Hi everyone,
I have a PSG dressage horse and am interested in incorporating jumping into both our lives on a semi-regular basis. Every now and then I go over some cross poles or verticals about knee height and my horse is very keen. I'm not sure I would be comfortable jumping even as high as 2 feet, but hopefully, my horse and I can still do some interesting little jumps and have some fun while we're at it!
At our barn, we have very few jumps. There are logs in the woods though.
Any ideas for getting started? I need really EASY stuff to do!

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Hi, Barbara:

Jumping and cavaletti work is wonderful for dressage horses, and for dressage riders. I have organized and ridden in dressage-specific cavaletti clinics which have done super things for my horses' backs and attitudes. Reiner Klimke's (get Ingrid's updated version) book called "Cavaletti" is a great starting place. Everything is explained, there are photos and diagrams, etc.

I can't jump or ride 2 point any more due to a back injury, which is really unfortunate because I know my horses would benefit from it. At least they get to trail-ride sometimes, and they're turned out in 5 acre pastures with other horses, but jumping would be a really useful adjunct to our dressage work.

Jumping like this really helps horses loosen their backs and use their necks, and it helps dressage riders to release some control and let the horses figure out the problems. Really good H/J trainers can help with this - little gymnastics do wonders for engaging sour dressage horses and teaching lazy ones to go forward and focus on their work. Hot horses learn to wait, and riders learn to look up!
As already said small crossrails and cavaletti are the start. You might want to set up a small grid with a pole, then a cavaletti, then a crossrail and straightbar (set low) to end. This will get a good rhythm going and space them out so there is 2 or 3 canter in between.

I personally don't jump as I have a bad back but my horse does both and at a pretty decent level in both disciplines. I found that he can get bored and the jumping is fun for him. You should see the hidden impulsion suddenly appear that was not there when doing dressage. LOL
What's great for you is that your horse already has a dressage background, which is helpful for jumping. I don't have a dressage background and I always hear jumping and hunter people (I do Hunters) talk about how much they hate dressage, etc. I just keep it to myself but what they don't seem to realize is that everyone learns the basics of dressage before they jump anyway (or they should, at least). Balance, impulsion, responsiveness to aids....these things are all needed to jump properly and safely. I agree with setting up cavaletti and tiny cross rails to start. I warn you, it is very addictive. :)
my concern with low jumps is really anything under 2ft should be treated like a raised cavaletti. you dont want him jumping them, you want him picking up his feet and using his hocks.
as for you learning how to jump. get an old stirrup leather and loop and buckle it around his neck so that it stops 1/2 way. that's your grab strap, you hold onto that and the reins when approaching the jump. that way you dont break nails, or snatch him in the mouth.
let your crotch hover the saddle, keep your shoulders open, eyes up and your weight sinking into your heels. the impulsion of the jump is what should put you into 2pt.
oh, and always wear a helmet.
You probebly have one of the easyest horse to learn how to jump on. All of us H/J's focus soly on H/J with minimun Dressage or flatwork. But because you have focused soly of Dressage, your horse will be really supple to learn how to jump. Just start with a either a small branch or a low log. If your horse feels comfertable with this then you can progress, but any jumping you do should be under a qualified Instructor or coach.
could some on remind me what Cavaletti is again??
a cavaletti is a pole that has an x looking thing on either end. They're little jumps that are bigger than a pole on the ground but smaller than an actual jump.

Just remember that jumping is just flat work with an obstical in between and that a jump is just another canter stride.
If you wanted to jump smaller jumps and still keep your horse interested then I would:
Start with one cavaletti on a 20m circle, and as you both start to learn how to balance going over jumps on a circle, add another. You can add another cavaletti as you become even more comfortable. Or you could do it with a single rail instead of a jump.
Another good one would be to set up a cavaletti at X on the diagonal, and gradually add more jumps as you please, (number of jumps would depend on how big your arena is) about 2 or 3 strides apart. (or whatever you think you and your horse are ready for)
With your horses dressage background these excercises shouldn't be too hard but should present him with a challenge!
I tried to put a diagram on because they might be a bit hard to understand, but my computer is messed up. :)
Take a look at the book 101 Jumping Exercises. They have lots of great grid ideas for horse and rider from beginner through advanced.
Your horse should go well in the way of jumping, as the most important aspect of jumping is that your horse has had training to be able to bring himself together and collect himself for the jumps.
After you have your horse going smoothly over trotting poles gymnastics are a great way to start the actual jumping. Gymnastics are a way of teaching your horse to jump. They are a series of small, about 2foot jumps set at close distances in a strainght line. For example try 5 trotting poles, then a small cross jump and another to form a bounce (no srides between) and then a slightly higher jump a stride with a stride before.

i know it sound complecated so maybe this will help.

/ step / step / step / step / 3 steps x 3steps x 6steps //
( trotting poles ) ( cross jumps) ( larger jump )

you may have to change the distances slightly to suit your horse but thid excercise has greatly imroved my horses jumping.

amy

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