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What age is safe to free jump?

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  • What age is safe to free jump?

    My filly just turned 2 April 4th!

    I haven't free jumped her yet, but I so want to...

    When is the perfect age?

    She sure does a lot of acrobatic of her own already!

    When can I see if she can really put that to good use??
    One of a Kind Studio
    Fine Art Paintings, Horses, Dogs, Wildlife and anything else that inspires.

    New convert to the cow horse world.. love my QH mare.

  • #2
    I have a very large 3 year old and I have yet to free jump her even though we have started her under saddle.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Yeah I don't want to risk any injuries... so I would love some input on this..
      One of a Kind Studio
      Fine Art Paintings, Horses, Dogs, Wildlife and anything else that inspires.

      New convert to the cow horse world.. love my QH mare.

      Comment


      • #4
        I'm planning on doing some small stuff this summer with my guy that's a day older than yours. He's been begging for work for a long time now and his walks are not as much fun (for me) anymore. He's also going to start ground-driving this summer too.

        With the way he charges around the (rocky, steep-hilled) pasture like a maniac and jumping over any bush or obstacle he can find, I don't think mixing a little bit of free jumping (under 2') into his "work" will hurt him. He still has the attention span of a goldfish so we'll be keeping things short and easy at this point.

        Comment


        • #5
          At the farm where I used to work, we would start the weanlings with their mamas going around the arena over a ground pole. Yearlings did maybe a 1' vertical, 2 year olds maybe a 2' oxer, 3 year olds we would start to put the jumps up a bit to test them. Granted, these babies would go around and jump maybe 2 or 3 times in each direction. Nothing to break a sweat, just enough to get them interested and be able to see the way they used their bodies. We maybe did 3 or 4 sessions in the spring time with the 2 year olds, that's it.

          Comment


          • #6
            I free jumped my mare at about 2 and a half. Very little stuff to introduce her to the idea.. started with trot poles and then small cavellettis.
            I made a chute for her and she got the idea pretty quickly. highest I put a fence was about 2'6 with a tiny wee spread.

            Did maybe 2 or 3 sessions over 3 months and havent done it since to be honest.
            Free jumping is not going to really show you waht the horse will be like over fences with a rider.. whole different ball game. So I don't put much stock into what i see when I free jump. It' more about getting them comfortable over poles etc..
            Love and Laughter - 2005 TB Mare - Boss Mare
            Foxfire Lacey - 2007 Half Welsh Superstar
            New Sensation - 1986- 2014 Love you to the moon and back

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            • #7
              I went to a Free-Jumping clinic over the weekend at Hilltop Farm Inc. This question was asked of the clinician (Michael Bragdell). He said that at age 2, he does not jump them more than a few times during that year, and at low heights. The goal at age 2 is to basically to get them used to the chute so they get the "idea" of jump, canter, jump. IIRC, he began with poles on the ground for the demo 2 year old filly and ended with 2 crossrails. At 3 years old, he begins to raise the height of the second jump to nothing exceeding about 3'. I think the demo 3 year old gelding (who was lazy) ended with two 2'-ish verticals. My BO's 3 year old stallion that went ended with jumping the second jump in the chute at about 3'. Try emailing Hilltop and ask to get a copy of the handouts. It shows jump placement and distances. A few other tips, he said you should max out at 8 to 10 runs through the chute (I believe this was for a closed chute which was used - it may be less for an open chute). If you need to make changes or add poles, do it early in the session and don't make changes late in the session. If the horse is good after 5 or 6 times through, then you should stop on a good note. Hope this helps!

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Thanks!

                My girl has just had the basic handling, bringing in, brushing, bathing etc so far. Right now she's out in the pasture with other babies her age, growing up.

                I hope to begin more stuff later in the year, getting her used to a saddle, and that sort of stuff. She could probably do that now, just wearing it, but I am busy job hunting and possibly moving so I have decided to just let her be for the time being.

                Once things get settled towards fall, I may just do some poles as people suggested..and a low low chute thing.

                Thanks for the input!

                It's fun watching her grow up... it's hard to be patient sometimes... but so worth the wait!
                One of a Kind Studio
                Fine Art Paintings, Horses, Dogs, Wildlife and anything else that inspires.

                New convert to the cow horse world.. love my QH mare.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by La Gringa View Post
                  My filly just turned 2 April 4th!

                  I haven't free jumped her yet, but I so want to...

                  When is the perfect age?

                  She sure does a lot of acrobatic of her own already!

                  When can I see if she can really put that to good use??
                  shouldnt jump a horse before its 5 as its bones and musles havent fully developed

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by goeslikestink View Post
                    shouldnt jump a horse before its 5 as its bones and musles havent fully developed
                    Actually, there has been a few studies that show a moderate amount of stress on the bones is good for long term bone health.

                    A few short free jumping sessions a month shouldn't hurt her. Like anything, build up to it slowly, and watch her. You know her- you'll know if she's sore or off.
                    Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      This year, I free jumped a 2yo and a 3yo (both ponies) for a sale video. The jump was about 2' tall and each jumped it 4-5 times. The gelding actually liked it and was eager for me to catch him the next day! It didn't seem to make a difference at all with the filly. I don't think I would regularly free-jump anything less than four years old. However, I also don't think it would hurt to send youngster over a jump a few times to get an idea of their heart and potential scope. My gosh, they buck higher than the jump I had set up. Both of these guys are from successful pony hunter bloodlines and jumped just the way their papers indicated they would.
                      Member of the "I Ride A Chestnut Thoroughbred Mare, So You Don't Scare Me Clique"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by goeslikestink View Post
                        shouldnt jump a horse before its 5 as its bones and musles havent fully developed
                        This is true. You should also keep them from moving around a lot. I like padded stalls for this purpose.



                        Moderation in all things is usually a good idea, but this concept goes in both directions.
                        Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Ponies?

                          I'm assuming ponies can start jumping earlier. The Grand Green Pony Champion at Pony Finals(Sparkle Plenty) last year was 5.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            You should wait until the horse is 13, then any bone fusing it was going through will be completed.

                            DMK starts them way too young. I've seen DMK on a baby before! Terrible. Criminal.
                            Stoneybrook Farm Afton TN

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by tidy rabbit View Post
                              You should wait until the horse is 13, then any bone fusing it was going through will be completed.

                              DMK starts them way too young. I've seen DMK on a baby before! Terrible. Criminal.
                              You're absolutely right TR. DMK has this 16 year old that she jumps regularly, over 3'6"! Really, he should barely be started under saddle at this point.
                              "I don't want to sound like a broken record here, but why is it that a woman will forgive homicidal behavior in a horse, yet be highly critical of a man for leaving the toilet seat up?" Dave Barry

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Look, here's DMK on Aero before I bought him. http://sports.webshots.com/photo/288...48495570xHmdvt

                                Poor Aero.
                                Stoneybrook Farm Afton TN

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  No, he's 17 now so I can get away with the jumping. *whew* Last year was a no go for the jumping.

                                  I consider my riding on Aero to be some of my finest work. But see how badly they go when you wait a year like Tidy does:

                                  http://sports.webshots.com/photo/227...48495570gwUwpH

                                  See how inverted and unspecial he is? Tsk tsk. Of course later she took my suggestion and jumped him and draw reins and was able to save the day.
                                  Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Hey NOW! Wait just a cotton pick'n minute! That photo of me and Dodger was at Traders Point in the pre-weanling division. He's 4 months old there. At least I could make mine trot!
                                    Stoneybrook Farm Afton TN

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      a year, four months... what does it matter? It's all too late.
                                      Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Baby Greens anyone?

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