Point of view: horse jumping with Clinton Anderson
Using this exercise, you will teach your horse how to confidently overcome obstacles, both natural and human. Give your horse a goal – this will make training more fun and interesting for both of you and increase the horse’s trust and respect for you. Repeated repeated daily work on the same leads to the fact that many horses become lazy and boring. When you introduce obstacles to 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. Lay two barrels on the ground end to end. The distance between them should be about 1.80 m. One barrel should be near the wall of the arena or the fence of the parade ground, so that the horse could not run around the obstacle from the corresponding side.
1. Before directing a horse through an obstacle, always ask her to walk between him and you on the sides where this can be done. This is a small test: if you cannot force your horse to 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 point the horse between you and the obstacle, staying in one place. Ask her to remove her ass and turn to you. Then send it between you and the barrels again. Practice this until the horse walks calmly or trot 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 bypass the barrels. Then, using the approach and retreat, send the horse between the barrels. At first, when you sent the horse between the barrels, it will probably stop and try to put it back from them, because in this situation it may experience uncertainty. The trick is to stop her before she wants to stop. Stopping should always be your idea. So, if you assume that the horse will stop eight steps from the obstacle, stop it at nine. Then take the horse away from the barrels. After, ask her to go to them again, and before she stops, take her away. Each time you send the horse forward to the barrels, try to make it move closer to them.
Tip: if your horse wants to smell or explore an obstacle, let her do it. Horses sometimes need to conduct their own safety checks 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 would have no choice but to jump over the barrels. You will understand that the horse confidently passes through the corridor, when you can point with your hand in which you hold the sidewalk in the right direction, and the horse will go forward without hesitation, calm trot or step.
4. Do not behave like a predator. If the horse approaches the barrels, hesitates and leans forward directly on the verge of transition, do the opposite of what you would like to do (would exert more pressure on it) – take the horse away from the barrels. Do not try to force her into a jump or into the corridor – just wait until the horse finds the right answer. It is critical to apply pressure in a timely manner. Never push a horse when it examines an obstacle or intends to do so! Instead, if your horse is reluctant to go to the barrels, push it with a whip when it has already passed them, so you will create energy from the backside.
5. As soon as the horse jumps over the barrels, hold it in a circle in the same direction. Let her get comfortable with a one way jump, first ask her to do it the other way.
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 in height to jump over such low obstacles.
Horses usually worry when you ask them to do something new. Your horse may lie a little in the cord and start running around in a circle – just give it the opportunity to relax and calm down.
6. When your horse confidently jumps barrels from any direction, try jumping back and forth. You can make barrels a more “serious” test by covering them with tarpaulin, brightly colored, etc. Your greatest advantage in training 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.
Clinton Anderson (source); translation by Valeria Smirnova.
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