Both Orla & I have run into problems jumping both Dante & Coco in the past. We’re definitely making progress but we never stop learning when it comes to these two horses. And we can definitely say without a doubt that our confidence has been tested on a number of occasions when it came to putting these horses over a jump!
When it comes to this type of behaviour, some horses can be just trying it on whereas other horses are doing it for valid reasons. In Coco’s case, she needed a new saddle so it’s always good to rule out anything like this before jumping straight to the ‘behaviour problem’ solutions.
Picking the Wrong Stride
When it came to Coco the first step was figuring out what was the best way to jump her. Was she a better jumper when she was left alone to figure herself out? Did she need to be pushed on and revved up? Or did she need to be held right up to the fence? If you’re struggling when it comes to jumping your horse, it’s definitely worth trying all methods and comparing how well they jumped each time. In Coco’s case, she needs to be held the whole way to the fence.
Once I figured that out then I had a better idea of what type of rhythm I needed to set before starting my approach. As I have mentioned in previous posts, the age old tactic of simply counting your strides, 1-2-3-4, is definitely the best way to set up your rhythm. And you can put it into practice with a simple canter pole exercise. Set out some canter poles 4 strides apart and count every stride before, during and after the poles.
Once you’ve nailed your four strides, try asking for 5 strides by shortening your horse up. Once you’ve done that successfully, try asking for 3 strides by stretching your horse out. By doing this you can really get a feel for the different paces and lengths of strides your horse has, making it much easier for you to feel your rhythm and adjust your stride as required when approaching a fence.
Hopefully you enjoyed reading our confidence post on jumping and even more importantly we hope you found it helpful! We all struggle with confidence issues every now and again so we hope it helps to know that you’re definitely not alone.
Please be sure to leave a comment! We’ve really enjoyed the feedback we’ve received on our last few posts and it’s always great hearing everyone else’s stories 🙂
Orla & Darielle