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no natural jumping talent?

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  • no natural jumping talent?

    I guess I just need to talk about my fears. I have a yearling colt by a very highly regarded hunter stallion, out of my TB mare, who has a GREAT jump, and nice flat huntery movement. All she was missing was a little more step and loft. So Dad is those things plus.

    Well I took the little guy into the ring today to play around and see what I have, and I'm dissappointed. He's an okay mover, more knee action than mom, definitely a bigger step, but mostly I've been hoping his awesome jump will outshine his trot. But his jump was pretty awful! I mean, knees pointed down, no use of his legs at all. Of course I started with just some poles, moved to a small X-rail, and finally, in effort to get him to use himself, made a 2' oxer. Still nothing, and the last time he went over he barely made it, knocked over the back rail.

    So, now what? How much do I depend on what he did today? I mean, natural talent is natural talent right? Can I hope that he'll develop some? And then...I've got plans to rebreed Mom back to the same stallion next week. Have I made a mistake? What if she throws duds?

    (NO flames please, yes, he's young to be jumping, but I don't think 5 min of jumping under 2' will do any major long lasting damage to a yearling)
    What I lack in preparedness I make up for in enthusiasm

  • #2
    I wouldn't worry about it! I would say it is extremely hard to judge a yearling that has never seen a fence before to see if they have much talent. In my experience half the time they can't get their legs together to trot, let alone get over a fence ;-)


    • #3
      His very first time? Wouldn't worry too much about it. If he still jumps like that when he's a bit older and has done it a few times and is relaxed and confident, then I would say that's *likely* going to be his natural form over fences in general, yes.

      I have had only one young horse that jumped like that consistently as a baby - it never got better, under tack she still hung her knees and jumped over her shoulder.

      It's too early for you to get discouraged, though.


      • Original Poster

        Thank you. But when can I expect to see some of this talent that he was bred for? I'm impatient to see because I have never had a nice hunter to show, this is all my eggs in one basket! Well, two baskets I guess since I'm rebreeding, but I won't know if the next one's any good for even longer!
        What I lack in preparedness I make up for in enthusiasm


        • #5
          Well, I don't put a whole lot of stock in jumping young ones through chutes. A lot of people on these boards will disagree with me, though.

          A friend imported a two-year-old colt from Holland that had the best jump video through a chute that I'd ever seen. He's now 5 and can't jump his way out of a paper bag. I mean, he's truly awful.

          Re-breeding to the same stallion? If you're having second thoughts, I'd probably go with my gut.


          • #6

            If the colt is a sales colt then it is a problem. It isn't that he can't learn but you don't want to put a lot of work into so young a colt til he figures it out. So it is a problem if you want to sell him now. If he is yours or you can hold onto him til later then it is not a problem. There are many reasons a colt might not do well over a jump at that age and most will improve with time. PatO


            • #7
              Heres the question. . . does he jump with a lot of loft and good behind and just bad in front? I've seen plenty of young ones who overpower the front end. But I would expect to see some natural talent. . . I certainly like to see it. . . does he jump well through his back at all? nice bascule? or not?

              did he get to the jump at the right distance? did you give him some groundline? maybe a small placing rail would help. . .

              I can tell you, if your well regarded hunter stallion happened to be Popeye K, that I saw him freejump as a 2 (?) year old and he was scopey but drapey. . .
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              • #8
                It would be wise to point out to the OP also that what you see in a grown stallion's video/photos is sometimes the product of extensive..... ermm.... "manufacturing" ... behind the scenes, if you will.. and NOT a natural improvement of the jump.

                Makes it difficult to know what you will get in your foals if the stallion's perfect 10 jump was artificially created, now doesn't it?

                ps - this is a broad statement, nobody should assume I'm implying anything about any particular stallion. But I have simply heard this many, many times from friends associated with big time GP jumpers and top Hunters.....


                • #9
                  Don't put all your faith in free jumping. Some horses never do this well, but when you get them broke and a rider can help them find their style and make it a habit, they do just fine. I would never discard one solely on the basis of a bad free jump.


                  • #10
                    I will share with your our experience. We put our horses through the chute first as yearlings and take notes. Then again as 2.5 year olds and compare notes. Then again when they are 3 or 4 (depending on when they are put undersaddle) and again take notes and then compare those notes to what we find undersaddle. Obviously the chute started out as poles and then progressed appropriately, but the finished chute was a placement pole-cross rail-one stride-vertical-one stride oxer to finish. Also, placement poles between the cross rail, vertical and oxer were placed when appropriate to give the horses their striding.

