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horse natural jumping form question

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  • horse natural jumping form question

    Hi All,

    I'm sorry if you have discussed this - I can't find a thread. Please feel free to post links if I've missed it.

    I'm not talking about winning hunter form here, I'm talking about safe jumping form that would not burn your eyes in the hunter ring.

    Are there horses who have decent hunter form at about the 3' or higher range who are very sloppy when over crossrails (we're talking uneven knees pointing down)? Is this unusual?

    I'm asking because a hunter trainer evaluated a horse free-jumping prior to going under saddle, and said that the horse didn't really start using the body until it jumped 3', then it started really using the back and had decent form. Hunter trainer number 2 rode this same horse after horse was going under saddle and said that horse didn't start using the back until about 3' and had potential in higher classes. Hunter trainer number 3 watched horse go over crossrails with no impulsion and said form was so sloppy she would not jump this horse over a 2' jump, much less 3' or higher.

    Question: is it unusual for a horse to be sloppy at super-low fences but then show better form over higher fences? Can you peg a "dangerous jumper" from how it negotiates crossrails? Can training improve the front end of such a horse?

    Sorry for the ignorance - I'm a dressage rider.

    Thank you!
    J.
    Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

  • #2
    I have seen ones that are sloppy over low fences, but the ones that point their knees down tend to always point their knees down... there is sloppy and there is flaw in form IMO

    Comment


    • #3
      It is not uncommon for horses to just step over really low jumps, and not use their bodies well until the fences go up. Bounces and gymnastics can encourage them to tighten up over the lower stuff, but... some are just sloppy at any height. Clear as mud.
      The journey is the destination.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Thanks so far, you guys. I know it is a difficult question to answer without seeing the horse. I'm just wondering if there are horses out there who are sloppy at crossrails but better over 3'. Trainers number 1 and 2 seemed to suggest that this horse was "one of those who don't start to use the body until it has to", but trainer 3 seems to think that all horses can be evaluated for jumping form over a crossrail. I watched the horse free jump as a youngster and watched the horse under Trainer #2 and it looked fine. Seemed to have a round back and to tuck the front legs. But I don't have a honed hunter eye, either, and jumping goes so fast without the benefit of a slow-motion video!! Trainer #3 had a very different training/evaluation style than the first two. The horse jumped about 1.5 to 2' before trainer labeled the horse as a "dangerous jumper". Personally, I think the horse was just being lazy/bored over a 1.5' fence. But I don't know. So I'm wondering what more experienced people think.

        Thanks, and sorry for such a vague question!!
        Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

        Comment


        • #5
          One thing I have been training for right now is even arc..... so I will try to do a diagram of what I am saying...

          This demonstrates the jump = /\
          This demonstrates the take off point and landing point = X
          This demonstrates the distance = -------

          So as the horse takes off - the arc in the air the horse should have the jump in the middle of the arc..


          X--------/\--------X


          So to work on this.... we put a pole on both side of the jump encoraging the horse to take of and land accordingly.

          to me this makes a better and safer jump even if the horse isn't the tidy-est jumper around....

          Edited to add - - I kind of misunderstood the question...... if I am understanding correctly you have had three trainers see your horse and two said he should be okay at 3' and one says don't jump him?

          It also depends on the horse. When they are young and possibly not developed they will not jump as well as if you put some training on them with good dressage like flat work...


          I have a horse that when young about 4; I started jumping him and he was okay.... but took a few years off to do some dressage w/ him because he just was not balanced and he is now much better..... This particular horse took time to find himself... (late bloomer)

          Maybe you could post pictures or videos that would really help to see what the horse is actually doing.....
          Last edited by doublesstable; Apr. 18, 2010, 10:40 PM.
          Live in the sunshine.
          Swim in the sea.
          Drink the wild air.

          Comment


          • #6
            Yes. absolutely. I have found that cross rails don't tell much about a horses form, star hunter style or not .
            Shop online at
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            Comment


            • #7
              LOL!

              I have a 5yo 1/2 Holstiener/Dutch/TB homie that jumps a pole on the ground like a 3ft fence. The first fence. Always. Always the first one.
              Then she gets the idea it's not a big deal, and gets sloppy...til you give her more to get hungry about. Then hang on.

              My thoughts are that your trainers might want to give you the *SHIT SALES* idea.
              Maybe your horse has something to offer they want to reap their own benefits on.

