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Starting A Horse Over Fences



The jump

Horses are creatures of habit. They rely on a routine of being fed, getting turned out and ridden at the same time every day. This is something that is important to take into account when teaching a young horse to jump. You want to keep things easy and uncomplicated for the animal when it is learning something new. Don’t worry that you will make for a sour or bored horse. Remember, they like the repetition.

I find that the best way to get a young horse started jumping is to begin with one rail on the ground. Keep adding trot rails as the horse progresses. Be sure to read your horse. You do not want to push it past its comfort level. The next step will be small brush boxes, cross rails or small verticals. Encourage your horse to trot over them on loose rein.

To help your horse figure out its pace and placement in front of a jump, put out a couple of trot rails in front of a cross rail. My favorite exercise is a rail 9’ out from a cross rail with another rail 9’ out on the landing side. As the horse progresses, move the jump higher. You want your horse to learn the mechanics of jumping, so keep it simple.

It is very important to end any kind of training session on a high note. At the end of your session, the animal should be confident and comfortable with any new task it is asked to perform. So remember, be consistent with your animal. They are comfortable with routine and repetition. And never push a young horse beyond its boundaries when learning a new task. They are, after all, beginners.


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