Point of view: jumping a horse with Clinton Anderson
Using this exercise, you will teach your horse to confidently overcome obstacles, both natural and man-made. Give your horse a goal – it will make training more exciting and interesting for both of you and increase the horse’s trust and respect for you. Repeated daily work on the same thing leads to the fact that many horses become lazy and boring. When you enter overcoming obstacles into training, the horse’s interest and involvement will increase significantly.
A great way to familiarize your horse with an obstacle is to use plastic barrels. Put two barrels on the ground end to end. The distance between them should be about 1.80 m. One barrel should be located near the wall of the arena or the fence of the parade so that the horse could not run around the obstacle on the corresponding side.
1. Before stepping a horse through an obstacle, always ask it to walk between it and you from those sides where it is possible to do so. This is a small test: if you cannot make your horse pass between you and the object, you can never force it to pass through it or jump over it. Stand about three meters from the barrels and guide the horse between you and the obstacle, remaining in one place. Ask her to remove her butt and turn to you. Then send it between you and the barrels again. Practice this until the horse treads calmly or trots between you and the barrels. Do this on all three sides of the barrels.
2. Stand close to the barrel to block the horse if it tries to go around the barrel. Then, using the approach and retreat, send the horse between the barrels. First, when you send the horse between the barrels, it will probably stop and try to siege them back, because in this situation, it may be unsure. The trick is to stop her before she wants to stop. A stop should always be your idea. So, if you assume that the horse stops eight steps from an obstacle, stop it at nine. Then take the horse from the barrels. Then ask her to go to them again, and before she stops, take her away. Every time you send a horse forward to the barrels, try to get it closer to them.
Advice: if your horse wants to sniff or explore an obstacle, allow it to do so. Horses sometimes need to conduct their own security checks on the object before they can safely fulfill your request.
3. As the horse passes calmly and confidently in the corridor between the barrels, gradually bring them closer to each other, making the gap smaller. In the end, the horse will have no choice but to jump over the barrels. You will understand that the horse confidently passes through the corridor when you can indicate with your hand in which you hold the tombour in the right direction, and the horse will go forward without hesitation, with a calm trot or step.
4. Do not behave like a predator. If a horse comes to the barrels, hesitates and leans forward right on the verge of a transition, do the opposite of what you would like to do (would put more pressure on it) – move the horse away from the barrels. Do not try to force her to jump or into the corridor – just wait until the horse finds the right answer. Applying pressure is critical. Never push a horse when it examines an obstacle or intends to do so! Instead, if your horse reluctantly goes to the barrels, push it with a whip when it has passed them, so you will create energy from your backside.
5. Once the horse jumps over the barrels, hold it on the circle in the same direction. Let her get used to jumping in one direction, first ask her to do it on the other side.
If your horse has not jumped before, do not be surprised that its jump will be with a large margin. As soon as she gets used to it and gets used to it, she will understand that she does not need to jump 1.20 high to jump over such low obstacles.
Usually, horses worry when you ask them to do something new. Your horse can lie down in the cage and start to run around in a circle – just let it relax and calm down.
6. When your horse will surely jump barrels from any direction, try jumping back and forth. You can make the barrels more “serious” test, covering them with a tarpaulin, brightly colored, etc. Your greatest training advantage is your imagination. The more creative you can be in training a horse, the better it will fulfill your requests, and the more it will enjoy its work.