First Hunter Trials ever!!!

by Morgan

I've got a pony but I'm taking my friend's horse to a Hunter Trials because she can't- she's embarrassed about beating the same opponent again-.

It's a 2'6 course and the horse I'm taking, Melody, is 14.2hh. She's a supposed Arabian cross but that's very doubted. Anyway, it's my first ever Hunter Trials and it's in April.

I am going to take her cross country to practice but Melody likes to go very fast. I've jumped up to 1m on her and she never refuses or runs out. Once she see's a jump, she fixes her gaze onto it and gains speed to clear it. But then she gains too much speed and takes off early or late. We've tried lunging her over jump, walking over jumps with her, everything.

She doesn't like half-halts and even though I still use them, she yanks her head down whenever you try. Please help! She likes to yank her head hard down when she does canter to trot, straight after a jump, cantering a circle, extending or collecting trot or canter, quite a lot. We use a lot of different kinds of martingales but she finds tricks to get out of using them. We really need some tips but please don't act like a know-it-all. I don't want to seem mean but people are always acting like they know everything about you and your horse just by reading something. Thanks!

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Hope this helps!
by: Katie

One thing that I do that helps my horse to not rush jumps is to do lots of grids and bounces. I also stop her right in front of the jump when she really starts getting strong against me and then I'll also create a line but stop her between the two jumps so that way she's constantly having to listen back to me. Also I saw a video on YouTube in which you create (for example) a four stride line and try to collect the horse enough to get 5, 6, and 7 strides between the two jumps:). For the head pulling down (my horse used to do this all the time!). I popped her in the mouth so that it was painful for her to pull down instead of keep in the frame I wanted (keep in mind, my horse got very far on the forehand when she pulled down, sometimes enough to pull me out of the saddle) :). Every horse is different and these are some of the things that helped me with my horse. She is much different from other horses so just keep trying until you find something that works!

by: Sydney from

I am not an expert by any means or a trainer. However, I can give you some tips that I have found helpful. One thing I find helpful, when a horse I'm riding fixates on a jump, is to try to get the horse as close to the jump as possible and then circle away until they relax then jump the jump. Another technique I find helpful is also softening my hand when my horse sees the jump. One last thing I find helpful when my horse yanks his head down is to set my hands on my half pad so he is pulling against himself. Hope this helps.

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