to a wrong distance. When the horse or pony does start his training over fences ive found that they are fearless, willing and comfortable with what they are being asked to do.
                          I used this approach over the last few years with two large Clovermeade ponies as well as some of my IHF horses. And never had a problem with any of them.

                          Anyway this thread is awesome. i love to hear what other trainers are doing and what is effective. This is what works for me though

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            If you have a proper jumping chute, I got no problem with it but we can agree to disagree on it's use as a requirement in preparing the horse for a rider. If it works for you, that's fine, use it.

                            Most people don't have a chute or access to one. Some of the homemade varities are a little sketchy. Some people send the colt thru without the proper groundwork foundation or any assurance it will not run out or stop. And no way to correct or prevent a stop or confine an attempted run out.

                            IMO, unless you have a proper one, it can do more harm then good. Also IMO, you don't need it.
                            When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                            The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by mrsbradbury View Post
                              I've started quite a few horses over fences. When I am flatting a green horse, I start incoroprating poles on the ground, walk, trot, canter. Then I usuall trot a simple X, and see what they do. On occassion, I have some that struggle, not understanding the X, so we go to a low vertical, about 12-18" instead. Sometimes, I think visually, they have a hard time correlating the pole to the X, but the vertical makes sense to them.

                              Once they have popped over something we just plug away from there, introducing new elements as the horse gets brave. Gymnastics are dependant on the horse, some are naturally braver than others, and some are insecure at first. I think a gynmastic can be overwhelming to some geen horses.

                              I like to trot small jumps on a cirlce, also.
                              This right here! And I agree with findeight that it's not the riders job to make a big deal about the fence. They are more than capable of calmly trotting up and over a small fence with out too much fuss from us.

                              When starting a greenie over a gymnastics I like to start with just flower boxes and poles and get them used to trotting in and cantering out. Gymnastics don't work if they land trotting . Usually after they get comfortable with this it isn't a big deal to build them up, as long as they know to go straight and forward and the fences are set properly. For some it is really intimidating for them to turn the corner and just see a mess of poles and cross rails in front of them so that's why I start with just the flower boxes.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by findeight View Post
                                Oh, I never free jumped or put a pole in a lunge circle-you can't help them if they make a mistake and you can teach them to stop or run around the pole as you have little directional control. And you don't need to do it anyway, won't help when you get on.
                                I agree with a poster above that it is good to let them learn on their own. While I did start mine w/me on him (poles on ground, then raised, then gymnastics) I believe it is beneficial to a horse to let them do it on the longe or in a chute. It is important for a horse to solve problems on his own.

                                I can't make a chute in my ring and since I have broken ribs right now, I can't ride for a few more weeks. Ironically, I longed my horse over three jumps with no problems two nights in a row. I asked him to trot the first, he did, cantered away, then asked him to break to the trot for another X then one canter stride to a vertical. No probs with run outs.

                                I put someone on him today that had a lovely ride on him on Friday through an easy gymnastic. I set that same gymnastic up today. She got sticky over the second element a few times, didn't feel like she could ride on so just drifted out of the line. From that point on, she could not complete the whole line without him careening out of the line and did not appear equipped to make the proper correction in the event a horse does this. It was awful and went uncorrected no matter how I coached from the ground. He even got to the point that he was drifting away from the three poles on the ground before the gymnastic!! Very upsetting for me because this is a horse who has NEVER stopped and NEVER run out of a line. He's always trotted or cantered right up to an element willingly.

                                So, I have to disagree that you have no control on the longe. Your whip pointed at their shoulder as they near the jump keeps them straight and can quickly be pointed at the hind to ensure they continue. At least it was that easy for me.

                                My horse won't be jumping until I can jump him again in two weeks and I will have to start from scratch. Really upsetting because I know he isn't stupid enough to forget he now has a run-out button.

                                "If you have the time, spend it. If you have a hand, lend it. If you have the money, give it. If you have a heart, share it." by me

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                                • #17
                                  Always in a free jump pen w/ pile of poles followed by flower box (with flowers), followed by cross rails.
                                  Then cross rails w/ placing poles under tack in ring, then back to free jump graduating to small verticals and oxers.
                                  1 thing when I sell a horse across the board I am complimented on how they freely confidently approach the jump find their spot, stay straight, balanced and jump well.

                                  I also move the height up rather quickly to see the scope and then down again to basics. Vary the pole distances onground in pen and allow the horse to lengthen and shorten on their own to develope a real sense of balance and not rely on the rider.

                                  A WB breeder who posts on here taught it to me in their indoor one winter and it still works well for me today. Even the worst jumper tends to improve.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    i am definitly not the most experienced but i have watched a lot of peoplle do it at my barn and i have also done it a little bit a while back.

                                    usualy you start by getting them used to cantering or trottng over the poles just on the ground. then you raise every other side of each pole just a tiny bit so its alternating lifted sides of the poles. then you set them up very small to just trot/canter all the way through. and as they get better the jumps get higher, you add scary stuff and do lots of flat work to get them listening to the course instructions and then add the jumps small... its basically pretty easy but you have to make sure you take it slow with lots of praise.

                                    hope this helps !!!!!!
                                    "If you are starting a colt and he acts up, roll up a newspaper and hit yourself over the head, saying "bad trainer, bad trainer!"--Bluey

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I have never really done much chute work mostly because I have never been at a place that had a good setup for it. I do think though you can let the horse figure it out. When I am starting a greenie often they really don't have the education and skills on the flat to really adjust in front of the jump if I asked anyways. Basically I ask 2 things of a greenie when jumping 1. go straight 2. stay a consistent speed they often figure it out on their own pretty quickly. Like I said before to help with form the most I use good ground lines and placing poles when needed and not mess around with tiny jumps forever.
                                      http://community.webshots.com/user/jenn52318

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