                    So far, with the 6 different Jumper mares that we have raised from weanling-undersaddle, the notes taken the first time through the chute have been remarkably similar to the findings later on in their careers.
                    Their strengths have carried through as well as their weaknesses.

                    I'm sure that there are horses that free jump beautifully that aren't able to translate that same talent under saddle. However, I would be surprised to find a horse that showed no talent in the chute, but then show great jumping talent with a rider. However, I'm sure there are exceptions.
                    Last edited by RyuEquestrian; May. 20, 2010, 12:32 AM.
                    Ryu Equestrian & Facebook Page
                    Breeding Horses Today, for the Equestrian Sport of Tomorrow.
                    Osteen & Gainesville, Florida.


                    • #11
                      I agree with others that say no big deal if he's not impressive as a yearling. My guy is a QH/Paint with no jumping breeding whatsoever (he does happen to be a lovely huntery mover though) but when I free jumped him as a 2 yr old he had no style. It took lots of simple gymnastics to get him jumping nicely....but he really does.

                      ETA that I should mention we didn't do "lots of simple gymnastics" all at once. It was spread out over several years and never overdone in a single lesson.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MCarverS View Post

                        So far, with the 5 different Jumper mares that we have raised from weanling-undersaddle, the notes taken the first time through the chute have been remarkably similar to the findings later on in their careers.
                        Their strengths have carried through as well as their weaknesses.

                        I'm sure that there are horses that free jump beautifully that aren't able to translate that same talent under saddle. However, I would be surprised to find a horse that showed no talent in the chute, but then show great jumping talent with a rider. However, I'm sure there are exceptions.
                        I have to agree. If the colt is really gangly or going through a growth spurt right now, it might explain some of what is happening. Or, it maybe just wasn't the best cross between mare and stallion and traits of one of the grandparents, for example, is coming out in the colt. From my own breeding experience, and getting a lot of youngsters in for halter training and under saddle training, what they have...or don't have when they are young, is what they have when they are of riding age. I will say, as far as jumping, you can always fix the front end (to some degree), but cannot fix a poor jumping hind end.
                        Home of Welsh Cob stallion Goldhills Brandysnap
                        Also home to Daventry Equine Appraisals & Equine Expert Witness


                        • #13
                          I wouldn't be evaluating a yearling, they tend to represent nothing of what they become. That being said, it sounds like you got what you bred. Athelticism stands out at any age. Fugly, yearling stage is no excuse. I can not make any suggestions, as I wouldn't breed a TB mare to a WB, but I can tell you, if you aren't satisfied with the product then one or both of the parents are at fault. If you want to lower your chance of repeating the problem, don't repeat the breading. Your gut reaction is correct.

                          Sparling Rock Holsteiners


                          • #14
                            thats a tough one. I have a 2 year old that as a yearling would jump jumps in the arena by himself. He has a great jump and I have never free jumped him only because I have already seen him do it! My guy is by a jumper father and a hunter mother which had a shorter step.

                            I would just wait and see. I have seen many young horses jump better once you teach them through gymnastics. I might be a little worried, but there is nothing you can do now!

                            Good Luck and hopefully he will impress you undersaddle. Who knows, maybe he will become a dressage star and you can sell him and buy yourself a nice hunter!

                            I bred my guy for a hunter too and we will see what happens. I am in your boat. I couldn't afford to buy one, so I bred one and took my chances!


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by RyTimMick View Post
                              I wouldn't be evaluating a yearling, they tend to represent nothing of what they become. That being said, it sounds like you got what you bred. Athelticism stands out at any age. Fugly, yearling stage is no excuse.
                              I am not sure I understand this. If they tend to represent nothing of what they become but athleticism stands out at any age regardless?
                              So should they be athletic but not necessarily have proper form?

                              Oh and could someone tell me how well TbXWb tend to do as Hunters?
                              The statement "you got what you bred" makes it sound like that is an unlikely cross for a successful hunter.


                              • #16
                                Interesting why wouldn't you breed TBXWB? Many horses I know are bred that way and are lovely horses.

