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Is it normal for a SUPER QUIET green horse- UPDATE Post #13

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  • Is it normal for a SUPER QUIET green horse- UPDATE Post #13

    to start getting kind of sticky/careless towards and over jumps (after 4 brief jumping sessions)?

    Horse is coming 4, still very green, mostly doing flatwork at the moment (which is going very well). He's extremely quiet and somewhat lazy (but learning to be quiet off the leg). Jumps are only very small crossrails. He does trot poles (laid on the ground, not raised) alone great.

    He has done probably around four brief sessions of "jumping" (in which he just trots over tiny crossrails) at the end of our schooling sessions. The first three times were in an indoor with more decorated jumps (flowers, brush) and were just a plain crossrail without any poles on the ground before or after. He was still a little lazy and required plenty of leg and help to go forward and semi-straight, but willingly went forward and trotted over them (both single and in a line). The fourth time was outside on grass with four trot poles, then 9' to a small crossrail. Did it fine a few times, then seemed to get bored/soured of that activity. It was at my aunt's place and was already set up so I just popped him over it after a trail ride.

    The last time I went to jump him, I put a ground pole 9' out, followed by a small crossrail (of pvc poles). It was in a grass field near the barn at my house and we were jumping away from the barn (perhaps part of the issue?). As usual, he got wiggly going towards it and despite a lot of leg to go straight/forward, he kind of stopped in front of it. Went back again with even more leg/encouragement, and he trotted it but knocked it down (darn pvc!). I had also set up a tiny tiny vertical with a ground pole 9' out (these were 8' wooden poles). He went into it a little better this time, still sticky, and knocked it all down. He was getting a little frustrated, so we ended with a trotting over a couple ground poles and did canter work that day instead.

    I now know I cannot use pvc poles with this horse. He's too quiet to really care about them since they're so light (kind of like one of my ponies). But, do you think the frustration/stickiness/knocking stuff down is 1) because he's going away from the barn and bound to be a little less forward-motivated, and mainly 2) because he's not ready to have a jump with a ground pole 9' out that requires more thinking of the feet placement? I want to set him up for success and have trained each one of my horses to jump, with no issues. The only one that didn't do well with the 9' out ground pole was my super quiet pony (who is similar to this horse). He learned to trot jumps by doing the jump by itself (after doing plain trot poles on the ground). The other horses were really forward and careful and had no problems with getting sticky from the ground pole in front of the jump.

    Should I just have him continue to do plain crossrails from a trot without a ground pole, and introduce the ground pole after he starts cantering jumps? Or do you only use it when trotting in to the jump? What would you do in teaching this type of horse to jump?

    As soon as it dries up some I'm going to send him through the (grass) jumping chute to let him figure out where to put his feet without me on his back and hopefully that'll help some.


    UPDATE: Post #13
    Last edited by Crown Royal; Mar. 6, 2012, 06:08 PM.

  • #2
    Lucky gets very lazy and bored with small jumps. He'll do a couple crossrails, then decide that's dull, he doesn't need to pick up his feet, and that's that. I actually have found I need a ground line, and to make the jumps higher and sometimes wider, or he just doesn't respect them.
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    • #3
      If it's only been a few sessions, I'd say not to worry about anything yet- he's still just figuring it out.
      Blog chronicling our new eventing adventures: Riding With Scissors

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      • #4
        He is young; is it possible he is just not that coordinated with his legs at this time? Some horses just seem to take a while to figure out their legs. Have you free jumped/longe jumped him at all to let him figure out jumping without worrying about a rider?

        Also wondering if you are perhaps using too small a jump. I use little jumps to introduce riders to jumping, but find tiny jumps almost seem harder for a baby horse to judge and take seriously...particulary if the horse is naturally on the quiet/unenthused end of the spectrum.
        Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

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        • #5
          I would focus primarily on flatwork - keeping him in front of your leg and straight. I don't stay on "tiny" jumps for too long as I find that it does very little for their form. Once they have a general idea of what I want from them, I start putting the jumps up to about 2'6". I haven't had an issue with a horse being overfaced by this but I do tend to have them pretty well-schooled on the flat before I start jumping them. I think that then they've been challenged a bit by me before we've started jumping (both mentally and in footwork) and they've learned to trust that I'm not going to through them to the wolves so to speak.

