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Can I make my gelding a more careful jumper?

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  • Can I make my gelding a more careful jumper?

    My gelding is still fairly green over fences. And when he misses a distance or worries about the fence, he has no qualms about knocking it. I put him over some solid jumps out on the trails and he has gotten very careful with those now. However he knows the others will come down if things don't go perfectly. An suggestions?
    Celtic Charisma (R.I.P) ~ http://flickr.com/photos/rockandracehorses/2387275281
    Proud owner of "The Intoxicated Moose!"
    "Hope is not an executable plan" ~ My Mom
    I love my Dublin-ator

  • #2
    Originally posted by Showjumper28 View Post
    My gelding is still fairly green over fences. And when he misses a distance or worries about the fence, he has no qualms about knocking it. I put him over some solid jumps out on the trails and he has gotten very careful with those now. However he knows the others will come down if things don't go perfectly. An suggestions?
    I'm interested to see what others say. If he knocks it down, does he then jump more carefully the second time? If your horse is super green it might not be an issue of him not being careful, but more that he just isn't physically (or mentally!) capable of being careful yet unless he is set up perfectly.

    Comment


    • #3
      Slight spin off, sorry OP: What to do with a mature, SEASONED hunter who has no problem rubbing/knocking rails?

      Comment


      • #4
        People used to try things to get cleaner jumps such as poling and tack rails and all sorts of mean tricks. Google George Morris and poling and an unsavory story from Palm Beach a few years ago may surface.

        It's that desire not to hit the rail that makes the Superstars.

        Comment


        • #5
          Are you using wood poles or PVC? If PVC I'd switch to wood poles at home to start with. Not getting the distance is hard on a greenie to go clean. A more direct ride is best for a greenie. Maybe use ground poles to help with distance and give him a little more room to save it. If it's a confidence issue since you say he will get worried lower the jumps back down and slowly over time bring them back up. While they are down start making the jumps a little more scary for him, more flowers, bags, pinwheels whatever that's safe and give him a confident ride with leg and correct distance so hopefully he will learn that mornings going to eat him and to listen to you.
          Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by rabicon View Post
            Are you using wood poles or PVC? If PVC I'd switch to wood poles at home to start with. Not getting the distance is hard on a greenie to go clean. A more direct ride is best for a greenie. Maybe use ground poles to help with distance and give him a little more room to save it. If it's a confidence issue since you say he will get worried lower the jumps back down and slowly over time bring them back up. While they are down start making the jumps a little more scary for him, more flowers, bags, pinwheels whatever that's safe and give him a confident ride with leg and correct distance so hopefully he will learn that mornings going to eat him and to listen to you.
            I am using wood rails. Even with them really low, he will still hit them sometimes. Nothing really scares him. However the more solid the jump looks the more effort he will put in. He is not more careful after he pulls a rail. That doesn't mean that he will pull the next one though. Sometimes we have a perfect distance and he still doesn't snap up the front end. He very rarely pulls one from the long distance, however.

            Maybe it is just him being so green. (He is not physically sensitive at all, but very mentally sensitive.) He is easily distracted still. I do find he jumps much better, out of hand. He is still very inconsistent with his performance, and I do keep our jumping to a minimum. (This maybe be part of the problem.) I usually don't spend a ride just working over fences. Once or twice a week I will throw a few in just to keep his interest. He loves to jump! Never tries to stop, never tries to go around. It's always... That jump? That jump? How about that one? This one here? OK! LOL He is more than capable of doing what I ask, I'm just not sure he knows it yet. And if he is distracted either by the jump or something else, it's all good because he knows the jump will come down.

            I just get the feeling like he isn't really bothered if he takes it down. It's very fustrating and a little discouraging.
            Celtic Charisma (R.I.P) ~ http://flickr.com/photos/rockandracehorses/2387275281
            Proud owner of "The Intoxicated Moose!"
            "Hope is not an executable plan" ~ My Mom
            I love my Dublin-ator

            Comment


            • #7
              I wouldn't be discouraged just yet.

              It sounds like he may not have the strength yet to jump from a tighter distance. they really have to rock back and use their hind end and maybe he hasn't figured that out yet.

              I would not jump too much, but work on slowly incorporating hind end strengthening flat work. I would also trot jumps with a trot rail set at 7' - 8' and don't "hold him off the jumps" let him learn to balance himself in front of the jump. Also, be careful that you don't lean towards the jump at a normal to tight distance. Try to use heavier, more solid poles and deeper cups.

              Remember it takes time for him to develop strength, so don't rush it, or you'll make him sore.

              Good Luck!
              Last edited by d1277; Nov. 13, 2012, 02:49 PM.