                                While I have never put young horses through the chute to know how their jumping looks as they age, I have worked with several horses that had not been jumped much in their life and taught them to jump. How big is your yearling? Some horses do not jump small poles well even after they learn to jump. Also like a few others have said maybe you didn't have good enough ground lines for him, that really matters for the ones learning where to put their feet almost more so when the jumps are little because they can make it over them with their legs everywhere. 2' is not very big (I am not saying go jump him bigger right now, just saying that 2' may not be a good indication of his jumping talent). I understand the worry, but I wouldn't stress too much right now.


                                • #17
                                  Well TB's can be athletic. Jumping fences at speed ( 25 -30mph means chances are the bascule will not be there) for 3 to 4 miles means you have to be freaking athletic. Despite the consensus, they don't crash through them all and still win. So drop the stupid pretense of TB's aren't athletic. No they aren't everyone's cup of tea, but not all are created equal and the majority are not as useless as we are led to believe. Just because they aren't the be all end all or even any end all in SJ does not mean they aren't athletic. There are other disciplines out there besides showjumping you know.

                                  I have a very athletic Warmblood/TB cross and it ain't all from daddy. She showed her ability from the 1st time she loose jumped as a 2yo. She had all the nice qualities you look for as in quick, very good in front, but super behind. It does not mean she will be a superstar, but at least I knew she has some athletic ability which will be easier to train.

                                  Obvioulsy some don't pick it up quick as others, but if he is as you describe, and maybe he isn't that bad, then he might not be very athletic. I certainly wouldn't repeat the cross. Yes, yearling stages are sometimes funky but they should still show you a little something. Going under saddle and exercises will help but he may just have his limits.

                                  COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

                                  "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.


                                  • #18
                                    He might also be disrespectful of the fence if it's too low or if he's too athletic for it It will get better with age and under saddle training!

                                    It's hard to tell really without seeing the horse jump through the chute so the e-experts can tell you if it's lack of talent or sheer lack of knowning better!
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                                    • #19
                                      Tb x wb is generally the ideal for a hunter. Other than that, all I can say is that I don't have a high regard for freejumping. You will know if you have a hunter when it's three and jumping something decent sized under tack. Before that it's all guesswork.

                                      Also, as a general comment on "well regarded hunter stallions", not specific to you: if you cannot go watch your choice show in person, do some searching for photographers sites where the horse did show. Look at the photos that are not in the ads. Now, even the best horses take some bad photos. But you can learn a lot by seeing the ratio of good to bad, and see what the horse does when things go wrong. Obviously if the stallion can get stiff in the neck or lay on its side and your mare does the same exact thing, that is not your match. A lot can be done with flattering photos (and video that is never straight on to see how straight the jump is) and a career record produced by showing against bad horses at smaller shows or selectively. Look at results. See what horses are there and who took the week off. Look at scores if available. The whole story is often a lot different than it sounds on these boards and looks in the advertising.
                                      Last edited by CBoylen; May. 20, 2010, 09:13 AM.


                                      • #20
                                        Monica has hit the nail on the head ("I'm sure that there are horses that free jump beautifully that aren't able to translate that same talent under saddle. However, I would be surprised to find a horse that showed no talent in the chute, but then show great jumping talent with a rider") and RyTimMick ("I wouldn't be evaluating a yearling, they tend to represent nothing of what they become") has it wrong, in my opinion.

                                        At ANY age athleticism -- or the lack of athleticism -- reveals itself.

                                        At ANY age a mind for jumping -- or the lack of a mind for jumping -- reveals itself.

                                        At ANY age jumping technique -- or the lack of jumping technique -- reveals itself.

                                        At ANY age a physical structure (skeleton and soft tissues and muscles) that permits excellent jumping technique -- or the lack of such a structure -- reveals itself.

                                        In your case if I were you I would evaluate the youngster again a week or two after the first loose-jumping exercise and give him a second chance to show his athleticism. Sometimes there is a marked improvement as the youngster has now learned what is expected of him. If there is not a dramatic improvement you should cut your losses (assuming you are a good judge of a youngster).

                                        My experience has been:

                                        young cowards become old cowards;

                                        young horses stuck to the ground when they move stay stuck to the ground;

                                        young horses without elasticity stay inelastic;

                                        young horses that do not like to jump do not learn to like to jump;

                                        young horses that show no aptitude for jumping do not develop it later in life; and

                                        young horses cannot read so they do not know what their pedigree/bloodlines predict they will become.

                                        Morningside Stud