Posted: Sat Aug 26, 2006 6:45 pm Post subject: Jumping?
Hi, I'm new here, so I didn't really know where to put this! I'm trying to teach my horse to jump, and everytime, he just trots over the jump. He doesn't jumpit, and I'm afraid to put it too high because he is just learning. What should I do?
It's very nice that he's relaxed about the poles, and that he's comfortable trotting right over them. It's always better to have a relaxed horse willing to approach the obstacle, rather than a scared horse who trips or dodges out. It's a good attitude on his part, so try to make sure you don't push him too hard all at once and make him scared.
I am sure that's part of why you're hesitant to make the jump too high. So let's look at ways to encourage him to jump, without making the jump high enough to overface him.
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What are you using for a jump?
If you're using a cross rail, a single pole might be more effective. A cross rail is a good introductory jump, because it guides the horse toward the center of the jump. But if you're just not getting a high enough crossrail, or the horse doesn't take the crossrail seriously, you might try a pole. It can help to use "wings" (something set on each side of the jump, to guide him toward the center) if you do try the single pole.
It can help even more to give him something solid, some kind of small filler by itself or below the pole. One thing I've used is a plastic 55 gallon barrel, sawn in half. Put the two halves next to each other and it's a 12" tall rolltop! Very nice for introducing horses to jumping by giving them a very small obstacle that it's easier to jump than to walk over.
Whatever you use, make sure it's sturdy and that he won't hurt himself if he steps into it or knocks it. Wooden poles are safer than PVC. Any filler with gaps in it that he could step into wouldn't be safe. An obstacle that is low but is very visible, has a little width, and has a solid surface can be nice and safe for an introduction to jumping.