              God knows this is not POSSIBLE in people and trainers. They are so honest.




              Thats why I walk the quiet path all by myself, and with my horse alone.

              Comment


              • #8
                I refuse to show my horse in anything under 3' even starting out 2 or so years ago because he literally screwed around on anything lower.

                the higher the jumps for him the more he actually thinks and applies himself. Now I have seen horses suck all the way around too...

                Comment


                • #9
                  It is extremely common for horse to be sloppy over little fences, especially if they possess a significant amount of scope.

                  However as has been stated a sloppy horse or one that jumps with dangerous form may appear much alike at 2'

                  The best way to clear it up is to simply give the horse something to look at, add something to a 2' fence, or bigger, that they are not used to, and will respect, and see what they do over it (cooler, flowers, brush, pylons). If they get their knees vertical and square them up then the issue is interest, if they are still hanging legs etc. then they probably have some form issues.

                  It is important to understand though that many form issues can be helped, and a lot of jumping happens before the fence, so all these things have to be considered when evaluating a horses form over a fence.

                  It is also important to understand that at every level what constitutes good form and what one perceives as a problem that can be corrected and one that cannot is subjective. What one trainer see's as intolerable and another see's as fixable can vary a great deal, based on the knowledge, training methods, and patience.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Whoa, you guys have a really high thread turnover her on the H/J forum!

                    I wanted to thank everyone who responded here. I appreciate the exercise suggestions and the trainer interpretations. It's difficult when tow trainers agree and one is totally different. I agree that form can be improved...I don't think that this horse always understood the question for trainer #3 because the way of going was really foreign (training was generally forward on contact, trainer #3 was no contact, not forward). Again, I really appreciate the feedback!
                    Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I am anxiously awaiting more replies to this one as I am somewhat the same boat!

                      7yo mare that I bred who has serious jumper breeding on dad's side and mom was a TB but a very nice jumper, baby girl basically trips over anything under 3' while staring at <<insert any possible object other than jump in front of her here>> . She has nice form over 3', but is just flat uninterested in anything less, including gymnastics which she continues to go through like a freight train. I have taught some other young horses to jump, but never come across one that basically tripped/crashed/stumbled through the little stuff but didn't look bad over the higher stuff. Maybe I need someone braver to really challenge her, because at this point, I'm not sure I want to be on her over 3' if she zones out!

                      We are now working almost solely on dressage because she is quite good at it, but there's still that part of me that really would like to find the jumper that I bred her to be--is she in there somewhere?

                      After reading this, I'm not sure if she hates jumping or really thinks the little stuff is 'not worth her time'.....because that sounds a lot like her attitude- "boring, not challenging, let's do something else mom"
                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                      "There is just as much horse sense as ever, but the horses have most of it"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        You're applying human reasoning and emotions to an animal which cannot reason like that. If she isn't seeing certain things in her path, consider her vision.
                        Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          If you teach the horse a quality canter, where it is basculing (spelling?) each step of the canter it will naturally have a better quality over small jumps and poles on the ground.

                          Perhaps this young horse is really just going around on it's forehand and just doesn't have the strength to pick up it's front end?
                          Stoneybrook Farm Afton TN

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by tidy rabbit View Post
                            If you teach the horse a quality canter, where it is basculing (spelling?) each step of the canter it will naturally have a better quality over small jumps and poles on the ground.

                            Perhaps this young horse is really just going around on it's forehand and just doesn't have the strength to pick up it's front end?


                            My baby horse is very unmotivated over the little fences and produces an uninspiring jump over anything less than 3'. He has a very pretty canter, and it is so tempting to let him lope around on a loose rein and not ask him to really do anything.

                            But if I work to really engage the canter, get him working, get him pushing from behind, suddenly I have a much better jump even over the little stuff.
                            "Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?" Sun Tzu, The Art of War
                            Rainy
                            Stash

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              It's hard to tell you without seeing pictures, but frequently horses will just canter the crossrails - which can seem like bad form to some. IMO, which is limited, so take with a grain of salt - a horse that puts maximum effort into a crossrail pbly doesn't have much scope for the bigger fences.

                              FWIW, my DD's young horse just canters over anything under 3' - he doesn't display bad form, per ce, but it's just another canter stride to him. He doesn't really put an effort in until about 3'3".

