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Jumping style as a function of fence height - how much does this matter?

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  • Jumping style as a function of fence height - how much does this matter?

    I created a thread a while ago regarding GM's comments about jumping form, specifically when he talks about a horse having legs that are "loose" and which he sometimes calls "dangerous".

    Anyway, I've seen some horses that hang their legs just below parallel over small jumps but that have nice form as the fences get larger. Then there are some who jump in nice form no matter what. I suppose the latter is preferable. However, I wonder what the former style says about the horse's athletic ability. Do these types of horses do this over low jumps because they are being mentally or physically lazy? Or is it so easy for them that they don't have to try?

  • #2
    I'm not sure what the correct answer is, but mine does this when we're jumping consistently. I think she just doesn't feel the need to put effort in for smaller jumps. 2'9" is about where she starts having to rock back and push (not throw herself over like she likes to do with cross rails...). She gets MUCH more careful approaching 3', although it's been almost a year since we jumped that high due to my new job/her tying up/general lack of fitness for us both.
    Pisgah: 2000 AHHA (Holsteiner x TB) Mare (lower level eventing, with a focus on dressage)

    Darcy: 7? year old Border Collie x Rottweiler? Drama Queen extraordinaire, rescued from the pound in Jan 2010


    • #3
      my horse is this way, to the point of totally smacking a rail at anything under 4 foot and not caring. this is the same horse who jumps the standards at 4,9" to try not to touch a rail *eyeroll* it absolutely drives me nuts, and its mildly embarrassing at horse shows. our new warm up technique is trot a bunch of large crossrails, and then move up to what she considers a height "worthy of picking up her legs".

      i don't feel like she is "dangerous", but i don't like to encourage her consistently having rails, hence the revamped warm up routine

      in this case, i'd that it is just too easy/not interesting enough for her to try over smaller stuff. i've found that crossails work for her because they aren't your cut and dry vertical/oxers. even placing a jacket/cooler over the jump will help.

      as a whole, the fact that she doesn't jump appropriate over smaller fences does not matter to me one bit. she does the job i want her to do and that is what matters. to me this is an example of how what works for one horse may not work for another- each is unique=] took me long enough to figure that one out
      Last edited by carolinagirl17; Apr. 16, 2013, 10:58 AM. Reason: spelling


      • #4
        I think it's just the differentiation between a horse suitable for smaller jumps and one who's not. The one who's not may or may not have scope/talent, and if they do it takes someone able to see it through the less-than-stellar form. The one with good form also may or may not have talent for more, but that's another conversation.

        My High AO horse is horrible under 4'. Actually, he's pretty awful at 1.30m and a different horse at 1.40m+. At 1.40m+ he actually packages himself at the base of the fence and uses his butt to thrust over the jump....and bothers to bend his knees . At 1.30m and below he uses momentum and kind of lopes over the fences and stays very open under his forearm. Here he is in a 3' or 3'3" class in his first year of showing, and here he is a few years later at 1.40m. He's still not a "flashy" jumper in that he's not terribly conventional with his front end, but there is a difference from start to now.

        In my guy's case I don't think he has a great sense of where his feet are and so I think he gives himself lots of room and just doesn't try very hard.....meaning the fences are easy enough for him that he doesn't feel like he needs to get into "jumping form." At 1.40m he has to use himself more appropriately. Interestingly, the horse never touched rails through the 1.30m jumpers....always gave everything lots of room despite the less-than-ideal form. His first year in the 1.40m, though, yielded a fair number of rails, and I think it was because he basically had to relearn how to use his body. Now he's back to being a generally clean horse.

        To answer your question, I think that some horses are lazy, some are bored, and some are all of the above. I wouldn't categorize my guy as a "lazy" horse, but he's pretty smart and isn't about to put more effort in a jump than necessary. He's got a massive hind end, so "launching" way up and over is easier for him than compacting at the base and curling around the jump in a more conventional manner. In reading that back, I guess I'm saying that I think conformation plays a very big role in how correctly they jump when the jumps are easy as well as how correctly they jump when they get bigger.
        Flying F Sport Horses
        Horses in the NW


        • #5
          Originally posted by PNWjumper View Post
          He's got a massive hind end, so "launching" way up and over is easier for him than compacting at the base and curling around the jump in a more conventional manner. In reading that back, I guess I'm saying that I think conformation plays a very big role in how correctly they jump when the jumps are easy as well as how correctly they jump when they get bigger.
          I've noticed that horses with very good hind ends often tend to be less conventional and more loose with their front ends. I rode a mare like this for a while. She had one of the best hind ends I have ever encountered, and she would really loft herself HIGH up off the ground over every jump. But she was awful with her front end. Much worse than your horse. Her knees would border on pointing down. Okay, fine...sometimes they DID point down slightly! But there would be a foot or more in distance between the lowest point of her front legs and the highest rail of the jump. She also gave you a really good "feel" in the air because of the way she lofted herself.

          The problem with her was that she could jump a HUGE jump clean, but she was slow across the ground (lofty canter too) and lost time in the air due to her hang time. So everyone wanted to make her a hunter instead of a jumper (she was also a freaky good mover). I always thought that was a mistake. She ended up being ruined by a kid in the end because she never really found her niche.


          • #6
            Conformation plays a huge part in it too so it takes a good eye evaluating poor form over low fences. Is it lazy or does it have physical limitations?

            Many horses will jump better higher/more solid because they are afraid of hurting themselves. But thats something that is not necessarily going to carry over a full course of jumps with combinations. You don't want to realize theres nothing left in the tank when you are coming up long between 9C and D looking at even a 1m spread fence out let alone something bigger-not a good feeling.

            Not saying thats the case here but...I get sick of hearing one "is better bigger" as much as the "oh, he has plenty of step". Sometimes that is true, mostly it's not. Maybe ignorance, maybe trying to sell it..
            When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

            The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.