Dressage Horse Doesn't Quite Know What to Make of a Jump

When this dressage horse is asked to try out a jump, he comes up with an alternative that isn't quite what his rider or trainer were expecting.

Horses undergo years of specialized training in order to learn the skills their specific discipline requires. This is true of dressage horses, reiners, show jumpers, and just about any other discipline. So when this dressage horse is presented with a jump, he's not quite sure what to make of the obstacle in front of him.

Now, we've got to give this horse some credit, he did his best. Take a look:


While horses may jump and play naturally at liberty, taking a fence under saddle is a whole different matter. This dressage horse has been trained in other skills, but jumping is something new.

Training a horse to jump takes time, and it's best done as a slow, progressive development. Many trainers start horses over trot poles or cavaletti to teach them how to adjust their stride, lift their legs, and gather themselves up the way they'll need to do in order to jump. Then, a small crossrail is usually the next step. As the horse gains confidence and control, the height of the fence can gradually be increased.


One of the biggest challenges in training a horse to jump is the desire to do too much too fast. If you present a horse with a fence that's too much too soon for him, he can crash, lose confidence, and you'll have to start all over again.

Some of the best jumpers are those who have been brought along patiently and correctly. They have the confidence to conquer just about anything in their path because a talented trainer has worked with them correctly.

Have you ever tried to teach a horse to jump? What were some of the challenges that you faced? Tell us in the comments.

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