                              Totally agree with the above poster about the quality of the canter to the jump - that is key. Definitely want them powering from behind.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Linny used to be dreadul over smaller stuff. His form over bigger stuff was never A-show 3'6 level but it was reasonable and by no means unsafe. Up to about 3' he just took a big lopey canter stride, not squaring his knees. Rails on the ground and grids were deadly. I was always afraid he'd step on a rail and snap an ankle.

                                It's an odd situation because one trainer is actually using terms like "unsafe." There are plenty of horses that are not hunter lovely or even average over jumps that are not "unsafe." I've jumped plenty of horses with pretty ugly jumps but who I never thought might hurt themselves or me. It's a very wide continuum and to have one trainer so far from the others seems strange to me.
                                I'd rather ride a horse who's knees are not chin high or perfectly even, but who is cagey and careful than one who might have better knees but who still drags a toe or might drag his hind end a bit or gets careless enough on landing to trip.
                                F O.B
                                Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
                                Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  J-Lu firstly how old is the horse in question, because that would influence me. Is the said horse bad in front or hind. I have an amazing 5 year old that jumps very unorthodoxed. He is an absolute brilliant jumper, but doesn't tuck his front end yet just jumps higher. Brilliant hind end, he is jumping 3'6 to 3'9 and has yet to take a rail. Front end I am absolutely not worried about, hind would have me concerned. BUT alas I have no clue what to look for in a hunter so I might not be of any use at all. I buy a lot of young horses and they turn out just what I would have expected.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Strange that 2 out of 3 say the horse will start using himself when the fences get bigger and only ONE say he's unsafe!!!! Could it be that this trainer actually doesn't want you to buy said horse because he/she wants him/her & is trying to discourage you from buying first???? hmmmmm, mesmellssomethingfishy!!!!
                                    Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by flshgordon View Post
                                      7yo mare that I bred who has serious jumper breeding on dad's side and mom was a TB but a very nice jumper, baby girl basically trips over anything under 3' while staring at <<insert any possible object other than jump in front of her here>> . She has nice form over 3', but is just flat uninterested in anything less, including gymnastics which she continues to go through like a freight train. I have taught some other young horses to jump, but never come across one that basically tripped/crashed/stumbled through the little stuff but didn't look bad over the higher stuff. Maybe I need someone braver to really challenge her, because at this point, I'm not sure I want to be on her over 3' if she zones out!
                                      My 5yo is the same, except when she's not zoning out she's pulling like a freight train because she thinks she knows where we're going. We've wiped out the standards as well as the poles more than a few times.

                                      Trainer (dressage trainer who used to jump/event) used a LOT of ground rails, flat and raised, to get her to slow down and pay attention. Once she figured out that paying attention was more pleasant, she's showing cute form over even the small stuff.
                                      "Adulthood? You're playing with ponies. That is, like, every 9 year old girl's dream. Adulthood?? You're rocking the HELL out of grade 6, girl."

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by J-Lu View Post
                                        Hi All,

                                        I'm sorry if you have discussed this - I can't find a thread. Please feel free to post links if I've missed it.

                                        I'm not talking about winning hunter form here, I'm talking about safe jumping form that would not burn your eyes in the hunter ring.

                                        Are there horses who have decent hunter form at about the 3' or higher range who are very sloppy when over crossrails (we're talking uneven knees pointing down)? Is this unusual?

                                        I'm asking because a hunter trainer evaluated a horse free-jumping prior to going under saddle, and said that the horse didn't really start using the body until it jumped 3', then it started really using the back and had decent form. Hunter trainer number 2 rode this same horse after horse was going under saddle and said that horse didn't start using the back until about 3' and had potential in higher classes. Hunter trainer number 3 watched horse go over crossrails with no impulsion and said form was so sloppy she would not jump this horse over a 2' jump, much less 3' or higher.

                                        Question: is it unusual for a horse to be sloppy at super-low fences but then show better form over higher fences? Can you peg a "dangerous jumper" from how it negotiates crossrails? Can training improve the front end of such a horse?

                                        Sorry for the ignorance - I'm a dressage rider.

                                        Thank you!
                                        J.
                                        I watch a horse canter under saddle. From your dressage prospective if you can "improve that canter" and the horse is sloppy, maybe a 3ft or beyond. If you watch that horse canter and think he can not improve, then no go. Never judge a horse for jumping ability without a rider. A rider on a horse, just like dressage changes everything.

                                        Comment

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