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  1. #1
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    Default Advice - Encouraging "drop" not "jump" off banks

    HI everyone! It's been a long time since I have posted on this forum!
    This hunter princess hasn't given up on her fledgling event career, but I haven't had a ton of time this year to compete. One of my students has taken to XC schooling my pinto pony here a there and I am enjoying my large pony mare. We hunter paced this past weekend and are going to BCHP this weekend! Can't wait! I also have a brand new young horse that I hope to take out in the spring - while he's meant to be a hunter/derby horse, I am keeping my fingers crossed that we will event also!

    Now for my question... I was wondering if anyone could recommend any suggestions for working with my pony who likes to jump off of down banks/down banks into water to encourage her to just drop off into them. She eventually does start to relax after we've schooled them a bit, but each "new" time one is presented, we go back to the leaping - and BOY can she leap when she wants! I have come to think that maybe this will always be her "thing" - the thing that worries her, and that maybe instead of trying to change her ways, to just allow her to jump if it's what makes her comfortable (although OMG do my knees and ankles HATE when we land!). We will never go any higher than Novice, if that, so I'm not super concerned with related distances in combinations.

    I usually start from a walk, working on keeping her in front of my leg but not pushing, and keeping my own eye up - I tend to look down into the water when there is water involved - and keeping a soft but steady feel of her mouth. I do work at a trot after we've walked, but I don't canter her to them. I feel like that would encourage drama at this point and it's pretty unnecessary. I'm curious if there are any exercises or suggestions to help with this. I won't have a chance to work with anyone again until spring, but I feel competent to work on it myself when I have the opportunity. Thanks!!
    ...for there are wings on these hooves, the speed and power of foam-capped waves...
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    Proud member of the artists clique



  2. #2
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    Default

    I thought for the heck of it I would post my favourite EPIK photo of her leaping into water... think she caught me by surprise?

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...2&id=506662139
    ...for there are wings on these hooves, the speed and power of foam-capped waves...
    *~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*
    Proud member of the artists clique



  3. #3
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    Dec. 27, 2001
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    I had a horse that would do this...and then a second one... my trainer kept saying I had to really "allow" with my hand...I thought I was...
    Finally one time I was on course at Training; log 2 strides to a max drop. I was so worried about the "leap" I'd get...but I accidentally dropped my reins...

    yep, easiest drop I'd ever done. Try completely LETTING GO. No "soft feel". See if that helps.
    The big man -- no longer an only child

    His new little brother



  4. #4
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    Jul. 10, 2001
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    A trick given to me by Mr. Wofford was to press my hand down on the neck going off a bank (almost like pushing down on the shoulder) to get a horse to drop off and not launch. Of course the risk is you can end up going over the horse's head since it puts you in a more forward position.

    I tend to let my eye look down off banks with my leg forward at the girth. This (in my opinion) encourages the horse to go where I am looking (down and not out).

    Reed



  5. #5
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    Thank you for the suggestions!

    Asterix, I have tried dropping (well, not literally, lol) the reins before, but didn't find it helped. This mare in particular doesn't really like you to break the line of communication in front of any obstacle... she tends to like to "feel" you be there for her and doesn't like big changes in feel. I can always try again though, it's worth a shot. I should get a chance to practice a little this weekend.

    Rayers, I am liking the pressing down idea. That seems like something she might respond to! She likes when I scratch her withers when she's worried, so even just that simple contact may help her feel more relaxed and encouraged to drop. The eyes looking down seems logical - "always look where you want to go" - and I guess we do want to go INTO the water, lol. I had just always remembered from when I worked with Danny W. with my pinto, him telling me to look up and out, so that's what I always try to do. However, I will give this a shot since I have never tried looking down with her - well, at least not on purpose. Would you also suggest trying to keep less feel of the mouth?
    ...for there are wings on these hooves, the speed and power of foam-capped waves...
    *~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*
    Proud member of the artists clique



  6. #6
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    Jul. 10, 2001
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    Default

    In the beginning, no, you don't need to let the contact slip. Yes, as the drops get bigger you do.

    By the way, your link does not work. I am curious to see how your horse reacts.

    Reed



  7. #7
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    Aug. 9, 2009
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    Iv'e had a few green launching off types that were green and some who were lied to and had people grab them out of fear.

    A very good and rewarding exercise is to find a small bank that you are able to turn left and right off of, so that you come right back around to. If you're not comfortable find someone who is because you must have good hands for this, start by trotting off with an opening rein in the direction you plan on turning. You must be relaxed and not land and rip on or get angry just keep a good attitude and come around again and landing with a bend. Even some hard core launchers i've had come through will just start stepping off. The bummer though you throw the jockey back up there and the horse can feel the anxiety of rider and they will start launching again, many times the riders need education on another horse to make a change in the horse they own.