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              • #8
                It sounds like he just doesn't quite understand where his bodyparts go yet. I'd try introducing some low gynmastics (starting with just poles on the ground the first time, slowly building to small x-rails) to give him a little more confidence. The distances are right there for you, so I've found that it's good with young ones who aren't quite sure where everything goes yet.
                Trying a life outside of FEI tents and hotel rooms.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by GingerJumper View Post
                  It sounds like he just doesn't quite understand where his bodyparts go yet. I'd try introducing some low gynmastics (starting with just poles on the ground the first time, slowly building to small x-rails) to give him a little more confidence. The distances are right there for you, so I've found that it's good with young ones who aren't quite sure where everything goes yet.
                  This. I have a green(ish) mare who has a tendency to knock rails for no good reason. Perfect fence and she will rap a rail periodically. I have found that gymnastics, and more specifically, a takeoff rail set appropriately in front of the jump (sometimes after a jump too) works for us. It makes her pay attention to where she places her feet and she tends to be more careful. It also helps the horse and rider "to see" the right distance to a fence. Good luck!
                  ______________________________

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                  • #10
                    Agree with other posters on placing ground rails but would add that the quality of the canter is extremely important for horses that are less than careful. Ensuring I had a nice balanced canter before entering the jumper ring meant no rails but as soon as I let that canter deteriorate....there came the rails. With young horses it can take a long time to get the canter you need. It is not at all unusual to have young horses take down all kinds of rails and improve dramatically as their balance improves. Good luck

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Well I feel a little better... Maybe all is not lost! LOL Canter quality is still a little touch and go, but considering where we started from, it's been an amazing transformation. Will just keep working on, well, everything and see where we are a little further down the road.

                      Anyone have any canter exercises they would like to suggest to help improve ours? Our biggest issues being, keeping uphill balance and collection.
                      Celtic Charisma (R.I.P) ~ http://flickr.com/photos/rockandracehorses/2387275281
                      Proud owner of "The Intoxicated Moose!"
                      "Hope is not an executable plan" ~ My Mom
                      I love my Dublin-ator

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Showjumper28 View Post
                        Well I feel a little better... Maybe all is not lost! LOL Canter quality is still a little touch and go, but considering where we started from, it's been an amazing transformation. Will just keep working on, well, everything and see where we are a little further down the road.

                        Anyone have any canter exercises they would like to suggest to help improve ours? Our biggest issues being, keeping uphill balance and collection.
                        Canter poles. Figures. He sounds young and green, so probably too young to really understand or be able to do collection. I would also do some lengthening and shortening of stride if you have been working on that at the trot. A lot of the canter quality has to come with time... some of the youngsters just do not have the muscle yet. Also, maybe working on the walk a bit would help... just some lateral work and small figures, practicing free walk/working walk/free walk and things like that. That did a lot for my guy starting out.
                        Trying a life outside of FEI tents and hotel rooms.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Horses don't miss their distances-riders do. Not picking on you...just saying it sounds like you have some holes in the training. Keeping him uphill and balanced, which you know you need help with, really should come before you do any serious over fences work.

                          Patience and time, there is no "magic bullet" here. Work on your transitions up and down, every gait to every other gait, extensions, collections and laterals. DRESSAGE LESSONS, preferably on their schoolmaster will help you learn the feel so you can take it home to yours.

                          Sometimes we get so enthusuastic about the progress one is making for us, we skip some steps-if anybody on here says they have never made that mistake...they haven't had many horses. Take a deep breath and back off the jumping. Your winter project is Dressage lessons and working on flatwork to fill in the holes in his canter.

                          You get that fixed by spring and still have problems with careless jumping? We can go from there. But there is no fix until you fix that canter and let him get stronger.
                          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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                          • #14
                            I also like lunge jumping, so this way the horse learns to get himself out of the odd tough spot! Also, to be quite truthful, a horse that is brave and not afraid to hit a jump now and then, makes a much easier horse to ride. My last mare was way overcareful (and spooky) and because she was so afraid to hit a jump she'd stop on a dime if you weren't perfect every single time! Made life so not fun, and as I don't exactly ride like a pro it became a nightmare!
                            Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Well like I said we really don't jump much. Just a few small fences thrown in here and there to keep it interesting. I posted a thread a while back about our canter issues. It's not that he can't canter balanced uphill and collected, it's that he doesn't think he has to. However, on some suggestions from that thread, we have made a huge leap forward there.

                              He is spot on on his lateral work in all gaits. He does HI, SI, and beautiful transitions with in walk and trot. We have both turn on haunches and on the forward also like a pro. I finally got my new girth so I can sit the saddle back off his shoulders, which is also making a huge difference.

