Tuesday, May 3, 2011

We can haz brainz! Pt II

Unfortunately I didn't get chance to work the TWH on Sat or Sun (ugh!) so I did it last night.  My only intention in working him was to get him over big jumps without a refusal.  I am still fairly irritated at his refusal when we were going cross country, I think if I can get him more comfortable going higher maybe I won't have such issues as he won't have an "Oh Crap that's big" moment.. Once he goes higher we can start doing more gymnastics and get him thinking, it will be a win-win.  However, despite my daredevil personality, I had absolutely no desire to strap myself to the white beast while he has to figure new things out.  Picture a toddler putting together a puzzle, it doesn't always go very well and there are lots of "ugh" moments.  As a result I put him on a lunge and set up a jump with "wings" on the inside to help the lunge line slide over.  Another useful benefit of the "wings" is the jump obtains a chute like appearance, it helps to keep horses from running out.

After a quick warm up we started over a small crossrail  and then bumped it up to a 2 foot vertical.  After he was okay with that I made it into an oxer and had him go over it 3x each direction.  He got it pretty easily so I bumped it up to 2'6".  He rapped the poles a couple of times but eventually I got him over it clean 3x each direction.  I stopped him and let him rest while I made adjustments to make it a 3' oxer.  I got his rhythm down on a smaller circle and sent him out into a canter towards his very first ever 3' jump.  He cantered casually on the circle until he saw the jump.  It was funny his eyes widened, he stopped/refused and you could see him go "WTH!?!?! I can't go over that!".  I was right there, however, with a loud kiss and a good spank with the lunge whip to make him find that courage he was lacking.  He jumped into it and brought the entire jump down but the fact he tried and that he decided that refusing wasn't the best option made me quite happy.

I put the jump back up and tried again and he soared over it like it was 4 feet high.  Note to self, he can jump when he wants to!  I put him over the 3' oxer until he was clear and comfortable 3x each direction and then put it up to 3'3".  He looked at the jump pretty hard and almost stopped but he jumped it without a refusal or a stop.  He knocked down the jump a few times by hitting the back of the oxer with his front legs but eventually he got it figured out.  After 3x each directions we cooled out and I let him have some grass.  I will do this exercise a couple more times before I ride him at that height, I want him confident and forward and I think repetition with the freedom to figure it out will help.  He is currently jumping anything  2'3" and higher quite vertically and deer like, I would like him more forward and round.

I am very very happy that he used his head and was able to figure out how to go over bigger jumps.  I am also very very happy that he only refused once and tried to jump even though he brought the jumps down a few times.  I would much rather have a horse bring rails down than one that refuses.  I am very proud of my boys.


  1. Aww poor guy. Does hitting the jump scare him or make him realize it doesn't hurt? I don't know anything about jumping. I've free jumped horses, but we always moved it up one hole at a time and only verticals. :)

  2. Hitting the jump is a self-reminder that he didn't try hard enough. It does tend to "hurt" when hitting the poles, though I have light plastic ones so it doesn't hurt much at all. Think of walking into something that can move, it kinda stings but not much. It is good for him to learn how to jump over things that don't hurt before going over something that would really hurt (ie solid jump, wood poles)

    The moving up fast is a deliberate attempt to push him as far as he can and see where he will break. This entire time we've gone super slow and unfortunately found he still refused when presented with a question he wasn't comfortable with. Thus I am presenting all sorts of uncomfortable questions so he can get comfortable with them :)