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Tricky Jumper - Well, kind of...video

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  • Tricky Jumper - Well, kind of...video

    Morning all,

    I have a lovely jumper gelding. We jumping the lows, up to 1.10 with some higher fences at home. I know this horse very well; have had him for about 5 years now. He is quite scopey, has a solid dressage foundation, and has more heart than any horse I have every owned. He is a big boned horse, but super handy.

    Now, here is my issue; if you can call it that. He is STRONG. At home, he flats in a loose ring snaffle. At shows, he has been going in a Cheltenham Gag with leather cheek pieces.

    My issue is that he has become quite the listener and the gag is now too much. I need him to get a good collected gallop to the fences and he is sucking back. I feel I use my leg effectively; it's the bit+my hands. I want to have some "feel", but without the impact of the gag. I would like a bit that is a tad more forgiving, but still has some "oomph" when I need it. I get nervous in the ring and my hands get grabbing. BAD BAD, I know. Having said this, he is a STRONG horse, and I am a pea. So, I do need "some" stop. He actually jumps best in a hackamore; however, there is NO WAY this would be safe at a show. Our first season was a disaster in the hackamore; he ran right through it. Even though he is better schooled now, I need more turning power and the hack just isn't it.

    So, any suggestions. Here is what I have tried so far:

    1. straight bar rubber pelham - too much - curls behind it and sucks back to fences.
    2. Gag - too much - same.
    3. myler combo hackamore - too much - same issue
    4. English hackamore, loose ring - too much with both, not enough with only one
    5. Segunda - awesome bit, works fab, but I read it is quite severe and it scares me. Is this worse than a gag? I could use this bit with no issue. I have soft hands on the flat, really soft, and ok release over fences (working on this). HOWEVER, no bit is a substitute for good training, so I would prefer to go a little softer with a tad of punch as opposed to this option and not work on keeping control discipline wise.
    6. Elevator - hates it. Too much.

    Should I suck it up and try him at the next show with a snaffle? We can read one another's mind and I feel like he knows it is "only" a snaffle. How do I "let go", yet have some "punch' at the same time?

    Bit ideas for shows? I have attached a video of one of our rounds. Here, he is in the gag. I would like more freedom in the front, more flow. I can achieve this with more spur, but there really is no point if I am pushing him into a wall. I need to "complete" my impulsion through the front, and would prefer to have him more forward with "some" "up", rather than overly controlled. He is SO sensitive. Notice how he is kind of stuck in some parts of the course. Excuse long spot to first fence and I know my lower leg needs improvement.

    I am super sensitive, so please be kind. I am a young adult back to riding who was once PETRIFIED to even ride in the walk (due to a bad fall). I know there are lots of experts here, and I normally NEVER post videos, but I think it's time I really got more insight.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUevgn0tQho
    Last edited by left2left; Aug. 24, 2011, 08:43 AM.

  • #2
    Couldn't you just ride with two reins and keep the gag? Use a snaffle rein most of the time, but the gag is there if you need it.
    .

    Comment


    • #3
      I know nothing about Jumpers, but just wanted to say that I thought you both looked great. I see riders and horses leaping and bounding all over the ring in Jumpers, not a smooth ride like I just saw. Obviously I am no help!!
      Sandy
      www.sugarbrook.com
      hunter/jumper ponies

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by Big_Grey_hunter View Post
        Couldn't you just ride with two reins and keep the gag? Use a snaffle rein most of the time, but the gag is there if you need it.
        Hi BGH!

        How do I ride with two reins in this:
        http://www.discountsaddleryshop.co.u...%20leather.jpg

        ?

        Are you maybe thinking of the type of gag that looks like an elevator:

        http://images.auctionants.com/f5075.jpg

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by Sugarbrook View Post
          I know nothing about Jumpers, but just wanted to say that I thought you both looked great. I see riders and horses leaping and bounding all over the ring in Jumpers, not a smooth ride like I just saw. Obviously I am no help!!
          Thank you Sugarbrook.

          Comment


          • #6
            I have ridden with two reins in a gag like that, all you do is attach one of the reins to the snaffle looking part of the bit

            Comment


            • #7
              Just put a set of reins on the metal part of the bit and it works like a snaffle.

              I agree with the previous poster. There's no reason you can't put a snaffle rein on a bit that looks like the first one you posted.
              Originally posted by tidy rabbit
              Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community.

