Keeping a Jumper Sound During Training

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Are you looking at horses for sale with the hopes of buying a jumper? Training a jumper to compete at the upper levels requires a good deal of work, and jumping is strenuous on a horse’s joints. To ensure that your horse stays sound and competitive for years to come, it’s important to plan your training carefully.

Minimize Jumping

It may sound counterintuitive, but when you are training a jumper, it’s important to minimize the amount of time that you actually spend jumping your horse. Your horse will need to learn proper form and how to use his body over fences, but that doesn’t mean that you need to drill him repeatedly, or jump him every day. In fact, you should try to keep the frequency that you jump to only once or twice a week. Doing so will give your horse’s body time to recover in between the sessions, lessening his risk of injury.

Minimize the Height of the Jumps

Along with minimizing the frequency at which you jump your horse, keeping the heights of the jumps lower can further reduce the strain placed on your horse’s joints. School your horse over low fences to teach him the basics of jumping. Your horse can learn proper form, how to navigate a course, and the different demands that will be asked of him from smaller fences. Jumping smaller fences will also give you a chance to work on your own form. Once you have the basics down, your schooling over higher fences will be more effective more quickly, reducing the amount of time you need to spend jumping demanding heights.

Focus on Groundwork

How well you and your horse communicate with and understand each other largely determines your success when jumping a course. To jump a course you will need to be able to easily cue your horse to change directions, bend his body in different ways, lengthen and shorten his stride, and change leads at the canter. All of these skills can be taught through flatwork, eliminating the need to jump your horse repeatedly.

Work Closely With Your Vet

As you train and condition your horse, work closely with your vet to monitor his overall health and how the training is affecting his joints. Your vet can advise you on when your horse may need a break, and how to help keep him health and competition-ready.

Training a jumper for competition takes a good deal of work. While jumping can be hard on a horse’s body, approaching training carefully can allow you to keep your horse sound and healthy throughout his career. So go ahead, start looking at horses for sale – your next jumping partner is out there waiting.

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