Advice for a hunter switching to jumpers

Hi guys, this is my first post so go easy on me :slight_smile:

Anyways, I was wondering if anyone has an advice for a hunter switching to jumpers? Any comments would be appreciated! Thanks!

Horse and/or rider switch? I think either way, the important thing to remember is that just because it’s jumpers, does not mean you need to run like a bat out of hell. At the lower levels, unfortunately the scary ones that run their horses off of their feet tend to be the ones that get ribbons, but they are the ones that crash and burn when they try to move up. Start by being neat and efficient first, worry about fast later. Think of it like riding a medal course while you are getting your feet wet.

And above all, if you want to make the switch successfully, work with a qualified professional that can help you reach your goals.

[QUOTE=Denzel;8175383]
At the lower levels, unfortunately the scary ones that run their horses off of their feet tend to be the ones that get ribbons, but they are the ones that crash and burn when they try to move up. Start by being neat and efficient first, worry about fast later.[/QUOTE]

Couldn’t have said this better! Don’t be discouraged if it takes a while to click but once it does you’ll have a blast.

Take your time learning about the tables and appreciating why the course is designed the way it is - you’ll learn to recognize areas where you can shave precious time off the clock and play up your horse’s strengths. Jumpers let you figure out the best plan of action for you and your horse. Maybe you’re not as fast flat out as others, so learn to beat them in the turns. Turns and straightness win classes more often than just plain speed.

Most importantly, have fun!

Make up time in the turns! I like to ride my round like a slightly compact eq course to feel out turns conservatively, then compress my turns where I can in the jump off. Make sure you can lengthen and shorten strides quickly; it’s nice to have a horse who quickly responds from a gallop on the straight-away to get collected for a turn to a fence. It is similar to collection for a tight line, but more extreme IMO.

I would work on getting your horse (and you) comfortable with seeing distances and hitting fences at angles, which can come in handy in the jump-offs to shave off seconds and set you up for a tighter, smoother approach to the next fence.

I am immediately thinking about the next fence the second my horse has locked onto the jump so I can estimate how I need to ride on the backside of the first fence; while this is true in the hunter ring as well, that next fence can come up a little faster in the jumper ring.

Careful, precise, and thinking one step ahead will get you a long way in the jumper ring. You’ll have a blast!

Thanks guys! All this is great stuff :slight_smile: I’m in the process of switching mounts to a jumper. I’m super excited!

If you want to move up the jumper levels, be prepared to ‘ride to lose’ in the lower levels. Ride clean and smooth with efficient but safe turns.

To quote a great jumper coach I knew “Fast isn’t fast, smooth is fast” He had ridden successfully all the way to open jumper and knew his stuff.

I made the switch a couple of years ago. Jumpers are very different from hunters - I bet you will find them quite liberating, actually!

I am not a fan of the turn and burn strategy, so you can obviously completely dismiss this if you want, but it worked for me…

Don’t be discouraged if you have time faults the first several times that you show. Don’t be focused on the time. Be focused on building your confidence, your horse’s confidence in your skills as navigator, and having smooth rounds that follow the strategy that you’ve laid out for yourself during the walk. That said, give yourself options - and you may not be used to that since you only have hunter experience. If X happens, I will do Y. If Y happens, I will do Z. Once you have consistently smooth rounds that resemble your original plan, you can focus on shaving off time based on your horse’s strengths (i.e. turning quickly, collecting quickly, etc.).

One more suggestion - if you’re doing the lower levels, realistically it doesn’t do you that much good to sit and watch a bunch of grand prix classes. Go spend a day watching the low adults - you will learn A LOT about what kind of rider you want to be, what to do, and what not to do.

[QUOTE=KandC;8176056]
… Make sure you can lengthen and shorten strides quickly; it’s nice to have a horse who quickly responds from a gallop on the straight-away to get collected for a turn to a fence. …

…I am immediately thinking about the next fence the second my horse has locked onto the jump so I can estimate how I need to ride on the backside of the first fence; while this is true in the hunter ring as well, that next fence can come up a little faster in the jumper ring…[/QUOTE]

The horse I have now is the first horse I’ve ever shown in jumpers. These two things mentioned by KandC are the things I have struggled with the most.

The local schooling show series uses “optimal time” for its lower level jumping classes rather than fastest time. You still have to keep up a good pace, but it’s not a speed race.

It’ll be great going from hunters first, I feel like that’s what should always happen. This way you know how to ask your horse to lengthen and shorten as opposed to just rushing around everything.

Now personally, I went from Hunters/EQ to jumpers and am now back to hunters. let me tell you… its much harder to go from jumpers to hunters, I forget that it needs to be slow and pretty. It’s been hard training myself to not “ride up to the jumps” but to stay in my half seat and make the cues invisible. Good luck!

I made the switch last summer and do find it liberating (for me). Learning the course and riding to “plan” are very important, I still have a hard time with this bc it feels like there is so much to remember. Give yourself time to get used to it too. I agree with the above poster that fast isn’t about galloping like a loon, its about a consistent ride with good angles (be straight to the fence) and time made up in smart turns. You might need to experiment with body angles as you don’t want to be on your horses neck at all; maybe more contact than you’re used to. Just my experience. I hope you love it!

I started as a hunter rider as a kid then did hunters and jumpers then exclusively jumpers and now I’m back to exclusively hunters. My first love!!

The thing I wish I would have done when I had my last jumper was chill about all the perfect smoothness things of the hunters. So he cross-cantered sometimes… so we chipped sometimes… and got crooked… and he was a spook… I should have worried about all that less and just focused on jumping the jumps clean on an efficient track. Over time we did get it smooth but I could have enjoyed it more earlier with him if I’d focused on how you really win which is leave the jumps up and do less steps with a more efficient track than anyone else.

I agree with all those that say don’t run at the low levels but really good course designers should be creating courses where efficiency is the winner. If they don’t then choose not to do the flat out gallop in hopes of moving up to a higher level. Nothing wrong with leaving out a step but the flat out flailing is a little much at 3’ or 3’6" even.

The above advice is good- accuracy, line over speed, efficient over pretty.

Then you can enjoy knowing that success is up to you and your horse. It doesn’t matter who your trainer is. Doesn’t matter how much your horse cost,or who you bought it from. You’re wearing last year’s trendy stuff? No problem. The rails fall or they stay in the cups. The clock stops when it stops. You know where you stand when you leave the ring.

What could be more fun?