    Same goes for water. I will go back and forth (even if you must hack across the field to find that dry bank) and you can just feel the relief when the horses learn to step off dry and wet. They don't want to launch but either greenness, fear, bad riding, green riding, fearful riding encourages it :-(

    Greystone,

    I find trotting better than walking is most horses will find a nice rhythm, walking sometimes is a harder gait for folks to realize the quality or non quality of the gait. Also I will go up and down threading my way back and forth. Try the open rein and remember it's just jumping on a circle, keep the bend through the body (don't bend to the point of having the nose past point of shoulder) and you would not have a panic attack or rip a horse in a dressage test for making a boo boo so avoid the impulse should one occur when a horse launches off a bank.... Good luck. It would be cool to see a video as it would help!
    To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart



  8. #8
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    Sep. 12, 2005
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by asterix View Post
    I had a horse that would do this...and then a second one... my trainer kept saying I had to really "allow" with my hand...I thought I was...
    Finally one time I was on course at Training; log 2 strides to a max drop. I was so worried about the "leap" I'd get...but I accidentally dropped my reins...

    yep, easiest drop I'd ever done. Try completely LETTING GO. No "soft feel". See if that helps.

    Yep.

    Launching off of drops is a problem seen at all levels. And it's counter intuitive for the riders, who naturally want to "hold" in that situation. But the more contact the rider has at the point of take off, the more stored energy is used in the launch. Letting go of the reins really works!



  9. #9
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    Jul. 20, 2008
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    Australia
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    I audited a Paul Tapner clinic yesterday, and they were working on multiple steps and drops into water. He said down drops are the only fence that can be ridden backwards - come at it full pelt, slow down to nothing and still do it successfully. He said you need to ride it defensively - a defensive 3 point seat, and give a safetly slip witht he reins - open your fingers and allow the horse to take as much as the rein it needs, and every drop after that the horse should be fine. Dunno if that helps, but I understood it well enough

    But, what about this !

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUGPkdMyGjc

    Go to about 3:53



  10. #10
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    Yep, been there. Have a leaper.
    It's been a few years of this until I learned to really let go. Periodically I still do have to re-school downbanks, going to something really small and going round, and round, and round, jumping off, jumping off, jumping off -- and letting go. After two or three times he trusts me and steps down rather than leaping.
    He tries to clear the whole water, too. It's in my hands, I finally figured it out but not before I did the damage and now have to reschool all the time.
    "Passion, though a bad regulator, is a powerful spring." -- Emerson
    www.eventhorse.wordpress.com



  11. #11
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    Let go her face. Later I will post the picture that qualifies me as an expert.
    Click here before you buy.



  12. #12
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    Feb. 11, 2005
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    Default

    As others have said Let go of her face (not dropping her just soften probably way more then you think you are).
    Also... a general rule of thumb from "the master himself" ~ BD "always look where you want them to go" .... so essentially if you want her to jump down you have to look down if you are looking up and out she'll go "up and out".
    "A little less chit-chat a little more pitter-pat"



  13. #13
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    Jan. 19, 2005
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    I teach the babies by letting go completely...not just right at the drop. I put them on the buckle way way out and walk to the edge of the bank on the buckle. Look where I want them to go and just wait them out (staying back with my shoulders). I don't make a big deal about it. They may jump off one or two more times...but I found that if you do let go of them completely...they sort it much faster then if you try and keep even a soft contact. But you are not "dropping" them since you have let go far out from the fence.

    Once they get the idea...then I can keep a soft following contact...but until they just walk to the edge and step down....I keep them at the walk and I keep them on a loose rein.


    I will say I've been in a number of xc clinics...and all good clinicians have said let go of them. And many riders struggle with this. They think they are letting go...but they really are not. Because I'm pretty comfortable putting them on the buckle to go off the bank..and all my horses were started this way...I often end up the example of how much to let go.

