My Horse Drags Me To Jumps

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  • WorthTheWait Original Poster WorthTheWait
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 7

    When I go to canter jumps my horse likes to drag me into them, meaning he gets his head up high and pulls while trying to go as fast as he can. No matter what I do I can’t seem to break him of this habit. Its almost like he’s trying to rush it? Sitting back and holding him just makes it worse, he tries to pull more and take bad distances.

    He doesn’t seem to do it when trotting jumps, but it gets really bad when we canter them. Even trotting in and cantering out.

    I have him in a Kimberwick and a Figure 8 bridle at the moment, but for flat work he easily goes into a eggbutt snaffle and doesn’t get out of control so I’d prefer not to put him in a stronger bit.

    My friend mentioned a standing martingale but I’ve heard/read that you shouldn’t use those for jumping. Would a running martingale be better to try first?

    I’ve also tried putting poles in front of and after to make him think and slow him down but it doesn’t seem to be helping.

    Any suggestions would be helpful!
    Thank you!

    Here is a picture of what he does. Note: I am not pulling on his face, I’m just sitting back and holding him.

    wyoenglishrider wyoenglishrider
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 101

    Perhaps try some grid work? Did he race? How old is he? How long have you been jumping him? Are you hoping to do Hunters or Jumpers with him-this may determine if you could legally use a martingale…sorry for all the questions, just trying to get a better feel for his background & your goals.

    WorthTheWait Original Poster WorthTheWait
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 7

    As far as I know he has never raced. The previous owner got him from a rescue so there isn’t much background on him. He is 14-16 years old. I’ve only had him since December 2013 but the eventing barn he was at had him for almost 2 years and he was used in lessons. I’d like to do hunters with him, if I can get him under control enough and possibly eventually Jumpers . There are a few schooling shows around me that allow running and standing martingales for jumping which I might look into going too.

    I really don’t want to strip him down to the basics and start all over but I will if thats the last resort!

    I did try the running martingale on him last time I rode and that seemed to help to a certain extent.

    wyoenglishrider wyoenglishrider
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 101

    I wonder if he wasn’t jumped much as a lesson horse—so perhaps this is a whole new game for him. Even being at an eventing barn, he could have just been used for early riders doing flatwork. IF he was jumped in lessons by different people every week, who knows what kind of consistency & correction he got…perhaps he got hit in the mouth a lot, or was allowed to run like you are describing….using the martingale seems ok to me if it seemed to help. Are you working with a trainer? Again-maybe some grid work (it’s fun!)–it can help to slow & focus a horse. He sounds pretty cool, but remember, too, that you haven’t had him that long & you might need to just slow down the whole training process & wait until later in the summer to jump…I know this is hard because it is spring & show season & you want to jump! But maybe he just needs some time…..not necessarily going back to baby basics, but just taking it a little slower. Since he was a rescue, who knows what kind of jumping training, if any, he had prior to being a school horse or you getting him. You don’t want to get frustrated or get him or you hurt…look at it as a long term relationship—if you don’t make it to any shows this summer, it’s ok! (I know, it’s hard…) but you can have him for many years to come. Hope this helps. I know it is exciting to have a new horse that you have high hopes for—but sometimes it just takes a little longer & lots of flatwork. 🙂 Hang in there! I am sure others will be adding advice as well… 🙂

    peggy_figlar
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    Definitely go with a standing martingale. I have ridden with some of the best people in the horse world, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with using one. Don’t put it on too tight, loose enough to go loosely into throatlatch for length (hard to explain). Use it all the time. This will relax the “pulling” muscle in the neck and build up the dorsal muscle on his neck. That’s step one. Now always trot and even walk low fences and practice coming to a halt between and after jumping the fences. Do this ALL the time. After a few weeks see if it helps at all. It’s hard to help you without being there, but try to locate a good common sense trainer who can assist you with this. Most of the time it can be fixed with perseverance.

    WorthTheWait Original Poster WorthTheWait
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 7

    I’ve read a lot of things about standing martingales and I’m kinda hesitant to use one on my horse since if the horse trips or jumps weird he can’t throw his head up to catch his balance. I’ve seen and know a lot of people that do use them but I’m just not comfortable in them and at the moment he’s in a figure 8 because he also used to lock his jaw

    WorthTheWait Original Poster WorthTheWait
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 7

    He was used for almost 3 lessons sometimes 4 a day and I know most people were jumping him 2-3 feet.

    I’m not working with a trainer at the moment (can’t find one that will come out to my barn) but I have tried grid work. He’s fine with trotting in and cantering out of a line, its getting to the fence in a canter that I have the problem with, so he would most likely rush to the grid then have to quickly slow. But I will keep that in mind to try.

    The only reason I’m also hesitating with going back to basics is because every lesson barn I’ve been too in the past 9 years I’ve been put on the super green horses where all I’ve done is basics, theres only been 1 farm that I was tested on my ability. He’s perfectly fine on the flat work and trotting/cantering poles, its just when it comes to something higher than a raised pole.

    Thank you for your advice! I’ll keep it in mind!

    peggy_figlar
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    I’m sorry. I didn’t realize he was that old. The running AT fences sounds like a bad habit that he has probably had for a long time. That is a hard nut to crack. You need a good trainer. Standing martingales are a training aid. If the horse gets into a bad situation they are leather…they break, not the horse. I’ve been riding since I was 3 and I have never seen a horse get injured because he had on a martingale. Lots of horses simply go better with them, they just do. Every picture in the Chronicle Magazine of a hunter, shows it with a standing martingale on. Those riders are either professionals or taught by professionals and they do know what they’re doing. They don’t constrict anything if used properly.

