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Is this equine professional sensible?

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  • Is this equine professional sensible?

    If a trainer were jumping a four-year old who had been under saddle for less than a month, both over small showjumps and small xc jumps (about 2' high), would you want that trainer to work with you? Would you trust their judgment and general horse sense?

    This is not how I was taught to bring on youngsters but is there an argument for it?

    Help me keep my horse in peppermints and enjoy a great read! My New York City crime novel, available on Amazon.

  • #2
    If that's the only information I had I'd want more. Every horse and situation is different, and there is also a huge difference between popping over a little fence now and again and actively schooling a lot of technical jumping. The variation there is too wide to give a yes or no on your brief statement.

    Some horses LOVE the jumping so much that it's a great motivator for harder flat work. Some horses get bored with endless circles and walking hacks and need a little XC fun to keep them interested and not-naughty.

    I guess the answer to your question is no, it's not an automatic turnoff.


    • #3
      I wouldn't jump a 4 yr old at all. I wouldn't jump any horse that's only been under saddle a month. I'd find another trainer.


      • #4
        How big is the horse? It's 2 feet, according to the OP. Unless it's a small pony they can walk over it. I'd be a lot more concerned if they were doing endless lunging.


        • #5
          Like has been said, more information needed.

          Nothing wrong in seeing what a horse thinks of what might be their career in the future. Something small enough that they can walk over it just a couple of times is not going to hurt anything and can give a trainer quite a bit of information.


          • Original Poster

            Trainer is trotting and cantering the horse over the jumps. Not walking. Horse is already objecting to the tacking up process, which he didn't used to do when he was still in the learning about tack/long reining phase.
            Help me keep my horse in peppermints and enjoy a great read! My New York City crime novel, available on Amazon.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Caol Ila View Post
              Trainer is trotting and cantering the horse over the jumps. Not walking. Horse is already objecting to the tacking up process, which he didn't used to do when he was still in the learning about tack/long reining phase.
              If you don't like this trainer, leave. You seem like you are just looking for validation here.
              "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him."


              • #8
                I wouldn't jump a 4 year old IMO. There is so much on the flat to build a solid foundation, that this horse is quite possibly being rushed. JMO. If you don't like or trust this trainer's judgment, then find another.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Palm Beach View Post

                  If you don't like this trainer, leave. You seem like you are just looking for validation here.
                  ^^^ this.


                  • Original Poster

                    Is there something wrong with looking for validation on COTH? I reckon half the posts on the boards are more or less doing that.
                    Help me keep my horse in peppermints and enjoy a great read! My New York City crime novel, available on Amazon.


                    • #11
                      Objecting to being tacked up could be many things: tack fit, mentally tired, physically sore from carrying weight and using muscles differently. That can and does happen with non-jumping horses. The fact that the horse is cranky is a symptom. How the trainer handles it is a different matter.

                      You sound like you don't like this person much. If you're looking to foment a witch hunt you'll need to name names, or at least be a good deal more specific.

                      If you just want validation in your opinions, well, remember it's the horseworld and we rarely agree on anything, and you'll get 12 opinions from five people. Go with your gut and stay away is my recommendation.


                      • #12
                        I don't see anything wrong with jumping a 4 year old over small obstacles but there's jumping and then there's jumping. I bought a 4 y/o from Ireland who had been hunted a few times and when I was there we took him to a show where we put him in a 2'9" +- class. Vetted him, shipped to the USA. This guy does things a bit old school Breaks horse, takes them hunting as they like to have the horse figure things out. or they'll hack them out and pop them over whatever might be in their way - a stone wall here and there. Plenty of hacking - long hacks around the countryside and some ring work probably less ring work and more hacking out.

                        The thing is we didn't jump him much at home, and trainer is not the type of over school at shows; a few good schooling fences and ready to go into ring. We didn't show that often and when we did it was probably 1 division. Shoot I don't think we even schooled him over jumps during schooling breaks. He's 19 and has no soundness issues.

                        So IMO it all depends on the horse and the program overall. A few jumps here and there 1 or 2 times a week wouldn't necessarily be a deal breaker for me


                        • #13
                          I used to use small jumps to get young horses cantering before they understood canter transitions. We would pop over small jumps while hacking. I preferred this to constantly schooling on the flat in a ring. A lot of this depends on the horse and the rider's confidence.


                          • #14
                            I have a mare that was ruined for jumping by a trainer that basically pointed her at jumps and ran her into them, without any real training or I would be cautious. I would be less concerned about the physical issues of a 4 year old horse occasionally going over a few small jumps, but would be worried about the mental aspect. It might be no big deal until something unexpected happens, and then you may have new issues to worry about. My mare gets anxious about ground poles now.

