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Hunter -> Jumper

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  • Hunter -> Jumper

    When is a good time to transition from Hunters to Jumpers and what exactly should you do to prep?
    When do you think it's ok level wise to transition over to jumpers? (How high should you be jumping when you move?)
    Save The Date 08-15-2011

  • #2
    There are many different levels at which you can transition. If you have local schooling shows that offer lower level jumpers you may be able to transition sooner. If you are already doing 3'-3'6" hunters or especially Equitation or Medals you may find yourself ready sooner rather than later.

    I think it really depends on what you are doing now and the type of riding you are used to. If you are used to a really quiet ride and aren't accustomed to rollbacks, bending lines, etc it might be a longer transition. Jumpers are a much more forward "sit down and ride" type of ride as opposed to the hunters where you strive to create a relaxed, quiet ride. If you are transitioning the same horse you may need to work on extra hind end strengthening as well as working on compressing/lengthening the canter. You will need to be able to adjust your horse's stride at a moment's notice.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by tua37516 View Post
      If you are transitioning the same horse you may need to work on extra hind end strengthening as well as working on compressing/lengthening the canter. You will need to be able to adjust your horse's stride at a moment's notice.
      What type of exercises would you recommend?
      Save The Date 08-15-2011

      Comment


      • #4
        You are going to want your horse to have the ability to go a little more up (rather than long and low) and really use his hind end more than you are used to. Hillwork is always a great place to start and you are going to want more power from his hind end o/f. I would incorporate hillwork either as a warm up a few days a week or have 1-2 hillwork days. Even doing your flatwork routine in a not so level field will help.

        I would work on compressing and lengthening the trot and canter. You are going to want more active stride (not faster) and a more upright horse. I would practice at the canter by setting a line of canter poles at say 5 strides. Work on adding and leaving out strides each time. See how may you can add. Do a 6, and see if you can do a 7. Try to keep it very interesting while doing flatwork, always keep your horse active and guessing where you are going. Do lots of cloverleafs, figure 8's, half halts, haunches in/out.

        Comment


        • #5
          I'm not going to type out a novel right this second because I have a physics lab report calling my name, but OP, feel free to PM me... I took my mare from the junior hunters up through the national standard GPs

          Will write another post with exercises later.
          http://www.youtube.com/user/supershorty628
          Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!

          Comment


          • #6
            In flat work for my jumpers I do a lot of lateral work. When done well it really gets the hind leg stepping through more power.

            Counter canter will also is a great one to improve strength in the canter.

            I would also incorporate smaller canter circles into flat work, 20m, 15m and 10m once the horse is strong enough.

            And work on having the horse really adjustable. As soon as you leg goes on your horse should respond, as well as when you ask them to shorten. All while maintaining the same rhythm.

            None of this needs to be perfect when you start but they are good things to work on.

            Comment


            • #7
              annaelizabeth covered a lot of what I was going to say.

              Lateral work: shoulder in/out, haunches in/out, leg yields, half passes... I personally like half passes the most for a variety of reasons, but they all have their advantages and disadvantages. All of them get your horse's hind end stronger and gets the horse more supple. Plus (I think), it's fun!

              Adjustability: This is crucial! I like to focus on transitions within gaits, i.e. I'll go from a working trot to an extended trot to a collected trot, same with the canter. I also worked on doing small circles (10m or less) and then increasing the pace coming out of the circle - it gets both you and your horse thinking about coming forward through tight turns and when you're doing a jump off, that can be the difference between the winning turn and having the rail down because you're so backed up from the turn that you have nowhere to go. Practice doing circles of different sizes at varying speeds. Reining patterns are actually pretty good to practice this, as they go from galloping on a larger circle to a slower canter on a small circle. Really good reiners do it almost invisibly. I try to be like them.

              Spiral in and out of a circle at the canter. Make it smaller and smaller and smaller. If you have a horse who is really strong behind, you might even get it small enough to be a canter pirouette. Keep the same rhythm the whole time. If you really want to make it tough, spiral in/out at the trot and canter with a leg yield so you maintain the counterbend until you are to the point where you don't want to make the circle any smaller.

              Work over ground poles to practice your adjustability in a line. Set up a line on a half stride - say 64' or so. Do 4 strides, 5 strides, 6 strides. See how many strides you can fit in while going straight. See how many strides you can fit in if you change your track and bow the line. Change it up. Do 4, then 7, then 5, etc.

              Get both you and your horse fitter! I personally think your core strength comes into play more in the jumpers than in the hunters, so get your abs and back super strong. It made a big difference in my riding!

              Practice working on turns and rollbacks over poles. I know my mare was very wide-eyed when we switched her from the hunters to the jumpers because she was used to going in a straight line. Practice making neat turns, not crazy small, but efficient. As you get more comfortable with them, make them smaller (within reason). Make sure you maintain your pace.