          I find that adding canter poles to my flatwork can really help one that wants to slide behind my leg and get wiggly heading to a jump. Something to focus on and keep a rhythm to without worrying about messing with their form.

          Comment


          • #6
            I would get him more forward and sharper on the flat. It sounds like he is not really listening, just puttering around. easy to do that with a quiet one but it is counterproductive.

            I would ride with a dressage whip and when he putters out, give him a whap on the flank. He needs to keep going the same speed you last requested until you alter the instructions. I would do a lot of transitions, bending and turns. Demand immediate response -- ask once and then reinforce with the dressage whip. Praise when he is light and responsive and listens well.

            If he is still at the point where he is sticky going away from the barn, he's still very green and maybe too green to jump quite yet.

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by CHT View Post
              He is young; is it possible he is just not that coordinated with his legs at this time? Some horses just seem to take a while to figure out their legs. Have you free jumped/longe jumped him at all to let him figure out jumping without worrying about a rider?
              As I mentioned, he has not been free jumped yet due to the wet ground where the chute is. I have it set up and cannot wait for it to dry out enough so I can send him through to figure out where to put his feet without worrying about me. That's what I typically do first, but haven't had the opportunity since I've only had him through the winter.

              Originally posted by Gracious View Post
              I would focus primarily on flatwork - keeping him in front of your leg and straight. I don't stay on "tiny" jumps for too long as I find that it does very little for their form. Once they have a general idea of what I want from them, I start putting the jumps up to about 2'6". I haven't had an issue with a horse being overfaced by this but I do tend to have them pretty well-schooled on the flat before I start jumping them. I think that then they've been challenged a bit by me before we've started jumping (both mentally and in footwork) and they've learned to trust that I'm not going to through them to the wolves so to speak.

              I find that adding canter poles to my flatwork can really help one that wants to slide behind my leg and get wiggly heading to a jump. Something to focus on and keep a rhythm to without worrying about messing with their form.
              Good to know! Jumps are only about 1'-18" in the center right now. Do you trot them into the 2'6" jumps, or canter?

              He is getting much better on the flat and learning to bend off the leg and learn collection. At the trot he is experimenting with stretching into contact for longer and longer periods. His canter is getting better and is getting more and more balanced each time.

              Would you not jump him at all until he has a very balanced canter and is much more flexible, or would you go ahead and have him trot or canter jumps (2'-2'6")?

              He's just so lazy right now trotting into crossrails that I'm wondering if he would even clear a small 2' oxer coming in from a trot, but I have read that small oxers are more inviting and "easier" for a green horse than a vertical (even with a ground line a couple inches from the front). Perhaps a 2' vertical with a sheet/blanket over it to make it solid and with a ground pole a couple inches out would be a good start?

              I am really dying to send him through the jumping chute!

              Comment


              • #8
                Oh I went through this with my green OTTB! He is also quiet and prefers to take the "easy way out" of most things. When we used pvc and there was no "ouch factor" he learned quickly he could just crash through them. Well, a nice wooden pole fixed that when he literally left hair on it.

                I agree with the last two posters about focusing on quality of the flatwork. Getting a nice forward trot and/or canter is going to make jump work more consistent. And when he starts getting lazy I do exactly what fordtraktor says and remind him with an aide to pay attention.

                Even last week, he sailed over a two foot oxer with good clearance and momentum. Then he tripped over a ground pole. Go figure. He respects height MUCH more than something small.

                When I dont feel like the quality of my trot or canter is good enough, I just do another circle before whatever I am jumping until it feels correct and I know he energized and paying attention.