    WorthTheWait Original Poster WorthTheWait
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 7

    They don’t always break easily, and they don’t give as easily. It doesn’t seem like there has been many accidents, but I have seen some.

    I know everyone in the hunter world uses them, but nowadays its just for the looks. I’ve seen horses in a warm up at a show without a standing martingale and they did perfectly fine, no head throwing or raising yet they had a martingale on for the show.

    The head is part of the balance and if they don’t have that it makes it harder since every time you get on a horse you already throw off their natural balance.

    This is just my opinion and why I’m hesitant on using a standing martingale

    I know this habit only started in the past 2-3 years. I used to ride him before his old owner moved and he never had a problem rushing fences at the canter

    WorthTheWait Original Poster WorthTheWait
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 7

    I’m sorry. I didn’t realize he was that old. The running AT fences sounds like a bad habit that he has probably had for a long time. That is a hard nut to crack. You need a good trainer. Standing martingales are a training aid. If the horse gets into a bad situation they are leather…they break, not the horse. I’ve been riding since I was 3 and I have never seen a horse get injured because he had on a martingale. Lots of horses simply go better with them, they just do. Every picture in the Chronicle Magazine of a hunter, shows it with a standing martingale on. Those riders are either professionals or taught by professionals and they do know what they’re doing. They don’t constrict anything if used properly.

    Also, he’s in a figure 8 so I can’t use a standing martingale. He only uses a regular noseband and snaffle for flat work atm

    wyoenglishrider wyoenglishrider
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 101

    If we was used for 3-4 lessons most days, & jumped in each lesson, (or even just 1x a day) perhaps he is over the whole jumping thing. That is A LOT of jumping in the past couple of years for 1 horse. Again-being used as a lesson horse with different people, he might not have much confidence going over anything bigger than a small raised pole. You won’t make it better by continuing to jump him over bigger jumps. You mention that this habit started in the past 2-3 years-during which time he was ridden-hard-as a school horse. Some re-training (I know that is not what you want to hear) is in order. It sounds like you want a horse that is show ready for this summer, with no bad habits, & won’t need any remedial training….I wish you luck & hope you can find a trainer to help!

    voigtkm voigtkm
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    Definitely do some grid work. He can’t rush fences when he’s required to set back and collect himself, otherwise he’ll unbalance himself. As for standing martingale, I’ve always used one under 3’6 but you must use it with a regular noseband. If you use it with a figure 8 the pressure from the martingale is in the wrong spot and can be dangerous. However, feel free to use a running martingale, as that sounds like it helped a little bit and you can use it with the figure 8 noseband. I would definitely work on the grids, though. Put a set of trot poles in front of the jump or even a set of canter poles so that if he tries to rush he is going to trip over the poles, so he will learn to balance back and figure out his striding (you’ll probably have a few ugly spots the first few times so grab some mane haha but then he should figure it out himself!). And work on Lots of transitions also, as all work on the flat will help over fences! Even pull him back to do transitions in-between lines and fences, this lets him know he can’t go galavanting around! Good luck and let us know how he goes!!

    An Equestrian should be two things: classy and fabulous

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    WorthTheWait Original Poster WorthTheWait
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 7

    Definitely do some grid work. He can’t rush fences when he’s required to set back and collect himself, otherwise he’ll unbalance himself. As for standing martingale, I’ve always used one under 3’6 but you must use it with a regular noseband. If you use it with a figure 8 the pressure from the martingale is in the wrong spot and can be dangerous. However, feel free to use a running martingale, as that sounds like it helped a little bit and you can use it with the figure 8 noseband. I would definitely work on the grids, though. Put a set of trot poles in front of the jump or even a set of canter poles so that if he tries to rush he is going to trip over the poles, so he will learn to balance back and figure out his striding (you’ll probably have a few ugly spots the first few times so grab some mane haha but then he should figure it out himself!). And work on Lots of transitions also, as all work on the flat will help over fences! Even pull him back to do transitions in-between lines and fences, this lets him know he can’t go galavanting around! Good luck and let us know how he goes!!

    Thank you! I’m going to try a lot of grid work and ground poles. Its hard because he’s perfectly fine on the flat, you can half-halt and he’ll come back from the canter, but just loses control when jumping, so I’ve been thinking of starting lost of grid work and all.

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    Mine did that also, so I stopped jumping at all (except for an occasional pop over a small fence). He had been raced, and apparently only taught to run for his life, so we have gone back to kindergarten and work mostly on collection, balance and flexibility. He loves to jump and would take any fence, but he wants to do it his way and I want to do it mine. He has to learn first to listen to me and allow me to rate him. Perhaps yours may need some retraining in that area as well.

    It is never the horse's fault

    WorthTheWait Original Poster WorthTheWait
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 7

    Update:

    I started throwing random jumps at him for the past 3 weeks, so I had a pole next to the jump that we would canter around in a circle and then I would randomly point him at the jump. I also did halting in between fences and lots of gait changes.

    So far in the past 2 weeks he hasn’t pulled me to a jump when cantering down then line and he’s been listening to me, meaning we got a lot more good distances.

    Last Saturday we canter a course calmly and he was no longer fighting the running martingale or putting his head up. So I’m hoping something clicked with him and he realizes he has to listen to me.

    Thank you everyone for your help!

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