              Comment


              • #8
                My old horse went wonderfully in a segunda. Hated everything else. A bit is only as harsh as the hands at the other end (well, unless it's got chainsaw links or something, which is just stupid).

                If he goes well in the segunda, then use it.

                One thing I did notice about your round is that you seem to use your spur on him a lot during your round and that you carry a stick. Does he need that, or are you just used to using both? I didn't watch the whole video, crunched on time today, but I'd suggest riding without the crop for a bit and seeing how he does then. Carrying a stick really freaks out some horses so it might be worth a shot to drop it for a while. I'd also try to be less active with your spur unless he's not responding to your leg first.

                Good luck, you look like a nice pair
                Trying a life outside of FEI tents and hotel rooms.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Thanks guys.

                  Ok, important mention in response to AnotherShot, then a qn for ExJumper.

                  AnotherShot. You are BANG ON. I am using my spur WAY too much. I should probably get him better of my leg without anything; I will do that more over the winter. I never ever use the whip unless he tries a trick; in which case, he gets a good whack, once and hard. I need the whip since, as you know, he knows it is there. At this point, I am looking for more horse, not less horse, but with the stopping power in case he decides to start going flat and FAST. If it helps. Think Irish. He has that personality 150%. Quite complicated to ride, very sensitive, somewhat stubborn, but when he's "on", he's "ON". When he's behind the leg, it's like riding a giant log. Ugh.

                  Ex, shall I put a curb rein where the gag would go and a regular rein on the normal ring?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    well, the difference between a "curb" rein and a "snaffle" rein is really just to where you are attaching it. People traditionally use a thinner flat rein for a curb and a regular laced rein on the snaffle, but that's just convention. You usually put the fatter grippier rein on the rein you use the most, which is usually the snaffle.

                    So you can put the reins anywhere you are comfortable with. If you like the feel of two regular laced reins you can go ahead and do that. If you are used to the feel of a pelham with a thin rein on the leverage portion and a regular rein on the snaffle, than you can go ahead and put a curb rein on the gag.

                    It's whatever you feel comfortable with, really.
                    Originally posted by tidy rabbit
                    Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      No bit works with constant pressure, it's give and take with leg to keep them up in that bridle alternating with softening to reward. You want to learn to use 2 reins to give you a snaffle rein to steer and use light contact (with leg) and something you only need to pick up to add some brakes. Right now, he is not oversensitive-you are overusing the hand.

                      Grab mane 2 strides out and make yourself stay there until 2 strides after he lands behind. Better yet learn to bury your hands about 2 inches below the crest and leave them there. No shame at all in that-get you a more secure position on landing then when your hands float up in the air on the way down as well too so you can help him balance instead of taking you waterskiing around the corners.

                      I disagree on the spur and your leg, to me it looks like you need to use more constant leg pressure backed up with the spur-you might be a little weaker then you think and poking him instead of backing up exsisting leg pressure. Can you try him without the spurs to see if that's what's up???

                      two other quick thoughts...ok three.

                      One is that there is not much to these fences, nothing to help you get him backed off...but sure would not go higher and more solid until you get him backed off or you risk missing into a combo and they are real unforgiving as the fences go up.

                      Second is...trainer???? Honestly, a few courses ridden by a strong Pro can work wonders for you. Thats why they have schooling classes before Ammie classes-use them. Probably could use more and higher jumps at home in lessons too...I know you don't want to overjump him but you both look like that would help. Grids and such only take you so far when they all build and get excited in a show situation-you need to jump.

                      Just a guess but I bet your flatwork is good enough and he schools well at home minus the show nerves but it never hurts to work on laterals, half halts and down transitions and a lighter bit is the best choice for that...but I would not want to go real light for this big WB over 1.2m and up.

                      Oh, check his hocks too, that can make them pull and not want to rock back and carry themselves. Would not be the only cause here but it does not help.
                      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by findeight View Post
                        No bit works with constant pressure, it's give and take with leg to keep them up in that bridle alternating with softening to reward. You want to learn to use 2 reins to give you a snaffle rein to steer and use light contact (with leg) and something you only need to pick up to add some brakes. Right now, he is not oversensitive-you are overusing the hand.

                        You are correct. I am overusing my hand. I am going to try this in my lesson this week before our next show.