              Hillwork is great if you have access to hills. Galloping on a hill is fabulous for stamina.

              As for when to switch... I think it depends on your horse's education, the rider's education, and how you ride the class. I think, in all honesty, that a lot of the riding you see in the lower level jumpers is not well done at all. At that level, you can get away with going like a bat out of hell and winning, although that's not really good riding. My trainer explained it as focusing on going clean, then focusing on neat turns, and adding in the speed last. I think the hunters add a great base to any horse's foundation, as you incorporate that element of smoothness (which will make you faster) and one rhythm.

              I think I'm going to stop my dissertation-length post now
              http://www.youtube.com/user/supershorty628
              Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by supershorty628 View Post
                As for when to switch... I think it depends on your horse's education, the rider's education, and how you ride the class. I think, in all honesty, that a lot of the riding you see in the lower level jumpers is not well done at all. At that level, you can get away with going like a bat out of hell and winning, although that's not really good riding. My trainer explained it as focusing on going clean, then focusing on neat turns, and adding in the speed last. I think the hunters add a great base to any horse's foundation, as you incorporate that element of smoothness (which will make you faster) and one rhythm.

                I think I'm going to stop my dissertation-length post now
                Can I just say I love your trainer. I do a bit of instructing at my local pony club I used to ride at. I've been trying to tell them to slow down but it often falls on deaf ears. I am going to try word it how your trainer does and see if that helps get through to them.

                Comment


                • #9
                  do you mean transition the horse or the rider ?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by annaelizabeth View Post
                    Can I just say I love your trainer. I do a bit of instructing at my local pony club I used to ride at. I've been trying to tell them to slow down but it often falls on deaf ears. I am going to try word it how your trainer does and see if that helps get through to them.
                    When I transitioned over from the hunters to jumpers my trainer always taught me to ride my first round like an Eq or Medal class--it wasn't about speed it was about going clean. Once you get in the jump off then you can worry about going fast, but until then you just need to make sure you are precise enough to get into the jumpoff! Qualifying for the jumpoff is about precision, not run and gun :P

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      What I found that helped me in my first jumper show last month was riding all my courses like a medal round. I feel like the first couple of shows should be you getting used to the jumpers and learning how to make the time safely and cleanly without getting out of control and running. The horse I did it on doesn't have his lead changes, so while it didn't look as neat as a medal round I still made sure to shape my turns well and ride to the base. It's also best to do a class or two at the low levels before jumping in to the 3'6" whatever. If you normally do hunters at 3'6", do your first jumper class low, like 2'9" low, and if you go well, then do the 1m-1.10. Don't push yourself too far in the first try.
                      Mendokuse

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by supershorty628 View Post
                        As for when to switch... I think it depends on your horse's education, the rider's education, and how you ride the class. I think, in all honesty, that a lot of the riding you see in the lower level jumpers is not well done at all. At that level, you can get away with going like a bat out of hell and winning, although that's not really good riding. My trainer explained it as focusing on going clean, then focusing on neat turns, and adding in the speed last. I think the hunters add a great base to any horse's foundation, as you incorporate that element of smoothness (which will make you faster) and one rhythm.
                        Our trainers must come from the same school of riding! "Slow is Smooth. Smooth is Fast" is how she likes to say it. At a recent show my grandparents came to watch me and were in such show that I had the fastest time in the jump off. "You looked so much more tame." is how they put it . I try to ride every 1st round like an equitation course. Of course I am blessed with a 17h horse with plenty of stride so I don't really worry about time. In the jump off you make the turns neater and learn when to lengthen your stride and then re-balance. We currently compete in the Adult Jumpers. Which I think is the division where you start to see the separation between good riding and ripping around the course. Most horses can save your butt 1.0m and lower (of course some can save your butt at 1.10m and higher as well but those cost more $$ ), it gets questionable at 1.10m.

                        When to transition depends on you and your horse. A greener [jumper] rider with a seasoned horse will likely transition over sooner than the opposite pair. A safe, semi-athletic horse can teach a rider how to ride jumper courses effectively. My favorite type of horse to teach someone to do the jumpers is an older packer that is very forgiving but not very tidy and requiring the rider to put them together throughout the course. I want the horse to actually have the rail at the 3' vertical because the rider threw their body or make the rider really plan and ride to get that tight inside turn.

                        If the rider is more seasoned but the horse is green I would take more time. A jumper course can be intimidating to a greenie. Of course this all depends on the horse's personality. Some could care less. Instilling that confidence early is very important. Remember your horse should be forward and straight first and foremost!
                        There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the
                        inside of a man.

