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Thread: Training for XC/jumping?

  1. #1
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    Default Training for XC/jumping?

    Loooong time in the future, but Joosie told me to ask a question, so here it is!

    I firmly believe that River will one day make a cracking jumping pony. Since she was tiny, she's been jumping out of fields and at one of our old yards, she became obsessed with the XC jumps in the field. She will climb on anything (including rolled up rubber mats!), jumps ditches and goes through water without any concern at all. As yet, we've never tried deliberately getting her to jump and I'm planning to wait until she's at least four and a half before we start really thinking about it, although she will walk and trot over poles on the lunge or in-hand.

    My only experience of XC is having ridden around a course a few times when I worked on a yard. When it was quiet, I used to go out with the other employees to the XC field and we'd have little competitions between ourselves but that was ten years ago, and I've not really jumped since apart from a couple of show jumping lessons on Salsa a few years ago. I'm planning to buy myself some poles and wings next spring, as I'd like to do a bit more jumping with Sal, so I'll be able to start doing some more pole work with River as well.

    So what's the best way to start training a potential XC horse? What sorts of obstacles would she need to be familiar with?
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    [FONT="Book Antiqua"][COLOR="Sienna"]He's of the colour of the nutmeg. And of the heat of the ginger...he is pure air and fire; and the dull elements of earth and water never appear in him
    *Salsa* 19th April 1998 - 7th July 2013[/COLOR][/FONT]
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  2. #2

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    Logs out hacking!!! I'd start doing stuff out hacking out of logs and twigs. Out hacking its less stressful as its usually a more relaxing environment and you encounter natural obstacles. Gems gone from shying away and not jumping logs/anything rustic to becoming more of a confident ride.
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  3. #3
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    Very good question.... don't have much time atm and will come back to you probs tonight and tomorrow with a long answer. Got a young person of my own now, who has yet to encounter xc, obvs had newt and dennis who I managed to introduce and imo (not to be big headed :s) got to really love it in a sensible manner..... Scoob we just don't talk about haahaa!

    Oh how I miss you, my symphony, played the song that carried you out.

  4. #4
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    Hehe nice to see my plan in action

    I'm no expert on teaching horses to jump, but I would suggest plenty of polework and eventually building up to a simple grid - for example when he is trotting over a row of 4 ground with a couple of strides between each, you can just turn the final ground pole into a teeny tiny crosspole and ride through it in exactly the same way - the horse will barely notice it's a jump at all! Then gradually build the crosspole and/or turn it into a small upright, and bob's your uncle - you have a jumping horse! For single jumps, I've also found it useful to set up a very small crosspole and just kick on and ride at it like a lunatic (flapping arms and all!) - horse is swept up by your enthusiasm and pops over the jump, easy peasy Though I am sure there is a more "proper" way of doing it - but you know, you can only recommend what works for you

    For introducing XC type obstacles I agree with PL88 about the benefit of jumping on hacks. If you come across a small log or ditch out hacking, just point at it and pop over. I think it's a more relaxed way of doing things as it doesn't have a "build up" if you see what I mean - the rider is less likely to get nervous / tense and the horse is less likely to think it's a big deal. Then of course there are plenty of XC courses with a "mini" option (1ft6ish) which would be ideal for a first "proper" introduction to XC.

    There are of course many ways to skin a cat. Speak to Sunshine about the XC - the young horses she produces jump XC obstacles BEFORE they do poles as the theory is that jumping solid obstacles first teaches them how to pick their feet up! In Portugal I was given a project pony to "teach" him to jump - well poles were no use as he would literally just run through them, so I tried taking him out to do the little XC jumps our Pony Club kids had made - and lo and behold, he saw a log in front of him and locked on and zoomed over it as happy as larry

  5. #5
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    Cheers for the ideas I think I now need to bookmark this thread so I can come back to it late next year when River has mastered "start" and "stop" (stop is pretty good, but then she tends to get distracted by my foot hanging down and spends ages trying to nibble my toes, has a little rear and then goes "ohhhh, you want me to walk on! " ) and has got some basic flatwork under her belt.
    [CENTER][IMG]http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y228/Gothic_Sez/Signatures/Signature01.png[/IMG]
    [FONT="Book Antiqua"][COLOR="Sienna"]He's of the colour of the nutmeg. And of the heat of the ginger...he is pure air and fire; and the dull elements of earth and water never appear in him
    *Salsa* 19th April 1998 - 7th July 2013[/COLOR][/FONT]
    Forever Loved and Never Forgotten

    [/CENTER]

  6. #6
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    Ok now have working internet and laptop

    Ok so lunging it your first port of call, poles on ground just random working around them and then over.... then building up to few in row w/t/c. Freeschooling is also a very good friend, single jump, grids.

    Everyone is a bit different as to when you introduce jumps undersaddle. Personally learning the hard way ish! I want balanced in w/t/c acceptance of the bit, suppleness and movability left and right (nose to tail as it were), working mostly round. Then I actually just pop up a little cross pole and trot to it, not much contact but a supportive leg and see what happens. Pop it few times and leave it.

    Then introduce and mix up jumping sessions with different exercises, 2 jumps on 20m circle is a good one, grid work with place pole, linking fences. Still with some freeschooling/lunging over jumps getting horse to find own feet, don't always set things up to be easy with placing poles etc... place poles with random striding get the horse to think about its feet.

    Main thing is always have a purpose whilst riding/jumping. As others say pop logs, splash thru big puddles etc.. out hacking, forward and fun. Then when basics are there at home with jumps/schooling etc... If horse is forward thinking, has correct basics in the schooling (forwards, left, right, backwards), off the leg, moveable round leg/with aids, your in-balance and supportive with your aids there should be no problems once you go xc.

    Other thing I've seen is... first comps jumping, people get all aghh its a comp, not going with the mental attitude that it's actually a schooling session in itself. I've had issues xc at comp with Dennis, at like 6th fence on course, he lost confidence a little but jumped 2 plain fences then was really good and jumped the corner, so at that point I retired, it wasn't a point to have a battle/keep pushing when he'd overcome a problem carried on correctly, would have spoilt him to have issue again at same but more difficult type of question later in course. Also turned circles brought back etc.. in rounds, just to keep things educational and not rushing as its a comp.

    Oh how I miss you, my symphony, played the song that carried you out.

  7. #7

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    I started Arnie off with a rope halter and long rope over some very small xc fences. It gave him a chance to learn what to do with himself without my added weight and once it came time for me to start actually doing it, it gave me more confidence as I knew he was fine about it. He is now happy and confident over virtually every type of xc fence (although I might as well admit we dont jump anything big - ever!)
    Horses are for life not just for riding

  8. #8
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    With ditches and steps down (steps up don't seem to ever cause so much of a problem as steps down!) I work on the principle that they can do it from a standstill regardless. With Wibs he could dither on the edge for ages, but as long as he was *thinking* about the ditch or step, I kept the pressure off - leg/voice only applied if he tried to move away or look at something else - he soon learnt that he could do those fences without a problem, and so barely even hesitates now

    With everything else, I'd introduce it like Char says And if they're struggling to grasp the concept of XC fences, put a few poles out, either to the sides or even on top/behind a fence, so that the XC fence becomes like a filler. I had to do that for Wib's first logs - special pony!

  9. #9
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    I get Alfie to walk through big puddles when it rains-that being his early water training

    (not joking )
    If I had nothing but I still had my horse and my Teddy, I'd still have everything I ever needed.

    Indy.

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