                You'll find that over time his attention span will increase as his stamina and muscling increase.
                "I am still under the impression there is nothing alive quite so beautiful
                as a thoroughbred horse."

                -JOHN GALSWORTHY

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by fordtraktor View Post
                  I would get him more forward and sharper on the flat. It sounds like he is not really listening, just puttering around. easy to do that with a quiet one but it is counterproductive.

                  I would ride with a dressage whip and when he putters out, give him a whap on the flank. He needs to keep going the same speed you last requested until you alter the instructions. I would do a lot of transitions, bending and turns. Demand immediate response -- ask once and then reinforce with the dressage whip. Praise when he is light and responsive and listens well.

                  If he is still at the point where he is sticky going away from the barn, he's still very green and maybe too green to jump quite yet.
                  That's exactly what I do with our flat/dressage work. Dressage whip and all. He has learned to go forward, but not fast, when we're working.

                  I think it's maybe because towards the tiny jumps I'm not asking him to use himself like I do when we flat? I'm just kind of letting him go along as relaxed as possible and using leg to straighten him, and enough hand to keep him straight. That's when I let him putter I suppose. Perhaps that's part of the issue?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    This:

                    Originally posted by Gracious View Post
                    I would focus primarily on flatwork - keeping him in front of your leg and straight. I don't stay on "tiny" jumps for too long as I find that it does very little for their form. Once they have a general idea of what I want from them, I start putting the jumps up to about 2'6". I haven't had an issue with a horse being overfaced by this but I do tend to have them pretty well-schooled on the flat before I start jumping them. I think that then they've been challenged a bit by me before we've started jumping (both mentally and in footwork) and they've learned to trust that I'm not going to through them to the wolves so to speak.

                    I find that adding canter poles to my flatwork can really help one that wants to slide behind my leg and get wiggly heading to a jump. Something to focus on and keep a rhythm to without worrying about messing with their form.
                    And this:

                    Originally posted by fordtraktor View Post
                    I would get him more forward and sharper on the flat. It sounds like he is not really listening, just puttering around. easy to do that with a quiet one but it is counterproductive.

                    I would ride with a dressage whip and when he putters out, give him a whap on the flank. He needs to keep going the same speed you last requested until you alter the instructions. I would do a lot of transitions, bending and turns. Demand immediate response -- ask once and then reinforce with the dressage whip. Praise when he is light and responsive and listens well.

                    If he is still at the point where he is sticky going away from the barn, he's still very green and maybe too green to jump quite yet.
                    I'll add, wiggle the whip at his bum/flank first, then tap. Everything should be done in phases.

                    I would focus on flatwork with particular focus on forward forward forward and of course on developing him overall (ie, collection which builds strength, balance, athleticism...but you need forward first). I would not jump u/s at all until he is more balanced and flexible at the w/t/c. Then I'd raise the jumps and send him over something that challenges him...say in 6months time (as a rough time estimate - the point is that you do it until you get it, but that might take a lot of time). If he is bored, listen to him.

                    Lazy = insufficiently responsive to your leg aids. This is YOUR problem, not his. Your job is to teach him to be more responsive to your aids - not by nagging but by setting him up to learn to be more forward naturally (ie, hills, hacking out, etc), by using exercises that develop forward, and by asking for forward in phases (with boundaries).

                    Ime focusing on the flatwork until it was further along has always been the key to any problems over fences. My WB mare is much as you describe your boy. She's bred to jump and she's got the idea now, so we'll leave it alone now until she is further along in her training and she is more prepared mentally and physically to start schooling at 2'6+.
                    ....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
                    ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Crown Royal View Post
                      He has learned to go forward, but not fast, when we're working.
                      He doesn't have to be fast per se but he needs to be in front of the leg, consistently, without reminders.

