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making transition from jumper to hunter..suggestions?

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  • making transition from jumper to hunter..suggestions?

    So I have been doing hunters for all of my riding life but my horse has always done jumpers. I've only had him a month so still figuring him out. He has wonderful movement so I am sure he will make a great hunter. However, he does tend to have speed on the mind rather than elegance and even pace. Any tips would be great.

  • #2
    Bore him to death with cantering quietly over lines of small jumps, over and over just working on establishing a rhythm.. Canter over a jump on a large circle, and use half halts to rebalance and then just stay soft, and he'll eventually settle.
    Teach him voice commands, especially something lke "eaaasssyy". If you tell him that word when walking him, scratching him, massaging him on the ground, and when doing downward transitions, and half halts, he'll eventually learn to relax when he hears it, anticipating something good/relaxing.


    • #3
      Of course, he may just be more jumper-y. We have a lovely small junior hunter in our barn who just does NOT want to go fast. Ever. He has won all sorts of championships and has a WOW jump. My horse doesn't go slow (at a show). Ever. No matter how much I ride him, he will not slow down. In fact, at shows he gets more "up" the longer we go. Of course, he's been doing this a long time and knows his job.

      There's a lot more than cute knees to a good hunter. A huge part of their job is being able to get down the lines and make it look leisurely and quiet. A jumper has to make all sorts of situations work.

      Not that one horse is good or bad - they're just good at different jobs. From your other posts, I'd dabble a little in both arenas at the height you're comfortable riding. You may find he's just a fish out of water in one or the other, and you learn to adapt. Otherwise, you can have fun two ways.
      A proud friend of bar.ka.


      • #4
        My old TB horse and I did jumpers successfully for a few years and when he started having arthritic changes in his hocks, rather than medicate I changed course with him and decided that I'd figure out what kind of work would keep him sound and comfortable. Luckily that was about when I went off to college and ended up in an awesome circle of horsepeople in Athens, GA who know stabilization training (if you don't REALLY understand stabilization, you gotta get your hands on a book by Rolf Becher called Schooling By The Natural Method--it is out of print but usually can be found on ebay/amazon...) That whole concept changed my life. Anyways, slowing the feet down can most of the time be done in my experience. I don't know what part of the world you're in but you may want to check out the video review offered by USEF 'R' judge Anne Kenan http://www.annekenan.com/services.html if you aren't finding the support you need from the trainers in your area. One thing Anne says frequently to people trying to do a re-school is "How long has this habit been going on? If I can get a result in a shorter length of time than the habit has been going on, I'm doing pretty good." So of course it won't be a quick fix, but if you think it is a worthwhile project and you have the support needed, go for it. Be patient!

        "Frustration is the greatest impediment and always arrives when we run out of skill, technique, and knowledge." --unknown