I love jumping and I would love it if my horses did too, so I make sure to allow them as much fun with Free Jumping Your Horse as possible! If you missed my last horsey post – click here!
Trot Poles Are Not Scary!
Allow your horse to investigate and discover poles and jump wings in their own time. All horses are different – some do not care they exist while others think that they may indeed be the cause of their demise.
Lead them up to the poles, and walk over them yourself before asking the horse to follow. And remember for lots of scratches and treats to reward them!
Setting Ground Poles
Generally speaking, ground poles should be set to your horse’s stride so there is no exact science behind setting out poles for groundwork. It also depends on what work you are wanting to do with them, lengthening or shortening strides, or even seeing strides for jumps.
In the jumping context, it’s best to lay out ground poles under jumps as well as a loping stride (canter) before to help the horse with gauging distance and ultimately clearing the jump.
Here is the generalisation of distances for horse height that I have found works for trotting:
|Height of Horse||Distance of Poles|
|up to 13hh (125cm)||1m (3ft6)|
|up to 14.2hh (145cm)||1.20m (4ft)|
|up to 16.2hh (165cm)||1.35cm (4ft6)|
|16.2hh -18.2hh (165-185cm)||1.50cm (5ft)|
For cantering, anything between 2.75m – 3.35m (9ft-11ft) works well to help stop rushing.
Setting Free Jumps
Allow the horse to learn and respond to what you are asking from them!
Jump set out #1
Start with no raised poles to get the horse used to the area.
The first jump used should be a simple cross vertical.
Then ask for a straight vertical
Jump set out #2
The first ground pole may be raised to a small cross vertical.
The second is an oxer or spread to encourage the horse to stretch over the jump.
Personally, I don’t like to jump my young horses often – but I will have small jumps set out when working liberty as I know they enjoy it!
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