                      I think it's maybe because towards the tiny jumps I'm not asking him to use himself like I do when we flat? I'm just kind of letting him go along as relaxed as possible and using leg to straighten him, and enough hand to keep him straight. That's when I let him putter I suppose. Perhaps that's part of the issue?
                      You should not have to tell him when to jump or have to nag him to the jump. It is about setting them up then letting them do their job. The rider supports (which is where you will support his coming into your hand both on the flat and to and over a jump) and the horse should be actively pushing toward the jump. Don't have this yet? Get it on the flat. This will take time to develop! He needs to not only develop the strength but also the mental habit of forward.
                      ....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
                      ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by naturalequus View Post
                        Lazy = insufficiently responsive to your leg aids. This is YOUR problem, not his. Your job is to teach him to be more responsive to your aids - not by nagging but by setting him up to learn to be more forward naturally (ie, hills, hacking out, etc), by using exercises that develop forward, and by asking for forward in phases (with boundaries).
                        Unfortunately I do not have any hills and cannot hack out. We live on a completely flat (I mean COMPLETELY) flat five-acre farmette without access to any trails and I do not have a trailer. So going out on trail rides is not often.

                        Originally posted by naturalequus View Post
                        He doesn't have to be fast per se but he needs to be in front of the leg, consistently, without reminders.
                        When I said we are working on forward, but not fast, I meant exactly that. He is an OTTB and he WILL go forward at the trot, but it's those quick strides. When I slow my post and slow his gaits, he (used to) think that means almost break to a walk. He is now learning and getting very consistent at a bigger but slower stride going forward on his own with slight leg. The rest of the leg is for moving over/bending/etc. He is doing very well.

                        Thank you for the other tips!

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                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          UPDATE! As of an hour ago.

                          I just took Baby out to ride, his first time since being body clipped and it was a bit windy and a little chilly. Set up a 2' (and a couple inches) wooden pole vertical, with just ground poles rolled out a couple inches on each side. I also set up 2 canter poles beside that jump.

                          His trot was the best it's been. Forward, immediately bending when I lightly ask. He was stretching for contact and lowering his neck and lifting his back and bringing his nose in just a tad with hardly any encouragement on my part (other than just steady contact). We did trot work for a little while, circling, figure-8's, changing direction a lot.

                          Canter was fantastic. Picked it up (from a trot) quickly and quietly and maintained it with just light leg. He has such a comfortable even canter and a nice long stride, he makes it so easy. Did both directions a few times.

                          Cantered the ground poles (his first time) and he definitely had fun with that. Lifted his stride up to go over each one and continued to evenly canter afterwards. Did it quietly each way.

                          Next I trotted the 2' jump. So much better than the crossrails! He trotted quietly to it with minimum wiggle, jumped it, and went quietly on. I have it set so I could do it both ways and he did it very nicely both towards the barn and away from the barn.

                          Mixed it up and went to canter the ground poles again. When we picked up the canter towards the poles, about six/seven strides out I could feel him looking and pulling a bit towards the jump. He thought he was going to get to canter the jump. Straightened him up and did the poles.

                          Next we picked up a canter and I directed him towards the jump. Steadily cantered towards it, pretty straight, even strides, absolutely NO pulling, absolutely NO rushing, ears pricked, no looking, and he jumped it like a dream. Continued to steadily canter when we landed. No head tossing, no hopping, no bucking, nothing. Acted like he's been doing it forever. Excessive praise.

                          We picked up a canter and jumped it one more time the other direction and it was even better!

                          You couldn't find a more proud horse mama/rider at this moment. He was so quiet and happy about it and it was so EASY. My older TB jumper (that had bad training the 6 years he was off the track before I bought him) is so difficult to jump- he pulls, he rushes, and he lovess to buck and play after his jumps (even in the jumping chute without a rider). His jumps are exaggerated every time and hard to stay with. This baby? Canters so steadily to the jump, never changes pace, stays super light in your hands, jumps it with his neck even and it feels like his back lifts up to you, and lands quietly. One canter stride after he lands and his canter is wonderfully uphill and light again.