                        Grab mane 2 strides out and make yourself stay there until 2 strides after he lands behind. Better yet learn to bury your hands about 2 inches below the crest and leave them there. No shame at all in that-get you a more secure position on landing then when your hands float up in the air on the way down as well too so you can help him balance instead of taking you waterskiing around the corners.

                        Gonna try this too. I will be more vigilent.
                        two other quick thoughts...ok three.

                        One is that there is not much to these fences, nothing to help you get him backed off...but sure would not go higher and more solid until you get him backed off or you risk missing into a combo and they are real unforgiving as the fences go up.

                        Funny thing is, these jumps are set at 1M (3'3). He makes them look like 2'9. We are schooling 1.10-1.15 at home. He can go much higher, but he jumps me out of the tack, and until I have that security you are talking about, I'm not game. Next year tho!!!

                        Second is...trainer???? Honestly, a few courses ridden by a strong Pro can work wonders for you. Thats why they have schooling classes before Ammie classes-use them. Probably could use more and higher jumps at home in lessons too...I know you don't want to overjump him but you both look like that would help. Grids and such only take you so far when they all build and get excited in a show situation-you need to jump.

                        I have an awesome trainer. She has been fantastic. I am indeed sick of grids...like REALLY sick of them. He is actually EASIER to jump over larger fences, since he rocks back more and we are able to get a better flow. I can count more accurately. Kind of odd how it is much harder to make it over five canter poles in a row over five jumps.

                        Just a guess but I bet your flatwork is good enough and he schools well at home minus the show nerves but it never hurts to work on laterals, half halts and down transitions and a lighter bit is the best choice for that...but I would not want to go real light for this big WB over 1.2m and up.

                        We flat in a KK ultra loose ring snaffle. He is a dream on the flat. Could always use more laterals tho!

                        Oh, check his hocks too, that can make them pull and not want to rock back and carry themselves. Would not be the only cause here but it does not help
                        Geez, smartie pants you are! This is going to be a whole other thread. He just turned 10 and I have yet to have any lameness issues with the little gaffer (or big gaffer, for that matter). HOWEVER, I am starting to WONDER. Sometimes he bobs his head in the canter, and I am not quite sure if it is my OVER-handness or a potential hock concern. I have one more show left, and I have already made an appt with the vet to come out and do three views on each hock to get a baseline. He looked fine three years ago - I check these things every few years; but, I think it's time to do a re-check.

                        He doesn't charge at the fences, the craziness starts if he spooks at something...not a fence, per se. I actually ride in TWO pairs of ear stuffies. Without them=NIGHTMARE. So, I need to be prepared, just in case. My plan, for this weekend, is to show him in the .9 jumper class with the babies in a loose ring. We see how that goes, and then I may just take the plunge and try him at the 3'3 in the snaffle. Would you like me to post the video after the weekend for you to see? I'd be honored for you to see our progress...and of course comment....


                        Guys, I REALLY appreciate all of this feedback. It means alot that I am able to take information from those who may be wiser and apply it to my riding. I am ALWAYS open to suggestions.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          You look a little loose. Your leg is not tight, your heel is not down and you are bracing with your hands and hanging onto his mouth. On the upside, your excellent natural balance is allowing you to compensate for this and you are staying in the middle and not interfering with your very lovely horse. On the downside, he is just dragging you around. I think with some more strength and focus on adjustability/flatwork you would work better together as a team.

                          Really work on improving his canter between the fences, he needs to be light on the front end and in your hand. Ride back to front. And check out those hocks, they make horses heavy on the forehand.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by findeight View Post
                            No bit works with constant pressure, it's give and take with leg to keep them up in that bridle alternating with softening to reward. You want to learn to use 2 reins to give you a snaffle rein to steer and use light contact (with leg) and something you only need to pick up to add some brakes. Right now, he is not oversensitive-you are overusing the hand.
                            I saw the same thing.

                            It's a lovely round but he's not getting a breather on his mouth or corner of his mouth pressure, so at some points you can see him slightly lowering his head in what looks like an attempt to get you to give him some slack.

                            All the other points mentioned are valid, but if it were me, what I'd do is to practice at home with this bit on the flat, over small jumps and get to the point where you can shove your hands forward and allow him to move without mouth pressure. And practice transitions and fences in a safe enviornment where you let go of him and only use your hands and body to adjust him back in pace or direction. So that your hands signal HO! and it means something, and the rest of the time he relaxes his way of going away from using the bit as plow horses use their collar and leaning into it with his body and momentum. (Hope that was clear??)

