jumping with horses is a very exciting, and uplifting thing to do not just for the rider but I daresay for the horse as well I used to think that training horses to jump it’s something to be left to experts but if you approach it carefully and slowly you can train your horse to jump safely and confidently and for the minimum of a current.
the one important thing is that you need to be a confident rider who has learned to jump on an experienced horse.
don’t try to teach an inexperienced horse to jump if you’re learning yourself, this is not fair to the horse and unsafe for you
this article is not about how to learn to jump as a rider, but how to teach your horse to jump my way of training a horse to jump turn my horse flora into a confident and happy jumping horse as a result I found the best way to start is from the ground in a fenced in area.
if you’re familiar with join up work and have done the basics of it with your horse already that means your house accepts you as the leader and follows you without lead rope you can start like I did just let your horse follow you a walking over pole this way she is not forced and has the choice to stop or walk around it if she is unsure if she trusts you she will follow you with a bit of encouragement this exercise introduces the concept of going over an obstacle rather than around it also try this at a trot.
I find at this stage it makes sense to switch to lunging the horse that is driving her around you in a wide circle with a long line will enjoy attached to her head, this way I’m in control of how fast she goes over the pole the aim of this exercise is to get the horse to have to think about where her legs are in relation to the pole and how to lift them so that she doesn’t trip she might be surprised but there are plenty of horses out there who have very little of their own legs especially when they are young as jumping is all about body coordination and rhythm it is essential that the horse first learns to move just their body consciously and precisely over an obstacle before having to do this with the rider practice and walk trot and canter.
when the horse is happy to go over the pole raise one side so that she has to make a bigger step to get over it or might even do a small jump always let her do this exercise approaching from both sides.
it seems that horses find it difficult to transfer their learning and apply what they’ve learned on one side of their body to the other without actually physically doing it when you’re both happy with this you try and raise the poor on the other side as well obviously it is important that a pole can fall off the stand easily so the horse doesn’t get hurt.
then a bit higher again but only a little bit just enough, so that she can easily step over the pole but actually has to jump now the main thing is to build confidence in the horse.
so it is important not to be tempted to try to get her to jump higher and higher straight away, if she experiences jumping over low things is something fun and playful and feels well able for it she will most likely happily jump over higher things before too long.
so you should be confident that the horse will be able to jump them as knocking them with her legs might hurt or frighten her
if there are jumps that your horse hasn’t seen before give the horse a chance to look at the jumps first this way she won’t be startled and will approach the jumps more confidently and then go and have some fun