I have a 9 year old OTTB mare who used to be a lesson horse. I got her from the stable because she is a one person horse. when the other kids used to ride her they let her refuse the fences so now she wont jump when she have a few days off. Is there any thing i can do to teach her not to refuse? Once she gets into it she dowsn't want to stop jumping but as soon as she gets time off i have to go back to square one.

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Let her know you're the boss and that she can't stop is my best advice. I'm not necessarily saying beat her with a crop when she refuses, just keep her in the middle of the jump for a second then turn her and go again, calmly. Don't give up if it takes you 1 hour to get over a small cross rail! If she was a lesson horse, maybe she just needs more time with a real rider, someone who really knows well what their doing. I'm 13 and I'm definitely not a trainer, but that is my advice from experience. :)
Ill keep trying that. and im more experianced than some of the riders that hae been on her. She still thinks she on the track, since the kids let her speed around the ring
How is her flat work?

I find a school horse is often stiff without lateral or longitudinal flexion.

Also...how do you introduce a jump after a few days off.

Warm up is important for any jumping for a horse with issues like this.

Do you start with trotting poles working up to a cross rail...or just point her at a small fence?

How does she quit...by running out of steam at the base..or by applying the brakes suddenly..... swerving/spooking sideways?
she holds her head a little high at the walk and trot but goes on the bit naturally at the canter. I do start her out with trotting poles and she will jump if poles are infront of the fence. She always at the last stride or half a stride runs out to the left, onlt frequently does she stop at the fence itself
Hi Stefhanie, It is quite possible that a young horse might refuse out of a misunderstanding or out of inexperience , or because the horse is physically unable to cope with a certain fence. Therefore, if a horse refuses a fence or runs out,it is certainly not always a disabedience. There may be a good reason for the refusal. It is a big mistake to make a scene about a stop , using spurs and rough rein aids is useless and unnecessary. The use of force will create fear and self-defence. Sometimes to cure the defect we must allow the horse to regain it's confidence by doing grid work , in doing so we not only help the horse with it's confidence but also with it's physical well-being. Keeping the jumps low will give the horse the confidence and strength it needs to do the job we ask. If a young horse has refused a fence do not punish him but reduce the fence completely . Put the poles on the ground and ride the horse over them at a walk then a trot then a canter. if the horse is relaxed then build up the jump again SLOWLY and his confidence will return. There is nothing wrong with starting at the start again after a lay off, remember " slowly,slowly catchy monkey" Cheers Geoffrey
Thanks, I'll be sure to try this next time!
This is a really good recommendation. During the summer, a horse at the lesson barn where I ride would all of a sudden stop right before a jump, but he'd do anything else that you asked. And it turned out that he had nervicular. I'm not saying that all Horses who refuse to jump have a health issue, but Horses do know their limits. What I say is keep pursuing, and be the leader, That's what Horses look for in their rider.


P.S. The Horse is ok now, and he's being brought back slowly by a very experienced rider.
Remeber to make sure that your tack is fitting well. She could be stopping for a pain issue.
its fine to start a warm up at square one.

build a grid of xpoles.

a simple grid looks like; x pole: to a 1 stride: to an x pole: to a 1 stride. use this table to measure your distance...


trot into the grid, with your heels down holding some mane (in case she refuses) and your legs on. If she stops, make her walk over all the x poles and shower her with praise as she goes over. If she runs out, stop immediately, back up and walk over the poles. Try again.

If you can't get her to walk over the x poles under saddle, get off and walk her over in hand.

If your horse goes through the grid with no difficulty, raise the jumps to x pole: x pole: low vertical(2'3).

By the end of the exercise you can potentially have raised one by one the x poles to a good height, 2'9-3'0.. your horse can build it's confidence and you can work on your position. It's a win-win!

The next sessions you can try cantering into the grid, or adding a small fence a few strides after the grid if your horse goes through confidently.

Hope that helps..
make her go over trotting poles, then trotting poles and a small jump etc, grid work and gymnastics gets them n\moving form\ward and over
she has no problem with grids.. just single jumps by themselves
My suggestion is to get a routine of days that you ride and stick to it! Really focus on your hands -learn how to have contact to support your mare and yet give her room to stretch in the air - have a good ground person set up some smaller fences ( a simple grid ) on a regular basis and only do it 2 or 3 times -always end on a good note and then hope off right away. Being in the school -kids have a tendacy to plant their hands on the withers and drop their horses in front and then often the horse will get popped in the mouth. If you know she runs out to the left mostly -do better flat work but also use the left wall -start jumping going to the right -keep the fences small as I said before -but push them against the left wall!
Could also be an arthritic response -she could be stiff -why not jump her on the next day or two after you start her back. Sometimes track horses -although she is only 9 (can feel like a 20 yr old -their legs have taken a beeting as youngsters) have a need for some arthritic support like Glucosamine and MSM or Vitamin E and Selenium.


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