While there are many different areas in which a horse can excel, those considering the competitive aspect of horse ownership will eventually want to teach their animal to jump. Rather than hoping that the horse will instinctively know what you want, consider using the training tips below.
Choosing the Right Equipment
Before beginning to teach your horse to jump, it is important to ensure that you have the right equipment on hand. For example, you will certainly need grounded poles, preferably selecting those designed for the job at hand; consider training your horse on equipment from Old Dominion Horse Jump Company Inc. It is also advisable to use an English saddle for the comfort of both the horse and the rider, and many experienced jumpers recommend using a snaffle bit during the early days of training.
Increasing Distance and Height
After your horse can successfully clear one pole, allow the animal to try jumping over three or four poles that have been spaced roughly five feet apart. Depending on the horse’s size, you may need to space them a bit further apart until the animal gets the hang of jumping. As always, remain very positive and encouraging when you train your horse.
Cross Rail and Gymnastic Grids
Once your horse has gotten the hand of the basics, you can start training him on cross rail jumping and gymnastic grids; these two configurations are a bit advanced, but horses typically catch on rather quickly once they have had the chance to practice regularly. After your horse has grown comfortable and has a good grasp on the footing required for jumping, you may wish to begin training the animal on course riding. When setting up a course for the first time, space the jumps evenly around the arena; this will teach your horse to keep his pace consistent as he learns to handle multiple jumps.
Keep Calm and Train On
Some horses may take longer than others when learning to jump. Training will be most successful with horses that receive regular praise and rewards from their owners.