    Here is a training level drop on a green horse (two strides to a little coop on an angle). We had jumped up the bank, couple of strides across and were now jumping down. You do not need a contact at these levels...but until they are confident about droping down...any contact seems to encourage them to jump out.
    Last edited by bornfreenowexpensive; Jul. 10, 2012 at 06:49 PM.
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **



  14. #14
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    Thanks so much for all the answers guys! I'm more than willing to give the whole "WAY let go" thing a shot. Why not, right? I like BFNE's tactic of approaching on the buckle and will try that again. That video was SHOCKING! My little mare doesn't do anything THAT bad, thankfully! She just sometimes jumps as if it was a little jump and I know that we should just step down. We do also get really good step-offs mixed in. The last time I went to Fair Hill, I did a bit of what Jumping Bug suggested, but not quite as extreme with t opening rein. They have a bank off of a little hill and I thought that might help with the forward motion and so I did a little "figure 8" over that dropping off, then cantering left and around to it again and then dropping off, cantering right and coming to it again (coming back to a walk/trot for the bank part). She got better and better that day it's just that the NEXT time I go out and present a down bank AGAIN, it starts all over.

    I think I have gotten some great food for thought here! It's good because I trust my little mare a lot and she has great trust in me. I'm not one to get nervous about this stuff and I just laugh when she does jump off, so thankfully, I don't think I'm making the situation worse. She can be a worry-wort and always wants to be perfect. I will try to get some video this weekend if I can.

    Rayers, can you not see my link because it's my FB page maybe?
    ...for there are wings on these hooves, the speed and power of foam-capped waves...
    *~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*
    Proud member of the artists clique



  15. #15
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    I really need to be functional right now, but later today if I get some time I will try to compile an album in my webshots of this pony and some of our bank pics. I was just looking and I feel like most times I AM really loose with the reins or soft, but I'm sure you guys will be able to tell me which ones are "enough" and which aren't "enough" and that could really help me work this weekend.
    ...for there are wings on these hooves, the speed and power of foam-capped waves...
    *~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*
    Proud member of the artists clique



  16. #16
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    My old gelding just never got the jump *down* and not *out* bit about banks, but he was my first to event, so it was the blind leading the blind, so to speak as I was just a kid at that point.

    My new mare is much better because we schooled banks as others have described - we walked down tiny banks over and over and over. Then we walked up to and just stepped down some larger ones. Over and over and over. Wash, rinse, then repeat at trot and canter. I used a neck strap (also grabbed the breastplate or running martingale strap if no neck strap), threw her a bit of a loop, looked down where I wanted to go and sat soft, still and back. She's awesome at them, and I no longer dread the down banks, which with my old gelding were like chiropractic adjustments to me.
    There's always more to learn if you're willing.



  17. #17
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    Greystone, I'm logged into FB but can't see your pic either -- perhaps the permissions are set to only allow Friends to see it?

    Without seeing the pictures I can't tell you if your rein is soft enough (or if that's even the problem)...but I do know that I really, really thought I was being soft in my hand, and it wasn't soft enough. My horses are HUGE, though, so it's not hard to end up more connected than I meant to be when they stretch down. The accidental loss of all reins whatsoever was kind of a big lightbulb moment for me!
    The big man -- no longer an only child

    His new little brother



  18. #18
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    Tie the ends of your reins in a knot...then let her face go till you are holding the knot. Eyes up but not OUT at the horizon. Leg on softly and let her slip down. She'll get it. Tiny banks to start-really start from scratch. She'll figure it out as long as you stay cool and offer her the slip instead of the launch!
    Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.



  19. #19
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    Mar. 26, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by asterix View Post
    I had a horse that would do this...and then a second one... my trainer kept saying I had to really "allow" with my hand...I thought I was...
    Finally one time I was on course at Training; log 2 strides to a max drop. I was so worried about the "leap" I'd get...but I accidentally dropped my reins...

    yep, easiest drop I'd ever done. Try completely LETTING GO. No "soft feel". See if that helps.
    This advice helps beyond the drops too. It's really incredible how much easier things get when you stop trying to direct everything and just allow your horse to do its job.
    "Last time I picked your feet, you broke my toe!"



  20. #20
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    If you go back to Fair Hill for xc schooling....the best banks there for green beans is over by the foundation. Most of the rest of the banks are really bigger than I'd want for a truly green horse until they really understand the question. (and the water jump at Fair Hill is much bigger than I want to use when introducing dropping into water). There are several better schooling locations for drops/banks/water in the area than Fair Hill (although I do love schooling at Fair Hill as well).


    It just takes time...and yes...sometimes they do the LEAP off the first few times. I've found that with horses that I have who have a tendancy to do that leap...I just have to keep it slow for a bit longer. (walking/trotting) off the banks. It is really an important skill for them to get because as you progress up the levels...the CD start adding related distances to fences after the drop...and if they LAUNCH...it can really mess up the following fence. It can also be a problem for them dropping into water. When they LAUNCH into the water...it stops them suddenly and that can get a bit ugly
    Last edited by bornfreenowexpensive; Nov. 22, 2010 at 04:21 PM.
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **



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