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timid horse over fences

Hi, I recently bought a pony who is really standoffish towards the jumps. She is 7 years old and she has a good head, I just think her previous training was incorrect. The jumps we are jumping are not scary, just a wooden pole most of the times. Do you have any tips to make her more confident over the fences and to not refuse? Thanks

Try lunging her over ground poles and then low cross rails so she can get used to jumping with no rider on her, she can be free to make mistakes, figure it out, get used to it etc. Walk and trot her over poles on ground under saddle till she is bored and ready for more. Am sure others on board will have many good suggestions to offer!

Okay! My trainer has actually recently began lunging her over a cavaletti combo and I think it is beginning to help her. Thank you a lot :slight_smile:

I would go back to the basics until she regains some of her confidence. You need to set her up for success so start with poles on the ground, then move to small x’s. Don’t give her the opportunity to refuse, make the jumps tiny enough she can step over them then praise the heck out of her when she goes over them. Good luck!!

You may also want to make are she can see alright.

I had a horse that never got quite comfortable with jumping. I attributed it to an on-going soundness issue he had. Turns out he had cysts on his irises and had 40-50% vision loss, no wonder he was always looking sideways at the jumps!

she can be free to make mistakes,QUOTE]

good thinking!

Can your trainer ride her or is your pony too small? My horse was pretty timid when I first bought him, and would run out, especially at the first warm-up fence. This caused me to lose confidence, causing him to lose more confidence, etc. I started doing a slow, sitting trot to the first small warm-up fence and that gave me more control. Other than that, just good lessons and miles. He’s much braver now, as am I!

A lot of good suggestions so far. Make sure they are sound obviously. Something I learned at a clinic with Andrea and is working pretty good with Cheyenne is going back to the basics yes, but when they refuse make them go over it anyway. I had to do that with her and now her refusals are way down. I went back to lower jumps and made her go over them (or as is the case with an old habit of hers - she’ll go through them) when she refused. The last time she refused was all my fault so I’m not mad at her :slight_smile:

Another thought too, look at the angle of her feet and at the tip over point of her hooves. That was part of Chey’s problem. Have your vet or your ferrier look at her as you lunge her in the grass to see if she’s catching anywhere. My vet caught that with Chey when I had her looked at for her stopping issues

I have a horse who needs to get his courage from the rider, since he lacks his own.

He has never stopped with a professional, but he will still stop with an ammy who closes her eyes, puts her hands on his neck and says “save me!” If the horse doesn’t jump when it is asked to take over and go no matter what, then the rider gets defensive, waits for the stop and it all goes to hell in a handbasket.

IMO, with a pony that stops the first thing to do is to make sure it has a 100% accurate ride to learn confidence. All the lunging in the world will not help when put to a bad spot by a kid.

After the pony will go with a perfect ride, then the good rider needs to deliberately put the pony to bad spots and throw its head away. If the pony can deal with that, then the kid can get on and jump tiny fences, moving up only when both feel comfortable.

There is no way to rush this confidence building process. The pony is the only one who can determine when it is ready for the next step.

How do I know all this? I broke my neck on a bad stopper. I will never ride one again, which is why I no longer jump my big horse. He is a professional ride and is fantastic with my trainer. But with me? Nope.

I feel I can never sell him. First because I bought him as a weanling and I love him (and he had impeccable early training – his lack of confidence is part of his DNA, not part of his history) and second because now that I know him, I could not recommend him as a junior/ammie ride.