How do I keep my horse from dragging me toward jumps?

This topic contains 10 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  mkd1005 4 years, 8 months ago.

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  • equusparvus Original Poster equusparvus
    Topics Started: 14Replies Posted: 12

    The horse I lease sometimes has a tendency to drag me towards jumps. He doesn’t do this every ride, just once in a while, but it is a big problem when he does. He doesn’t really “take off”, he just lengthens his stride every stride and lowers his head each stride and speeds up a bit each stride and by the time we are at the jump he is dragging me around on the forehand at a terrible pace, and then gets a really deep distance. I’ve tried sitting back all the way up to the jump, popping him up with my outside rein, half halts, and a pulley rein and he just ignored me. He is currently in a loose ring french link snaffle. Also sometimes he just picks one jump to drag me towards, and sometimes the whole course. He used to occasionally do it non the flat too. Any advice on how to get him back on my aids and listening?

    pheets pheets
    Topics Started: 5Replies Posted: 477

    Go back to flat work only, lots of rapid transitions, walk to trot to walk to canter to walk to trot, etc. When quiet and agreeable, incorporate ground rails and work over them until he trots thru ON THE BUCKLE. Once again, when quiet and agreeable, up the ground rails to cavaletti, same approach with same goals, then up to a full grid or as desired with same approach and goals. Reteach the jumping process. Expect the horse to not take you seriously at first, too, as this is not your usual ride method. Be relentlessly patient as well as consistent : )

    I MIGHT consider a minour bit change for reconnecting on the flat (not usually my first choice of corrections and I would definitely stay within the snaffle family) but where the horse is a lease, you would have to pose that to his owner/agent and they might not agree.

    Sure there's right and wrong but mostly there's just a whole lotta different.

    Leslie Leslie
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 44

    It sounds like you can tell when he is going to do this well before the jump, right? Not just the last stride or two?

    If you can tell he is going to, don’t go to the jump. Circle and get him back to you and listening, then approach the jump. Maybe do some changes of direction or transitions, whatever it takes to get him relaxed. Don’t fight with him. You might even want to trot the jump instead. But don’t go to it until he is totally relaxed and listening. Then make a big fuss over him when he does it right.

    It is important to do this before you get to the jump — don’t turn away from it at the last second or you’ll be training him to run out.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 9 months ago by Leslie Leslie. - handmade custom wood-burned brushes, stall signs, & portraits, etched glasses, and custom stuffed ponies

    Topics Started: 6Replies Posted: 29

    My horse is developing a habit of reaching his head to the ground when we’re working on the flat– he’s looking for his weeds that he’s obsessed with… It’s incredibly annoying. What I’ve been doing with him the past couple of rides, and it seems to be working well, is when he puts his head down, I apply a firm, not harsh, but firm pressure on both reins, and when he brings his head up, even just a little, I release him immediately. It teaches him that hey, if you put your head down there, it’s not going to be comfortable, but if you bring it up, you’re going to get a nice big release that will make you feel good, and it will be a lot more comfortable. If he’s only doing it while jumping, then try approaching the jumps at a trot and doing this.

    Also, is all his tack fitting okay? Make sure to check that. He might be dropping his head and speeding up in an attempt to alleviate the pressure and pain, and only does it when jumping because that’s when it hurts the worst? Something to consider.

    Dragon Tea Dragon Tea
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 18

    Try placing a grand rail out in front and a ground pole out after the fence, nine feet. Work with your trainer for appropriate distance. I can’t remember, I think it’s called the nine exercise for placing the pole nine feet out from the fence.

    My horse used to barrel around with me in the jump ring like… well like I was being dragged around. So placing ground poles before and after fences around the course put him back on his feet and enabled a ‘check’ in the riding so he couldn’t just jump and drag my butt around town and helped him to round over the fences. We even at times had this through the gymnastics to help not let him run right through the line.

    Check your bit too. He could be trying to pull his head and reins out of your grasp. By lengthening and catching you off guard he may be trying to sneakily take control.

    GHFrider GHFrider
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 32

    Equine Melody, just a thought, but are you sure your horse isn’t stretching his back? That reaching for the ground thing is a goal for most of us, and it could be that you’re fighting a good thing. Of course, if there are weeds involved and you’re sure he’s just rooting, that’s different. My oldest mount went through a period of excessive stretching (mine’s a sand arena, so no weeds to root for), and I finally figured out that he’d put on enough weight to make his saddle a little pinchy. I changed saddles for one with a wider gullet, and he only stretches now when we’re warming up.
    Horses In the Yard

    Dragon Tea Dragon Tea
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 18

    Ground rail sorry not grand rail.

    Topics Started: 6Replies Posted: 29

    GHFrider- Nope, not just stretching. I DO reward him when he puts his head down, as that’s ultimately what I want, just not this extreme. But no, we’ve had my saddle fitted to him and it fits just fine, he just has an obsession with weeds, seriously– It’s insane. I can tell that’s all he’s doing because his nose is flat on the ground, I can hear him sniffing around, and when he finds a weed, he stops to try and eat it. I just make him pull his head up enough so that it’s at least level with the rest of his back, so he doesn’t get in the habit of putting his head up too high.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    A horse that has energy and drive towards a jump is a GOOD THING! Unless you are doing hunters it’s ok for him to get forward to a jump…you just need to be able to control it.

    Put your heels down and get your legs under you, and going into the jump SIT DOWN IN YOUR TACK. This will make it so he cannot pull you forward out of your seat, take his head and run. He needs to keep the energy, but sit up, lift his head and tuck his hind end under himself to get an uphill, light canter.

    Also, despite what many people will try to tell you, not every horse is going to be a good, controlled jumper in a gentle snaffle. In fact, most will not be. Try something like an elevator or gag that you can ride with double reins to have a snaffle rein and a rein with more power. Elevators are great for horses that want to lean on you because they naturally encourage horses to lift their forhand and stop pulling downward.

    GHFrider GHFrider
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 32

    I’m curious…are you the only one riding this horse? You mention that he’s leased. Is there a trainer or someone else who gets on him now and then?
    Horses In the Yard

    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 1

    I had a TB with a terrible rushing problem. My first trainer wouldn’t even work with him, but with a new trainer and some time, he ended up eventing successfully through preliminary.

    Although he had been jumping for a few months before I got him, I took him back to ground poles and cavaletti work. First at the trot, then at the canter. Do them a bazillion times if it takes that long until its no big deal and there’s no rushing.

    Once we had the ground poles down, we started doing a lot of gymnastic work. Bounce-1 stride-bounce. That type of thing. It helps the horse learn how to balance himself. The trick is to just stay put once you’re in the gymnastic. No helping the horse find distances, place his feet, etc. Gymnastics should help a horse find his feet and balance all on his own.

    Lastly, learn that circles are your friend. Once we were jumping in a controlled manner, there’d still be a bobble here and there. I would circle a few strides from the jump if I felt him start to think about rushing. Make sure you don’t leave the circle until you have a balanced canter. Winging around in a fast, crooked circle won’t help anything. Once you’re happy with the canter, start your approach again. If he rushes again, circle again, closer and closer to the jump if need be until he gives you a polite canter to the base.

    Rushing isn’t easy but can definitely be managed with enough patience. Good luck!

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