                            I don't believe it's so much about changing bits.. I think it's about taking the time to retrain the horse who is showing an issue. You should be able to let go and relax at any gear without holding onto his mouth nonstop. If you can't, then work at home or at smaller shows until you can. But don't think that any bit will fix a training issue, only re-training will all out eliminate the issue and allow you and your awesome guy to rise up the ranks as a better team! You both look great, and I don't think this will be a big thing.

                            ~Emily

                            PS: Wofford's book on gymnastics has exercises for this and I know plenty of H/J riders who use it!!
                            "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'm in a similar boat, one of my jumpers is enormous and can be quite strong. I'm not a "strong" type rider and I prefer a softer feel, but he gets too backed off when I put more bit in his mouth. So here's what I do--I school at home in a pelham or a three ring elevator with two reins (so I can use primarily the snaffle rein if I want). But when we get to the show, he goes in a snaffle. I always pack an extra bridle with a stronger bit on it as a security blanket for myself, but I have never had to switch out. I know that often people do it the other way around and ride in the stronger bit at shows, but doing it the other way around can work really well too.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Thanks guys.

                                I can let go, no problem. Even at the shows, unless he spooks at something, I am good to go. He is very very light at home, and also light at shows, I just need to learn to be kinder with my hands.

                                Hocks will also get looked at, although I think he is good - it was on my itinerary with my next routine vet visit - a few films will be done for sure.

                                I actually ride into my lower leg better at home. I was using my spur WAY TOO MUCH in this round and I totally noticed my leg moving around. Point take, I gotta work on that!! Ugh.

                                mmm, what else....ok, well, I do believe I have created an issue myself. The horse is pretty awesome and amenable to my ammy mistakes; but they can't continue. SO, I am challenging myself to GIVE this weekend and in every ride from today forward.

                                I am excited to post the video and see what you all think. I am in fact contemplating going around in a snaffle. I think it will give us more flow. If he gets too wired, oh well! It's just a show...lesson learned. As I said in my above post, I will do the lower class in the snaffle, then move into the higher class with the snaffle if all goes well in the lower one.

                                I am actually quite appauled at how I am not sitting deep enough and my heels are coming up. This REALLY bothers me. I am conscious of it. Just gimme some time, k? I want to come back and have you all tell me there is an improvement.

                                Good eye guys; fantastic commentary. Wow.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I think most of us agree it's not the bit on this one and for OP, Please do post your next show vids, pleasure to watch somebody already better then average who wants to improve on a capable horse.

                                  One more thing though...I watched it again and, really, H.I.P. A.N.G.L.E. is your root problem, not your hands. You are pretty consistant at opening up over the top and that is pulling your upper body back and up and taking the horse's mouth with it-leaving you insecure and unbalanced on landing.

                                  Usually can be fixed by strengthening the leg...maybe changing length of the stirrup, sometimes even another saddle that positions you better over your hip and heel to start with. Some saddles are notorious for positioning you too far back behind the center of gravity and you are always losing upper body position at anything over 2'6".

                                  What saddle are you riding in???

                                  And, 2 strides out just get those hands up on his neck and grab on to keep that hip angle closed and allow him to use his front end properly. He will get alot happier alot quicker and you can see he is not going anywhere if you do let go and that will help you confidence wise.

                                  I dunno about the grids helping this much of they are done to death and he is fine at home-the trouble is shows where he loses it between fences and on the corners. Doesn't look like he needs much help with the jump itself. Singles and unrelated lines with transitions and halts mixed in and hands on that neck makes sense to me.
                                  When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                  The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by findeight View Post
                                    I think most of us agree it's not the bit on this one and for OP, Please do post your next show vids, pleasure to watch somebody already better then average who wants to improve on a capable horse.

                                    One more thing though...I watched it again and, really, H.I.P. A.N.G.L.E. is your root problem, not your hands. You are pretty consistant at opening up over the top and that is pulling your upper body back and up and taking the horse's mouth with it-leaving you insecure and unbalanced on landing.

                                    Usually can be fixed by strengthening the leg...maybe changing length of the stirrup, sometimes even another saddle that positions you better over your hip and heel to start with. Some saddles are notorious for positioning you too far back behind the center of gravity and you are always losing upper body position at anything over 2'6".

