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How to Fix Careless Hind Legs

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  • How to Fix Careless Hind Legs

    Hello all -

    I have a scopey, but temperamental, TB that is not always the most careful with his hind legs. He is a bit of a flat jumper, as most TBs are, but he normally gets away with it at home. However, at a show, he gets a bit "up" and is often more concerned with acting like a fire breathing dragon than paying attention to where his hind legs are.

    I know I have a lot of issues to work through on his temperament in the ring, but from an exercise standpoint, are there any good ones that really help teach a horse to kick out, or at least mind where his back legs are when jumping? The more I can do at home the more will stick when the dragon rears his head

    Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    I don't know how your horse is scopey but jumps flat and hangs his hind legs. Nevertheless, he can't get away with anything at home. Learning = repetition. If mistakes are allowed at home, they'll most definitely be made at shows.

    If he's acting up and not paying attention to you, you need to MAKE him pay attention by changing your routine. Serpentines, figure 8's, circles, bending, leg yeilds, etc. Give him a reason to listen to you.

    Flat: A solid foundation in flat work always should come before jumping. Is he consistently working in a frame (w/ hind end engaged)on the flat?

    Jumping: Gymnastics, gymnastics, gymnastics. Switch up the jumps often - give him something to look at. Oxers. Circles before and after jumps. Keep the jumps small until he starts using himself correctly.


    • #3
      Off set ramp oxers

      Ride him in Dodas or weighted hinds


      • Original Poster

        thanks for the response. what exactly are doda boots...i've never heard of those.


        • #5
          I am not sure what makes you think that TB's are flat jumpers. Simply not even close to being a legitimate statement.

          Jumping flat is not a precursor to pulling rails behind. Take Authentic/Hickstead for example they are by description flatter jumpers, in that their trajectory is flatter than that of some horses, but none the less they are great jumpers, and simply pull rails much less than their competition, regardless of their style or trajectory of jump.

          I do not know your horse, and I do not know how you ride, but it has been my experience that a horse that pulls rails out of laziness is going to generally pull them up front, not behind. A horse that consistently pulls rails behind immediately makes me think of rider error.

          The two main errors riders make that cause horses to shut it off behind, are hitting the horse in the mouth, or opening or closing too fast over a fence.

          It is the old back pack example. If you have a back pack snuggly attached to you and you run or jump you can almost accomplish these things without impact, let the back pack get loose and flop around and it will affect your balance, and consequently your ability run or jump. Same goes for your horse.

          Now if your horse is just lazy, by chance, then there are, as stated by Neverend, exercise on the flat and over fences that will help your horse get under himself and use his/her hind end.

          One that was not specifically mentioned was trotting fences with ground poles a stride or a little short of a stride before the fence. This is going to teach your horse to use impulsion, and to get on his hind end when jumping. This good exercise as you can use it from a cross rail all the way up to a significantly sized oxer, and it allows the horse to learn through experience.

          All of these exercises however are intended to do one thing and get one result, get your horse on its hind end and teach your horse to use impulsion, which ultimately is all about teaching your horse how to jump with efficiency. Generally once a horse understands the most efficient way to jump they will adopt it completely as it is much easier to jump efficiently than it is to jump any other way or to even stop, stopping takes more energy.

          You as the rider also have to understand balance and impulsion. I am sure you are familiar with getting the long spot and the problems that can cause a horse’s jump. This is generally a loss of impulsion. Rider sees a long spot the horse to make the spot and the impulsion is lost either getting to the spot or after the fence because the horse uses it all up just getting over the fences and lands strung out with no impulsion to step away from the jump and consequently has no impulsion for the next fence.

          Speed is forward, impulsion is up, and pace is the balance between them required for the obstacles on the course.

          Boots are a gimmick, what a horse does over fences is generally a reflectoin of what they do on the flat, and what the rider is doing over the fences. Try to find the answers in your training and developement, and your ride first.


          • #6
            Hauwse said everything... just would like to reiterate that Thoroughbreds are not flat jumpers - you cannot make that generalization. Perhaps YOUR TB is, but I assure you that is not a trait of the breed.
            Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!


            • Original Poster

              sheesh guys, chill out a bit. all i said was that my TB, and many TBs, are a "bit" on the flat side. generality yes, but its not like i said every TB you ever meet is going to jump flat as a pancake (nor for the matter did i say mine did). just on the general range of flat as a pancake to crack your back bascule, they tend to be less crack the back types. i'm sure you can quote examples on either side, but again its just a high-level generality.

              that said, thanks for the exercise ideas.


              • #8
                There are a lot of TB fans on this board and they don't want you calling their horses with great bascule flat jumpers. I can't say that I've jumped many TBs that were flat personally, most were of the "crack the back and hit you in the chest with their withers" variety. Flat jumping is certainly not a breed trait as supershorty said. Don't think anyone meant anything personal by it, just defending the beloved TB. Good luck with the exercises!


                • #9
                  Got to work on strenghtening his weak parts. Get him stronger in the back end and he will get better. On the flat, counter canters, hill work, work with extensions. etc
                  Over fences try serties of bounces. Set a longer row of them if you want. You can do up to ten. 2ft high, no more. 12 feet between no less and canter through them every second day as part of yuor flat work. Once he gets better go in with a little more canter but don't change the distance or height with this many bounces.
                  A bit like doing reps at the gym. 10 three tmes and you are done and move on to the next station.

                  Could be he just needs a little help figuring out where he's at. This ecercize will do that and make him a bit strongeras well.
                  Timothy, stop lurking


                  • #10
                    On the flat: I have found on that doing cavelettis raised about 6 to 9 " helps. if you dont have caveletties and only have poles you can use single standards and put the pole in the cup (like 1/2 of making a cross rail alternating the side you have the standard on)
                    kind of looks like / \ / \ / \ this and you just aim for the middle (lower part of the "1/2 X ")
                    \"A smart lady knows its ok to change her mind, a damn fool never does\"


                    • #11

                      I've had great luck with them.