Teaching A Horse How To Jump

If you’ve ever worked with horses, then you know how stubborn they can be. Teaching a horse to jump, especially when it comes time to jumping over fences, is simply not easy. You must have patience, and the right pair of boots to get the job done. Our story today is not about teaching a horse how to jump — it’s about how I learned the importance of wearing the right pair of boots when doing so.

You want the best for your horse and the safety and security of both you, and your mount are top priorities. People spend years teaching their horses how to jump; how to jump safely, how to jump well. What can you do to help, even if you don’t know a lot about jumping (or horses)?

Teaching a horse how to jump is a task that requires time and patience. It is not something that can be rushed by the owner, but rather something that must be done in a slow and methodical way. The steps involved in teaching your horse how to jump are as follows:

  1. Start with a small jump. This will allow your horse to become familiar with the feeling of jumping over an object, and will also allow you to get comfortable with the idea of having your horse leap over an object.
  2. Once your horse has gotten used to jumping over a small object, it’s time to move on to something slightly larger! You want to make sure that the jump is still not too intimidating for them — if they start acting nervous or unsure about it, then back off until they feel more confident again before moving forward once more.
  3. Continue doing this until they are comfortable jumping over fences that are around three feet tall at minimum; this will give them enough room so that they don’t hit their heads on top while also helping them develop their technique without feeling too much pressure from either side (such as learning how not to run into things headfirst).
  4. Once you’ve reached this point

In order to teach a horse how to jump, you’ll need to start with some basic groundwork.

First, you’ll want to choose a safe and secure location for your training. This can be anywhere from a small paddock to an arena or other open space. Make sure there are no hazards that could lead to injury, and make sure the area is large enough for the horse to run freely and practice jumping without hitting anything or getting too close to the edge of the area.

Next, you’ll want to find yourself some wooden fence planks or posts that are around two feet high—these can be found at most home improvement stores and will be easy enough for even a beginner rider to handle. Set up three of these planks/posts in a triangle shape (or whatever shape you’d like) in front of your horse, so that they form an obstacle he’ll have to jump over in order to get through them.

Now get on your horse’s back and ride him over these obstacles while making sure he doesn’t hit any of them with his legs or hooves—this may take some time if he’s never done it before! Practice doing this every day until he learns how

Teaching A Horse How To Jump

I highly recommend working with a qualified instructor or, at the very least, having an experienced rider to help you get started teaching a horse to jump. You’ll need to have:

  • A safe, flat arena or field with good footing to work in
  • 12-foot wood or PVC poles
  • Safe jump standards or cavaletti blocks
  • A well-fitting English saddle

Your horse needs to be mentally and physically mature and fit before introducing jumping. He needs to be working off his hindquarters and able to collect and lengthen his stride in all three gaits.

Take your time, allowing your horse to go at a pace that’s comfortable for him. Avoid forcing him to go over any obstacles if he is anxious, as this will damage his confidence in the long run. Praise and positive reinforcement will build his confidence and enjoyment of jumping.

While he is learning, be prepared that he may take an overly large leap and leave you behind. Use the mildest bit you can (or go bitless) to avoid injuring his mouth if you get surprised and jerk on the reins. This kind of inadvertent punishment can make a horse avoid jumping in the future.

Follow these steps to introduce your horse to jumping. Each step may take several sessions. Only move to the next step when your horse is completely confident and competent with the previous one.

Step 1: Ground Poles

If your horse has never jumped, start with a single ground pole. Introduce him to it by leading him over it at the walk until he has no hesitation going over it from both directions.

Place single poles randomly around your riding area and ride over them at walk, trot and canter. Make sure your horse is comfortable at the lower gait before riding over the poles at the higher gait.

Step 2: Trotting Poles

Start with two or three poles. (See next page for correct spacing of ground poles). You may need to adjust the spacing depending on your horse’s stride.

This step requires the ability to ride your horse forward and steer from your leg aids at the rising trot. You also need to be able to perform quiet half halts to make slight adjustments to your horse’s length of stride and speed as you approach the poles.

Ride your horse on a straight line over the centre of each pole. Set the best rhythm and stride length so that he floats through the poles without hitting them with his feet.

When your horse is comfortably negotiating the trot poles while keeping a consistent rhythm and picking up his feet well, add more poles (four to six).

Step 3: Add a Jump

Set a small cross rail or cavaletti about six feet away from the last of three trot poles. It may help to walk your horse through the poles and over the cross rail the first time, allowing him to inspect it.

Ride this exercise the same as the trot poles. Go into your two-point jumping position and grab a handful of mane (or use a neck rope) at the cross rail. Some horses will take a big leap, over-jumping the first few times. Be prepared.

When your horse is comfortable trotting a single jump, encourage him to canter away by using more leg on the take-off of the jump. Setting your jump in the centre of your arena allows you to either go straight, turn left or right, or halt after the jump. This way, your horse won’t anticipate which direction he’s going after the jump.

Step 4: Add More Jumps

When your horse is comfortable riding the single jump, put one cross rail on one long side of the arena and a second one on the opposite long side. Trot around the arena from one cross rail to the next, focusing on your line of approach and rhythm. If your horse becomes unbalanced or rushes, bring him down to walk or ride a circle at trot until he settles.

Add a third cross rail in the centre of your riding area on a diagonal. So that you can ride a figure-eight pattern from a jump on one long side across the jump on the diagonal and finish over the other jump on the opposite long side.

Keep the jumps as 18” to 24” cross rails or verticals at this stage of training. When cantering to fences, green horses may rush and jump long and flat instead of in the desired round arc that is powered from the hindquarters. Only progress to cantering jumps when your horse is steady and consistent at the trot.

Take your time and work through these exercises slowly and carefully. Some horses can take up to a year to learn how to jump correctly. Rushing your horse’s education will damage his confidence and competence. It’s easier to train correctly the first time than it is to correct problems learned from poor training. It’s never wrong to go slowly and patiently for both your and your horse’s sakes.

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