                              I was hoping that improvement of our flatwork might make a difference in his lack of concern for pulling rails. But I don't want to blow smoke up my own behind. At what point does it become obvious that he may not be jumper material?
                              Celtic Charisma (R.I.P) ~ http://flickr.com/photos/rockandracehorses/2387275281
                              Proud owner of "The Intoxicated Moose!"
                              "Hope is not an executable plan" ~ My Mom
                              I love my Dublin-ator

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                No matter how nice his trot work is, the only way to fix the canter is by cantering. If you are familiar with long-lining techniques, they can be used to help a horse figure out how to balance and hold himself together without the hindrance of a rider, so it is then easier with the rider on him.

                                If he really is that sloppy with the rails from the canter, I wouldn't canter single jumps. He is just learning a bad habit. I would do trot-in grids with medium-to-generous distances between fences to start. That will kill two birds with one stone- you won't miss on the way in, and he'll learn the appropriate distances to jump from. You are setting him up for success that way, and you can just sit there and let him figure it out.

                                As he learns to use his body correctly through the grid, you can then close up the distances a bit to teach him to rock back and not go past the distance/grab a rail. It is much harder for a horse to get his front end out of the way from a closer distance, but the answer to that is not to let him stand off of the fence on takeoff.

                                Some horses are naturals, some need to be taught good technique.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  With young horses, it is often just a matter of balance. They just can't hold themselves together well.

                                  If you have access to cavalettis, setting two of those as a bounce is a nice exercise to work on balance. Actually, cavalettis in general are great.

                                  Trotting a little jump with a trot rail 9ft in front sometimes helps set a rhythm, and lets you time yourself to give a nice strong leg off the ground.

                                  Lots of cantering rails on the ground.

                                  Eventually jumping on angles and some little gymnastics are good too.

                                  And, like some other posters have mentioned, keep on the flatwork. Get him cantering uphill and on his butt. Teach him to carry himself. It's amazing how some "not careful" horses turn out to be the opposite with a good program and a change in balance.
                                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                  "I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream." --Vincent Van Gogh

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Some good tips here... but are you *asking* him to jump? When my young horse was starting over fences (and had a solid base of trot pole grids and canter poles) I made sure I would lightly sit at the base of the jump and squeeze him over the fence. If I kept a half seat and just "let" him jump, he would jump flat and rap the poles with his legs.

                                    Free jumping him through grids will also help him coordinate his body without the hinderance of a rider. Lastly, some horses just don't respect small fences. I had a 4 y.o. who would trot over fences, up to 2'6" or simply crash through them. Once 2'9"-3'+ height, he jumped normally and respected the rails.
                                    A quick tutorial on interval training: Conditioning your horse for eventing

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                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by WW_Queen View Post
                                      Some good tips here... but are you *asking* him to jump? When my young horse was starting over fences (and had a solid base of trot pole grids and canter poles) I made sure I would lightly sit at the base of the jump and squeeze him over the fence. If I kept a half seat and just "let" him jump, he would jump flat and rap the poles with his legs.

                                      Free jumping him through grids will also help him coordinate his body without the hinderance of a rider. Lastly, some horses just don't respect small fences. I had a 4 y.o. who would trot over fences, up to 2'6" or simply crash through them. Once 2'9"-3'+ height, he jumped normally and respected the rails.
                                      Some of this is an issue as well. He is over 18hh, so jumping smaller fences just means no actual jump at all.

                                      Trot grids he is awesome at. LOL But I will try setting up some more bounce sets. And put some ground rails in front of some smaller fences to get him to rock back.

                                      As far as our canter work goes. I am finding the issue is getting him to step under from behind and lift through the shoulder. I could use some exercises to help to get this to click in his head. Would it be too much to ask him to do a step or 2 of TOH in canter? Maybe in the corners?

                                      This is my heart horse. (I loved my first horse and will never find another one like her.) But he is just so amazing on so many levels. I am not in a rush, he isn't going anywhere.
                                      Celtic Charisma (R.I.P) ~ http://flickr.com/photos/rockandracehorses/2387275281
                                      Proud owner of "The Intoxicated Moose!"
                                      "Hope is not an executable plan" ~ My Mom
                                      I love my Dublin-ator

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Showjumper28 View Post
                                        Some of this is an issue as well. He is over 18hh, so jumping smaller fences just means no actual jump at all.
                                        You said green. How old is he? 18H is a lot for a young horse to coordinate.

                                        Originally posted by Showjumper28 View Post
                                        As far as our canter work goes. I am finding the issue is getting him to step under from behind and lift through the shoulder. I could use some exercises to help to get this to click in his head.
                                        Spiral circles, but start slow and build, they can easily make a horse sore, they also can highlight a weak stifle. Eventer type in me says go build those stifles and do terrain, up and down hills.
                                        Don't let anyone tell you that your ideas or dreams are foolish. There is a millionaire walking around who invented the pool noodle.

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