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Saddle-up Answers - Jumping problems

Kim wrote -  re jumping problems

I have a 15.1hh mare. She is a lovely horse who loves jumping but has a real problem with it .  How ever much work I do with her she is still nervous when jumping.  She does not like jumping too high but some days she will fly around a show jumping course and some days will refuse to go into a canter just to go over a pole on the ground! When she does not want to do it she is very lazy, does not go forward and is in a walk by the time I get to the jump - there is nothing I can do.  When ever she does do a jump, I always give her a pat and tell her she good but she does not seem to get the message.  Some people have told me to give her a big smack with the whip before the jump but that just makes her buck and then she refuses to do anything.  Please help me as I really want to have some fun when riding  - not being disappointed all the time.


This is another problem where we don't really have quite enough information.  

I'd like to know how old the mare is and how long Kim has had her, whether she has always had this problem with jumping, and how her behaviour is when working on the flat.  I'd also like to know a bit more about Kim's experience, and whether the mare has been checked out by a vet for any mouth or back problems.

But without this information, some suggestions that might be helpful.

1.  Get her checked out for mouth and back problems and general condition.  This is a first step for behavioural problems - there is often a physical cause.

2.  Check her tack fits properly - and that YOU do not pull her in the mouth during jumping or - by your own 'expectation' of difficulties - contribute to them.  An assessment lesson from a good instructor - preferably with your own horse - would be a very good investment.

3.  Work on her general obedience on the flat - no jumping at all - for at least two weeks.  Ensure she is going forward and obeying your aids - if the flat work is not 'right' - the jumping can't be.  When you're happy with work on the flat, start introducing poles on the ground and small poles into her flat work sessions.  Don't set out to have a jumping session - just pop in one small jump when she's going well.  Whether she does it well or not, go back to flat work for at least 5 minutes then try again.  Don't overjump her - or even over-school her.  Get in some hacking (logs on the ground?) and don't let her get bored.

Any other thoughts from readers?  Please complete the form HERE.


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