Thursday, September 29, 2011

3'3" and an oxer...together :)

Lauren and Lucy over a 3'3" oxer yesterday.
It has been easy for me to forget lately that Lucy is only 5. She's been acting very grown-up this summer and she's been enjoying all the new fun things we've been doing. Her knees are closed per my vet (or she wouldn't be jumping) and I think she's just about done growing. She's still young, though, and I don't want to fry her body or her mind. Do you have any specific rules for your horse as far as how many days a week he or she is worked, and how hard? Do you only jump x number of days a week? Do you never jump more than one day in a row? If you jump one day, does the horse get the next off or do you just hack around and have an "easy" ride?

I am asking because I tend to have a "no jumping two days in a row" rule, but this week was an exception. I jumped on Tuesday, and then Lauren jumped on Wednesday. Lauren jumped the 3'3" oxer just twice and a few of the other, much smaller jumps a couple times each. Lucy was hardly even sweaty at the end of the ride and Lauren said she planned on a light hack today. Lucy also got her legs hosed off thoroughly with cold water and then a brace/liniment applied up through her hocks and knees, just as a preventative measure. She seemed no worse for the wear this afternoon when I brought her in. Still, I don't plan on making that a regular thing.

When I introduce new things to a young horse or a green horse, I want to challenge them and get them interested, but I do not want to over-face them or make them doubt that they can do whatever I'm asking of them. I think I've done a good job of this so far, because Lu hasn't shown any hesitation at all. She's jumped everything confidently and willingly. Ideally from here, we'll start upping the complexity of the courses so that they include rollbacks, inside turns, broken/bending lines, and other challenging things. I would also like to start simulating some XC jumps in the ring (more on that in a future post). I am not eager to increase the height she's jumping right now. She's shown she has plenty of athletic ability and she certainly has the propensity to jump big. What I'd really like to know is if she's cat-like enough even as a big horse to get around a jumper course with the aforementioned challenges.

So this is what we'll be working on in the near future :)

In other news, this blog has reached almost 100 subscribers! I am planning on doing a giveaway contest for one of my painted saddle pads, a $45 value, once we hit triple digits.


  1. For me, it depends on the height of the jump. If it's babies with little jumps, often is fine. If they're out competing, I don't jump more than twice a week (so one jump school mid-week if they're competing on the weekend). If they're working really hard, I don't jump school them between competitions.

    I try not to do the same thing (dressage, interval training, XC schooling) two days in a row. They don't necessarily get an 'easy' ride after a hard ride, but it will be something quite different.

    I can't imagine the odd consecutive jump schooling causing problems, though I do always keep in mind the idea that a horse only has so many jumps in him/her, and don't needlessly jump.

    Congratulations on the subscriber milestone, and I can't wait for the giveaway :)

  2. Nothing super deep to say..... but WOW, what a gorgeous photo! Lucy looks great at 3'3" :)

  3. I subscribe to the thought that the easier you take it when they are young (to an extent, i.e. dont just spell them completely) that it adds more years to the other end of their working life. I believe she will tell you how much is just enough - if she is happy and willing then go for gold. I personally wouldn't jump more then once a week, and just school the technical stuff over tiny cross rails etc. It sounds like you will be doing just that.

    Jumping 2 days in a row once in a blue moon won't hurt her though.

    And Lucy looks fab, as always.

  4. I ride my horses 5-6 times a week. I don't jump more than3 days a week and don't usually jump twice in a row but I will every now and again. i won't hurt too much as long as you don't push her and know when to quit.

  5. I used to jump once, maybe twice max, a week - when we were competing. And after jumping or showing, I would give her a liniment bath and put her in standing wraps for the night.

    The week of the show, if she was really good, I'd give her Saturday off. If she'd been a turd during schooling through the week, she'd work extra hard on Saturday with the hope that she'd be too tired to act up at the show, lol. She always had a day or two after the show off.

  6. Love the picture, you guys are looking good.
    I think you can do a lot of training and schooling over 18" to 2ft and teach them a lot and do it often. If I start calling 2'6" an actual jump then I don't school a greenie more than twice a week and a more experienced horse more than once a week not counting shows and xc schooling.

  7. For me it's always been more about the height of the jumps and the number of jumps per schooling than the number of days a week you jump. I also call a real jump 2'6" to 2'9" and in general I would only jump at that height or higher once a week.

    But I have ridden several green horses that I jumped multiple times a week. I have ridden several horses who stayed relaxed during flat work and then got fast and wound up once we started jumping. With them I would often throw a random jump or two into our daily rides (generally 2ft-2'3" jumps). The idea was to try and get them to focus on the flatwork surrounding the jumps. Flatwork, jump, flatwork, flatwork, flatwork. Some of those horses I would jump up to 3-4 days a week, but the total number of jumps was still less than an average lesson. I just like changing things up.

    It also depends on your horse's fitness of course. There was a girl at my barn who only jumped her horse once every couple weeks, but then she also only rode her horse once a week every time she jumped she would hike the jumps up. That mare was NOT fit enough for that and sure enough, she's no longer sound. Really sad to watch that.

    One other thing I've always thought about for the people who only jump once a week (which believe me, I TOTALLY understand/agree with this, especially in a young horse) is if we might be setting our horses up for possible injury when we take them to shows and ask them to jump several days in a row. Perhaps we should *occasionally* be jumping them a few days in a row to strengthen them? Just a thought.. I can't say that I ever jumped my horse several days in a row unless I was in a clinic or a show.

    I know you have Lucy's best interest at heart so I'm confident you will make good decisions about her training and not push her too far. She looks fantastic!

  8. Great responses, thanks everyone. Definitely a lot of food for thought! It seems I'm on the right track, and I do agree that the horse usually lets you know when he/she has had enough. I know Lucy does and I have never ignored that.


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