                        -Sir Winston Churchill

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by supershorty628 View Post
                          I think I'm going to stop my dissertation-length post now
                          I work on so much of this already and it really makes me think about how much work would go into this! Some of these things are a bit of a challenge but I'll definitely work on incorporating some of these exercises into my daily work. I for sure don't want to be rushing into anything. I want to take all of the time my mare and myself need. Thank you so much for these exercises!
                          Save The Date 08-15-2011

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by Ray View Post
                            do you mean transition the horse or the rider ?
                            Both! My mare is a non-raced TB mare. She's pretty long at the canter but is always willing and adjustable to what I need. One day a dog ran into one of my lines and spurt of the moment she turned with control and without fighting to a pretttttttty tight angle away from the dog. Sounds stupid but I noticed how adjustable she was and started working on bending. She's pretty good with it! The mare LOVES to jump also! We had her in a pasture the first week I owned her a year ago and she jumped straight out. Do keep in mind this is a normal 3-4 foot wood boarded fence.
                            As for myself, I'm interested in moving out of Hunters eventually, I just don't know when I want to do it.
                            Save The Date 08-15-2011

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by tua37516 View Post
                              When I transitioned over from the hunters to jumpers my trainer always taught me to ride my first round like an Eq or Medal class--it wasn't about speed it was about going clean. Once you get in the jump off then you can worry about going fast, but until then you just need to make sure you are precise enough to get into the jumpoff! Qualifying for the jumpoff is about precision, not run and gun :P
                              Sounds pretty accurate to me! The way I've looked at it, taking your time is the best solution with this type of transition. I'm not too knowledgeable on Jumpers at all so when I know there's generally 3 classes in a Hunter Division (1 flat, 2-3 o/f) What do they look for in Jumpers?
                              Save The Date 08-15-2011

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                They don't really "look for" anything, which is the best part! They will give you a set time for the first round. If you surpass the time limit you will get faults. Each rail that is knocked down, you receive 4 faults. If you do not knock any rails or accrue any time faults (i.e. "go clear") you may continue to the jump offs. At that time you will want to go the fastest you can go without pulling any rails. The person with the best time and fewest faults wins.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by savethedate View Post
                                  I work on so much of this already and it really makes me think about how much work would go into this! Some of these things are a bit of a challenge but I'll definitely work on incorporating some of these exercises into my daily work. I for sure don't want to be rushing into anything. I want to take all of the time my mare and myself need. Thank you so much for these exercises!
                                  You're welcome . Feel free to PM me if you have any questions. I took my mare from the junior hunters up through getting a ribbon in a national standard GP, so am very familiar with the process!
                                  http://www.youtube.com/user/supershorty628
                                  Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I think some good advice has been given regarding exercises to prepare and the advice to ride smoothly at a moderate pace. The jumpers is really about the efficiency of the track. "Run and gun" is not only the sign of a poor jumper trainer, but will not be competitive in the long run, and is dangerous. There are few other considerations I'd like to add.

                                    It is a common misconception that there is a certain "time" to move over to the jumpers, after X number of months/years in the hunter or eq rings. At out barn, rank beginners who choose the jumpers will often do a couple of small shows in the hunters until they are comfortable with learning and executing a course. There is never an intent to win, as the riding style is totally different, it is just about comfort with a show ring and a simple course to remember.

                                    Next, they'll usually move directly to the jumper ring at some schooling shows doing the 2' and 2'3" Arg. classes. This way, speed isn't a factor, but the courses are more complex, it's a natural place to begin.

                                    For riders who have been showing and jumping in the eq or especially hunter ring exclusively for awhile, the first consideration is the effectiveness and position of the rider and suitability of the horse. This may not be the case with the OP, but often our trainer has to completely change a riders position and use of leg. The first thing they re-learn is riding a horse from the back to the front, when they have often been doing the opposite, with hardly any use of leg. The impulsion, energy and adjustability needed in the jumpers comes from the hind end. This will also bring to light problems with the hands, riding the front end usually entails no contact or hanging contact on the mouth, neither of which are desirable.

                                    The next will be an evaluation of their use of other aids and lateral work. Can they effectively bring the horses shoulder through a turn or are they using the inside rein to make all the turns. Same for lead changes. Is the horse straight? (important for angle jumping).

                                    I'm not a trainer so I've probably missed some important aspects, but this is what I commonly see in lessons with people transitioning to the jumpers. Of course, it also depends on where someone is in their skill development, not all of these skills needs to be mastered to ride in the jumpers, but it is what we work on day in and day out. Balanced, calm, effective, subtle.

                                    I love the non-subjective purity of the jumpers. The fanciest, most expensive horse in the class doesn't have a chance of winning without a skilled, dedicated rider aboard. Good luck, hope you enjoy it!

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