                          I love my horse so much! He is SO good!! Will definitely continue to work on our flatwork and now that I'm aware he loves to canter bigger jumps, will do that once in a while.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Doesn't sound like he is ready for much jumping yet, he needs to get alot more forward and stay ahead of your leg...that stop was a warning to you-I hope you did more then "wiggle the whip" at him. If you are going to carry one, you need to be willing to use it at blatant disobediance (refusal to go forward) like this or all you will teach him is he has the option to just stop. Then you can go back and see what you did that contributed to it.

                            And, yeah, you need to ride him the same on the flat as you do with these itty bitty things Western folks call lope overs-because they are not jumps. By letting him slop along, you sort of abandoned him and he was not sure...so got lazy and didn't think he had to jump it.

                            But I am old school and was taught it takes time and you go in steps. You miss something, you go back and get the previous step again before you go on. Not so popular these days.

                            Will say that most successful H/J trainers who do make a good living off these horses do NOT do alot of little stuff and don't do much freejumping. The little stuff encourages sloppy habits you can never get rid of to form. The freejumping is really not used to train the horse to go under a rider as there is not one single thing you can do to help or correct them. It's used more to evaluate their potential and introduce the skills to one that is not going under saddle yet.

                            If you want to do just little stuff, go find a log or something on the ground he can't just step on or knock down. Or set something around 2'6" so he actually has to lift up a little.

                            Just do NOT overdrill and get him bored. Mix it up. Move things every ride. Work a 2'6" single into your flatwork, jump it one lap, skip it the next, and jump it once or twice every session (not in the same place though) make it ho hum no big deal instead of...oh boy we are going to JUMP today. Don't go there.
                            When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                            The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Do not use pvc poles, no wonder he is trampling through the crossrails!

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by findeight View Post
                                Doesn't sound like he is ready for much jumping yet, he needs to get alot more forward and stay ahead of your leg...that stop was a warning to you-I hope you did more then "wiggle the whip" at him. If you are going to carry one, you need to be willing to use it at blatant disobediance (refusal to go forward) like this or all you will teach him is he has the option to just stop. Then you can go back and see what you did that contributed to it.
                                That day I just happened to not be carrying a crop or dressage whip. He did get a big smack with my hand, but trust me, any other time he would have gotten a big smack on the rump.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by HorseLuvr View Post
                                  Do not use pvc poles, no wonder he is trampling through the crossrails!
                                  As I said, I will NOT be using them again. I only have a couple wooden poles, which is why I set up the crossrail with them and the vertical with wooden. But I have that issue solved now.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Crown Royal View Post
                                    That day I just happened to not be carrying a crop or dressage whip. He did get a big smack with my hand, but trust me, any other time he would have gotten a big smack on the rump.
                                    Done that too...and reinforced the old saying "better to have it and not need it then need it and not have it".

                                    Always arm yourself properly.
                                    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Glad to hear you had improvement today. It's always nice to ride a horse that is eager to learn and enjoys his job.

                                      I would definitely keep on the track that you were on today. Add in a lot of lateral work, spiral circles, etc. Exercises that will get him light in front, strong, and in front of your leg. All of that work will make your job so much easier and will make him ten times more rideable between the jumps.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Crown Royal View Post
                                        Good to know! Jumps are only about 1'-18" in the center right now. Do you trot them into the 2'6" jumps, or canter?...Would you not jump him at all until he has a very balanced canter and is much more flexible, or would you go ahead and have him trot or canter jumps (2'-2'6")?
                                        Maybe a bit of a belated response as you already tried this with him, but I would do both trot and canter work. You'll find that some are more comfortable with one over the other, but they need to be capable of either. Just be careful to not let him slip behind your leg, especially at the trot jump - really work on keeping a nice rhythm to the jump and away from the jump. I'm a big fan of basic gridwork with them as they get stronger. You'll find that this encourages them to use their whole body through the exercise and find their own rhythm.

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