Training a horse for jumping competitions, or to be able to hop over logs or other obstacles you might face while going on a leisurely trot in the woods can be time-consuming and tricky. Most avid horse riders do not begin training their horses to jump until they are about four or five years old. This age is perfect because the horse’s body will be matured and it will be less likely to injure itself than a younger horse. Using the following items can also help when it comes to training a horse to jump.
Having a horse jump is a necessity, no matter whether you are training a horse for a competition or not. Many competitions will use a striped color horse jump, fence, or decorative obstacle. Using similar items in your training will improve the odds that your horse will do well in the competition. Whenever possible, use a horse jump that you can change the height of. This way, you can start low and move the bar higher as your horse becomes more skilled and comfortable working with the jumps.
Sometimes horses, especially young horses, are nervous about beginning to jump. If this is the case, then it is best to start off using something that requires a similar amount of rider control. Trot poles are perfect for this because they both look similar enough to basic jumps and can be used in different ways.
The first way to use trot poles is to lay them flat on the ground. As the name implies, horses can gently trot over the poles. When they are on the ground, they are low enough that the horses do not need to jump at all to get over them. Riders can also purchase either hard or soft trot poles to reinforce teaching the horse not to step on them.
Once the horse is comfortable trotting over the poles, it can be raised slightly off the ground. With the most slight raises for trot poles, a horse will still not have to jump to get over them. However, it does help to get the horse comfortable with needing to step a bit higher. Doing this provides a great middle zone between trotting and jumping.
Using both horse jumps and trot poles is essential to teaching a horse to jump over a higher object. With enough training, your horse could very well go on to win a competition or two!