                                    What saddle are you riding in???

                                    And, 2 strides out just get those hands up on his neck and grab on to keep that hip angle closed and allow him to use his front end properly. He will get alot happier alot quicker and you can see he is not going anywhere if you do let go and that will help you confidence wise.

                                    I dunno about the grids helping this much of they are done to death and he is fine at home-the trouble is shows where he loses it between fences and on the corners. Doesn't look like he needs much help with the jump itself. Singles and unrelated lines with transitions and halts mixed in and hands on that neck makes sense to me.
                                    Finde, also agreed on all accounts. Now...about the saddle.....

                                    I am riding in an Antares, 17.5 cutback, custom fit. I tried a MILLION different saddles. This fits him everywhere, EXCEPT......he is built somewhat like a chess piece. He has a small dip behind the wither that causes the saddle to sit somewhat like this: \. so, my bum often feels like it is lower in the back, making it feel like I am in a chair seat, I don't feel like the saddle puts me in a natural, ear-shoulder-hip-heel position like my dressage saddle does. I could put a riser back there. I'm wondering if that would help. A new saddle isn't really in the cards at the moment, this one is actually only about a year old. I would need to get the saddle re-stuffed to compensate for his build.

                                    In my minds eye, the perfect saddle would be hardly padded in the front and very padded in the back.

                                    ...seems just when you thought you got a grasp on tack, you get taken for another "my horse changed", or "it doesn't fit anymore" spin. I feel like I am bleeding money...and DAMMIT, I can't re-stuff an Antares, it is FOAM. gah!

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                                    • #19
                                      First on the saddle-get in touch with an Antares rep. If you bought the saddle for THIS horse, they have a fit guarantee and will repanel. If not, I was quoted at $400 to repanel, which in the great scheme of things, isn't much.

                                      As for your horse, I LOVE him. He looks like a fun ride and very similar to my horse! She too goes in a running gag (full cheek) that when she's in a quiet mood, backs her off a bit too much. And I could also flat her in a snaffle now, no problem. But...it is nice to have that extra leverage on the days she gets overexcited when jumping. Those days have gotten fewer and far between lately though because I've forced myself to "let go", like others have said. Nothing worse than trying to hold a hot/forward horse back with your hand and brace against their mouth. After watching a video of myself where I was clearly doing that, I now consciously try to soften my elbow/go with the motion every time we jump, as well as using more of my upper body/abs to control pace. Oh, and its counter intuitive (at least to me) but my horse wants lots of leg approaching fences and going away. As soon as its more hand than leg, she starts sucking back or doing an impression of a pogo stick. Its really, really hard to fight this tendency though, especially if you're a somewhat timid rider (like myself). Good luck!

                                      ETA: just realized I didn't really suggest a different bit. I, for the most part, really like the gag but understand the whole "taking a fee" part-its mostly just a closing of my hand if I'm trying to get her to fit in a stride, plus leg. Like I said, the taking a feel works as long as I'm backing it up equally with leg. But, if you wanted to try another bit my horse has also gone really well in a ported pelham. Can definitely take much more of a feel in that bit, but the braking power isn't as good since my horse tends to get heavy and flat-the gag helps keep her up.

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                                      • #20
                                        Love the horse, and can definitely see how you experience him as getting strong. He's got a lot of power, and looks like he can get pretty heavy at times.

                                        I agree about the comments here about your hands. What I'd like to see is you following him more over the fences. It looks like you are braced over the top of the fences, which prevents you from folding more at the hip, and letting him fully use his body. You seem to be riding off your hands way more than riding off your seat and body, and I suspect that this may be more defensiveness on your part than anything.

                                        Clearly, the bit you're using is doing what it needs to do, so I wouldn't worry so much about that at this point. I would work more on your position over the fences and then some downward transitions directly afterward, so that your body gets used to the feeling of give and take that you need to balance him more on his hind end, which you can't effectively do by bracing against him with your hands.

                                        Start with small jumps, and learn to effectively control your body, which will work more harmoniously with his. Watch some video of superstar junior equitation riders, and see how effectively they use their lower backs. That's what you ultimately want to achieve with a horse like this over fences in the jumper ring. You may need to ride him more like an equitation rider in order to get what you need from him at this state, and then you can move on to the bigger stuff.

                                        Best of luck! You guys look like you're off to a great start!

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