                            In retrospect I wish I had stopped listening to the trainer that thought this was "no big deal."


                            • #15
                              There's nothing wrong with a four year old jumping. Adding small jumps, cavaletti, and even small natural obstacles to a young horse's training program is great for keeping things fresh and interesting and teaching a young horse to balance itself and think about what it is doing with its feet.

                              There are many different ways to train horses successfully. The acid test is in how the horse is responding. If the horse is happy and interested in its work, great. If the horse is having issues, then by all means, it's time to step back. Many inexperienced trainers want to move forward too quickly when dealing with willing, well behaved horses. Just because a horse is well behaved doesn't mean it has the education or physical development to move forward, so you need to be careful of that. And you know what, if you don't like a trainer, just move on. Admittedly, it's terribly difficult to find people who are good at bringing along young horses.

                              I will say, however, that I think that objecting to the tacking up process is likely unrelated to the jumping. I would do a double-check of all tack involved--make sure the horse isn't being girthed up too tightly/too quickly, make sure the girth isn't pinching or causing soft tissue soreness under the chest or at the sides of the rib cage, make sure the saddle fits reasonably well, etc. Many young horses do not like to be girthed up quickly, so that might be a quick fix for the tacking up issue.


                              • #16
                                I know it’s a controversial topic, but given that it doesn’t seem unusual in Europe for four year olds to be *competing* over much higher fences, introducing some obstacles that are basically an expanded canter stride rather than a true jump does not, by itself, seem out of order to me. Like anything else, it can be overdone, or done incorrectly, and some horses (e.g. the particularly large albatross-like beasties that are clearly still in the rapidly growing and clumsy stages of adolescence) maybe should hold off. But I think an early introduction to the concepts of approach, finding a distance, maintaining a steady, energetic-but-not rushing pace, etc. over such small things SHOULD, done correctly, form a solid confident foundation when moving onward to large fences. I’m also of the opinion that careful, modestly progressive introduction to the types of exercise and physical stress expected as an adult should actually improve long-range soundness, since young bones are better able to physiologically adapt to biomechanical forces than older ones.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Caol Ila View Post
                                  Trainer is trotting and cantering the horse over the jumps. Not walking. Horse is already objecting to the tacking up process, which he didn't used to do when he was still in the learning about tack/long reining phase.
                                  I wouldn't ask a 4 year old to walk over jumps that I wanted him to actually jump (vs step over one foot at a time), that would make me question a trainer. But trotting or cantering them over a few jumps to see what you have, or as an extension of flatwork, would not automatically give me cause for concern. I would look into how the horse is traveling as a whole, if they're working on balance and coming through and all that (mainly on the flat, but also ok with incorporating small jumps), or being rushed into skipping the basics to get around entire courses or bigger jumps.

                                  I'd also look at trainer's track record and what they've produced and their soundness and longevity. And ask trainer what their plan is, if I'm unsure of their process. Or find another one, if I don't like what they're doing; I would not entirely discount the gut feeling that something is wrong, but presumably you picked this trainer for a good reason, in the first place. If you've had many young horses and this isn't how you do it, perhaps you would feel more comfortable with a trainer who shares your training philosophy. Nothing wrong with that, imo, but may be hard to find.


                                  • #18
                                    Five year old jumper classes are 1.10m-1.20m. (3'7"-3'11")
                                    Four year old "Young Event Horse" classes are 2'3"-2'11", five year olds are 2'7"-3'3".

                                    If they're jumping that big as four and five year olds, obviously they're jumping something as four and three year olds.

                                    Probably the bigger issue is that it's only 30 days under saddle, but I don't know anything about the horse or situation to say if it's really a problem or not. Several valid reason to jump a green-bean have already been mentioned above.
                                    Last edited by mmeqcenter; Sep. 17, 2018, 12:30 PM.
                                    "The best of any breed is the thoroughbred horse..." - GHM



                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Caol Ila View Post
                                      Trainer is trotting and cantering the horse over the jumps. Not walking. Horse is already objecting to the tacking up process, which he didn't used to do when he was still in the learning about tack/long reining phase.
                                      I think you confused the point about walking over jumps.

                                      I was not trying to say the trainer was physically walking over the jumps, I was saying that the trainer was taking the horse over things small enough that the horse could physically walk over them.... in other words, not something that was over doing it.


                                      • #20
                                        Unless it is your horse it is not your business. If you don't like what you see look elsewhere for a trainer. It.Is.That.Simple.