ShamlessDQ

Respecting Fences

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I haven't had to deal with this problem in years - and have frankly forgotten how I fixed it before.

Seven year old AppQH gelding that I wish I could buy for myself - he's scopey and one of the most genuine and honest horses I've ever had the pleasure to handle, and smart with it - you only have to teach him things once, most of the time. He's got a sticky lead and is scheduled for a chiropractor to make sure there isn't a physical problem there.

The issue is his jumping.

He'll clear a 3 foot jump perfectly, but if you put him at 18 inch schooling fences he either doesn't bother jumping or, about half the time, sends poles flying everywhere.

IOW, he's one of those that doesn't respect small fences/doesn't see the point of them. Using a lot of leg on takeoff isn't helping. A well timed "Hup" helps a little, but isn't really fixing the problem.

He's otherwise perfect for teaching people to jump, but we really need to get him picking his feet up and not being quite so lazy over small fences. (I think it doesn't help that he's a full sixteen hands).

What have other people tried for this that has worked well?

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First, I know nothing about jumping. But, could it have anything to do with his field of vision? Since I don't know his head position at the small jumps, I couldn't say. But this article explains how his head would have to be positioned to judge the jump, (which you may already know.)

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I'm giving him free rein on approach, so it's not that. Horses do need to move their head to judge the fence, so it's not a terrible idea. This is actually a fairly common problem, though. Some horses don't seem to want to be bothered with fences they consider too small ;).

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Pole work and gridwork. Need to engage back end, free up the front and jump correctly. Tonnes of schooling exercises and gridwork patterns you can make. Bounces, 4 jumps on a 20m circle, various striding patterns and related distances etc.....endless. Have a google. Main thing is a good engaged back end and a strong consistent canter short answer to it!

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Also if he's doing it teaching people to jump it's not fair to solely judge it on that as novice jumpers on him could be contributing to a tonne of things making him knock poles.....even the best jumper in the world will have mistakes with a novice on board over time. 😊

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No, he's not teaching people to jump yet. We're trying to fix it so that we can use him for that (with, of course, periodic tune-ups). He has a great temperament for it - he never even thinks about running out or stopping and he's very honest.

We're already doing pole work with him. Jumping on a circle is a good one, though, definitely. It's certainly not that he can't jump, though. He's got a bit of a lazy streak in him, although he's definitely gotten better about going right into the canter when asked and stuff, at least when asked by a decent rider.

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maybe you just haven't found the right incentive yet? my husband has a warmblood who is an "energy minimalist" but loves his treats or breaks. I started riding him point to point by setting up a bucket of carrots at both ends of the long side of the arena. once he figured out what was on the other side he fired the turbos up. with him what also works wonders is giving him a rest as soon as he does something well.

but in your situation it's hard to say--in my riding experience there have been horses who just aren't motivated over low fences. I knew a young horse starter in san diego who said she just lets them crash through the fence (uncomfortable) until they start picking up their feet to prevent it.

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He's crashed through enough that you'd think he'd have learned by now ;). He's getting plenty of positive reinforcement. I do think it's a motivation problem, though.

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BWWAAHAHAHAHA. Carrots in a bucket on the far side. I love it! It is the proverbial mule with the dangling carrot in front of him. That is awesome!

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