Try using different types of gymnastic jump sets. That way it’s always something new and different so that he’s having to pay attention to what he’s doing. Also change the heights of the jumps in the set so that way he has to pick up his feet. You could make the jumps progressively larger so with each new jump he has to pick up his feet even more. Hope this helps!
Start with a vet check
Make it easier for him to jump cleanly rather than blow through the jumps. If he blows through them, smack him for it. Make him understand that that is unacceptable.
There is always a reason. It is usually veterinary. If not if is rider-based. Are you burying him or going long? If not, then vet. Horses don’t change their spots just because.
I agree to start with the vet. If he has a bilateral injury he won’t necessarily appear lame. I don’t think I would jump without a vet exam first. Most horses, even if they are bored, aren’t going to just plow through a jump.
Another vote for the vet and a break from jumping. Horses don’t go from careful to careless for no reason. After the vet, consider a chiro or massage.
Is is possible that you’ve been overschooling him/drilling him so much he’s bored and frustrated? How many times a week does he jump? And if he’s jumping carefully in lessons but not when you school on your own, figure out what’s different when you’re on your own.
BTW, if cracking his shins on a solid wood jump pole isn’t a disincentive, nothing you’ll be able to do with a stick will convince him it’s “unacceptable.”
Somebody posted a question very similar to this just the other day. Funny to get two so close together.
Anyway, “plowing through” a jump is not a particularly pleasant experience for a horse. Horses do not do this because they are bored or because they are being “naughty.” Punishing them won’t fix it. Gymnastic jump sets won’t fix it.
If a horse starts “plowing through” jumps then it means something isn’t right. There is likely a soundness problem or a vision problem or a problem with the rider. Step one is to get a thorough exam from a good vet. Step two is to work with a good trainer to make sure it isn’t anything you are doing.
In my opinion, this is really bad advice! Without having more information from the OP (age of horse, number of years competing, vet history, etc.), no one can be sure what the underlying problem is without investigating it further. It could be anything from being pain related (sore hocks, ill-fitting saddle, etc.) to being on the forehand and in need of some training rides to help balance the horse up again. Punishing the horse isn’t going to fix the underlying problem.
Glad I’m not your horse!
Agree with everyone here that said 'start with vet". He’s telling you something and you need to listen.
Good advice to start with a vet. Are you jumping 1.20 all the time?? That’s a lot of wear and tear on your horse. How often are you schooling over jumps? If he’s a seasoned 1.20 horse, I’m guessing he’s older. Overuse, age related lameness is my first guess.
Is he at the age where his hocks are fusing or he could be getting arthritic? Vision would be my next guess. Saddle fit that is causing back soreness could do it. So could poor shoeing so his angles are bad, especially in back, stressing his SI.
The only non physical reason would be jumping pvc poles all of the time, that don’t sting when they hit it, or rider error that has him coming in with no impulsion, jumping off one leg to a long weak spot, or behind the bit to the jump.
It’s possible the vet won’t be able to find anything specific, but there could still be an issue. They can’t always get a good read on vision problems, as far as I can tell, and some kinds of soreness can be very very difficult to diagnose.
If the vet finds nothing, I probably would try this horse cautiously through simple gymnastics, because that takes the rider largely out of the equation, to see if he can jump safely and correctly. I’d also have a professional ride and school him and get an opinion as to whether it is a rider problem that can be corrected. Does the height of the jumps matter?
If the horse is truly “plowing through jumps,” (not just tapping rails) you should stop jumping him. I don’t say that lightly. Big regular misses are the warning signal that you may have a serious accident in your future. It doesn’t matter why he cannot jump through cleanly - if he cannot, then neither of you is safe.
I had a horse who scrambled in the float, which he had never done before, and he pulled rails and one that was just a 3 foot pole he ploughed through and didn’t jump. He started pulling rails at each competition.
I have a chiropractor I have seen do miracles and trust completely. He came out and adjusted him and that horse never scrambled or knocked a jump in competition again.
Sudden change in horse behavior, when nothing else has changed always is a huge flashing light that the vet needs to be called.
Holy mother of god. Do people really do this?
If you are riding him in such a way to give him every chance to jump well and he’s not just ticking the occasional rail but wearing the fences (amazed that he’s still jumping. Would an honest dude), the he’s screaming to be seen by a vet. I’ll pull out my standard lecture- just because a horse does not limp does not mean it isn’t in pain somewhere.
I agree with above posters. A good citizen with a change in behaviour needs Vet care now! I will relate our daughter’s story.
Aged jumper, saint-like girl, hated to take rails, would try to jump anything you pointed her at. She demonstrated no lameness, and was always eager to work. She started to take occasional rails over the space of about 10 days. Then plowed through a jump. Vet inspection done immediately (called to show grounds) x-rays revealed worsening bilateral hock arthritis. Hocks were injected with HA, and she was turned out for two weeks. What a difference.
We have worked with our Vet to plan an activity schedule that will allow her to continue in work. Reduced frequency and height of jumps outside of shows. Not to jump higher than .9
Listen to your horse. He is literally shouting to you that something is wrong. Stop jumping him until your Vet has visited.
I know a nations cup horse who started having rails with a top rider. Who started beating the crap out of him. Then the horse started stopping, then he’d beat the crap out of him. Then he started rearing and throwing himself on the ground. He’s now been passed on to another rider who is trying to reschool and undo the psychological damage. I don’t recommend the start smacking him method. Not a lot of horses are going to improve or even tolerate that.
Glad other posters have disagreed with smacking a horse that has rails! That is NOT how horses learn and will only cause problems.
I agree with the others that suggest that it is time to call vet. It could be any number of things. Even if your horse gets a clean bill of health, that is an answer that will help you narrow your focus and address the issue.
If your horse is jumping larger fences consistently and well at home but is only pulling rails at shows, I would analyze your warm-up routine and if anything has changed in your tack, ride, prep, etc.
OP hasn’t been back to discuss…