View Full Version : How young is too young?

13-02-06, 03:08 PM
When do you teach a horse to jump? what age do you think they are ready? How should you go about it? ect ect?

Suzie Q
13-02-06, 03:43 PM
Too young is before the horse's bones are ready to take the work. Here is a website that explains it much better than I can. http://www.equinestudies.org/knowledge_base/ranger.html

I teach with trot poles and plenty of praise without overfacing.

13-02-06, 03:49 PM
I think 4-5 is a good age to start jumping. By this time thier knees are formed properly. I have a 2y.o here thats just been broken just before xmas and when i tke him out i will occationally walk or trot him over a branch on the ground but nothing thats needs "jumping".. I got one of my horses when he was just broken 4 and started jumping him then and he is now 11 and has had no splints of knee problems. I think just walking over a pole and if possible jumping logs out in the bush is a great way of teaching them the basics of jumping, if you can get someone on another horse to come out with you and go over first it gives the baby confidance..

13-02-06, 07:38 PM
"Depends" is my answer. On the horse, the frequency, the height, the type of ground etc. Many serious showjumping contenders are jumping D grade at 4 (the EFA require a horse to be at least 4 for D Grade if I remember rightly), and obviously have a bit of work beore that. The young horse classes start at 4. It takes a while to move up the grades, so if it is left too late they are ready to retire when they get there!! A showjumper friend used to say a foot of height for every year is the max height for young ones, and that seems a pretty good guide. Of course that doesn't mean jumping your 3yo every day on rock hard ground over 90cm fences! It's just a schooling guide. You can jump a bit, but don't overdo it!

This is also assuming the horse's flatwork is up to it too.

14-02-06, 12:23 AM
I use the little trot stuff for the babies (hmm...actually I suppose they really start with walk stuff in their groundwork!)

My focus is on developing attitude, not jumping for a start, just having them travel around a variety of obstacles confidently, straight and in good rythm. Mostly trot first - the big horses don't do little jumps well from canter, don't pick up their feet enough.

This is the stage where you will make a bold, honest jumper or you will teach them how to refuse etc. No 'jump' is bigger than they can safely walk over if they do stop to have a look.

We do 'spooky' obstacles, tricky little combinations that teach them to be clever with their footwork, miniatures of all the styles of jumps they will see, etc. And constantly change everything.
It's good training, even for the dressage horses.

During their 3half to 4 yr, the bigger jumps are gradually added in and you start preparing them for the real thing.

A horse doesn't recognize height - once they do the small version the bigger jumps are not an issue unless the rider thinks they are big. LOL!

14-02-06, 04:47 AM
After about 4. Some start them younger, but to minimise potential leg problems, would be best to wait until bone development is complete.

Also EFA rules says your horse must be minimun of 4 to compete SJ, you cannot jump anything under 4 at Pony Club!

Depends heavily on the horse and its level of flatwork as well, I have a 4 year old TB - I wouldnt dream of jumping him until we can do a very decent prelim test! Flatwork is the most important bit here - they can jump as well as they like, but they need to be rideable. How many average OTTTB etc are that rideable at 4?