|Hugo figuring it out. 2'3" vertical. Nice knees and well planted hind end!|
I like to "teach" horses to free jump, rather than just chase them through the shoot. Sure, if you are only ever going to put them through the shoot once, video, and take pictures and never do it again, then it does save time to just force them through it. However, these horses inevitably have a rotten experience, thus making it harder the second time. It's pretty evident when they start running out, tearing down the shoot, and all around don't learn a dang thing except to avoid the shoot.
So how do I "teach" them to do the shoot and "enjoy it"? The jump set up is as follows: ground pole, 9' distance to 2' exe, 18' distance to 2' vertical, 21' distance to 2'3" vertical (eventually this would become an oxer and made larger as the horse becomes better at jumping). Our assumption was that Hugo had never been through a jump shoot, so we set it up, put all the jumps down leaving ground poles and walked him through it. After he came out we gave him a treat. We repeated this a couple time until he got the idea that going through meant treat. This also provides the bonus that the horse doesn't gallop around the arena afterward, but stops and seeks out the treat person. Then slowly, one trip through at a time we put up the jumps to small ex's, and then graduated the final two jumps to small verticals until the final jump was a whole 2'3".
Hugo did great and caught on. The first few trips were funny to watch since he didn't really know what to do with his legs, but he figured it out quickly and by the end had it down and finished on a really good note. EB was very happy and we all had quite a bit of fun, including Hugo. As for E, he is quite the curious fellow and had a fun time learning all about free jumping and was very helpful. There is certainly good horse hubby potential in that one. Wink wink EB.
|Family pic. EB, Hugo, and E|
Happy trails and swooshing tails!