OPRC Lesson

I didn’t write about it, but last week’s lesson went well. Berry was a good girl, and we did lots of trot poles, and even some jumps, the highest being a solid green box, with a pole on top, about two feet. It was a really nice ride, and I basked in the bliss of it for the rest of the week. I felt so good, I was even tempted to sign up for a 2ft hunter derby in August! I didn’t even know that division could possibly exist, but I am sure we can jump around a 2ft course in two months. I would have done it, but I had trouble understanding hunter show speak (why are there so many divisions?!?) so instead I’m printing out the prize list and taking it to my instructor tomorrow, where she can mark the appropriate class and then I can sign up for it. A small speed bump in my impulsiveness.

On Sunday, I had another lesson, but this time through my riding club. Without telling this instructor at all, he basically had me doing the exact same exercises, and giving me near exact feedback that my usual instructor does. It’s good we are all on the same page.

Berry is now an expert at trot poles. She even lengthened with no fuss when he spaced them out more.
I get the feeling she thought she was supposed to trot these too, as they came right after the trot poles, and she was determined to trot them at all cost. I can understand her logic, they did just come after the poles she is intended to trot over, not jump!
I was instructed to encourage her to jump. She made this tiny effort to jump, and then knocked over the poles with her hind.
This was taken right after the last one. It makes me laugh because it looks like she’s slinking away from the jump she just knocked over. “It wasn’t me!!”
I was instructed to kick her to get her to jump. I coaxed this effort out of her.
What a good girl!!

She was a very good girl, although I must admit this is the first time I’ve experienced a horse so reluctant to actually jump. I even asked the instructor afterward – “So… she is capable of jumping, right?” and he assured me she was. But I’m a little worried. It seems I have the most nonathletic horse in existence. She had a lot of trouble getting over the jump without crashing into it. I feel like I could never take Berry cross country – she would crash into the jumps for sure. Not that it is a goal of mine, I’d rather stay in the ring, but even then, I don’t want to end up knocking down poles or really the whole jump, which seems to be a possibility.

Has anyone else had a horse that couldn’t jump? And then hopefully the horse turned out to be an amazing jumper? Or maybe the reverse… terrible jumper and had to give it up?

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  1. sounds like fun – and awesome that your trainers all have similar philosophies/approaches. i wouldn’t worry too much about her not actually ‘jumping’ yet bc she’s so new to it and probably just doesn’t really understand yet. my friend’s green OTTB was similar and tried to trot everything and constantly knocked down all the rails all the time in his awkwardness. but suddenly one day it clicked and he realized how to actually use his body (we may have helped him along with a free jumping session) and now he makes it look easy

  2. I agree with your instructor. You sometimes just have to push them harder to get them to jump. Tucker is beyond lazy and will put forth as little effort as possible. If I want him to jump something small I have to work harder to make him do it. He puts more effort into the bigger stuff.

  3. With my 5 year old TB, she often is pretty unmotivated to put a lot of effort into jumping. We have trouble trotting into jumps and landing with a canter because she usually keeps trotting. Now that we have started cantering to jumps and increased the height a little, she has been more motivated. Also – she has become more fit. I make a strong effort to do a lot of hill work, up and down, just walking but sometimes some trotting up the hills, several times a week… usually after I’ve hacked around in the ring. Every horse needs this. Also, incorporate more trot work in the ring. Long trot sets, after a faster pace than normal. It gets their hind end engaged, and it is a great cardio workout. Between the trot sets and the hill work, I’ve noticed my girl to come a lot more tolerant of the over fences work and add more effort for me.

  4. i got my mare when she was 14 and she had pretty much always been a tb broodmare at stud for racehorse babies. I started jumping her because she was getting bored of flatwork and hacking out. at first, she would spook and not even walk over a single pole on the ground (obviously there could be a monster there) but after about a year of taking it really slowly with her and never taking her out of her comfort zone, we could fly round 2’9ft courses and 3ft straights. wasn’t easy but it was definitely worth it, she just took awhile to trust herself to get over, me to help her and the jumps not to eat her haha 🙂 you’ll get there, and its even more worth it when you’ve worked through it together 🙂

  5. Good girl Berry! Addy needs to take some notes from her- she jumps ground poles like they’re 2′, cavalettis like they’re 2’3″, x-rails like they’re 2’6″, etc. The poles might fly up and eat her if she’s not careful. Doing a hunter derby sounds AWESOME!

    1. Haha, she might be right! Some horse, somewhere has had a pole attack them, so she must be on her guard!
      My instructor gave me the thumbs up for it too! although she mentioned there are closer ones to me.. this one is in Berryville.

  6. Mine just steps over things until they’re a good 2’9+, because she doesn’t have to. And if the poles are the PVC ones? She’ll hit them every time; we can only use them for groundlines with her.

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