Horse lowering head too much when jumping


New Member
Nov 6, 2003
South Manchester, UK
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I started jumping on my mare about 2/3-months ago now, after she had had a 7-year break and me about 12-months. Things have gone well and she loves, seriously everything is done at a million miles an hour, with attentive ears etc and she just seems to have so much fun.

We had a major problem with her poking and bananaing round corners, so we worked on our flat work and have now got her rounding off nicely on the flat. Which is going to be very important as we hope to do WH classes.

However, now my pony has taken to when cantering or trotting round jumping as well over bending and going round with her head somewhere between her knees and not looking at the jumps and resulting in her putting in extra little strides.

I ride in a plain cavesson and snaffle bridle.

Advice please - her going on the flat and show section now is great but it's resulted in her being over bent during the jumping phase.
might be of some use - another horse was overbending at a clinic I was at, heere is what they did - you coudl also do it ridden first in flatwork, then over small poles.


Next up was a stunning 4 yo Fresian, a sensitive horse who currently finds comfortable / release when being ridden / longlined by having his nose literally stuck to his chest, COMPLETELY overbent. It was like a previous owner had sellotaped his nose to his body and that was now his default head position. Had been improving each day. We needed to communicate to the horse that we didn¡¦t want his nose stuck to his chest all the time. So on went the longlines, and horse was walked about on a light contact. When horse tucked his head in, handler put more pressure on the long lines. When horse relaxed head and didn¡¦t tuck it in, handler keep just a light contact on long lines. You could see the horse every tie he tucked his head in and then getting more pressure on the reins as a result going - what? Since when did the rules change? but after even the two days I saw, the amount of time he'd spend with his neck over bent on Sat, compared to how long he spent with it on Sunday (due to the consistent reactions by his handler) was MUCH improved. He was starting to loosen up and relaxed and look like a normal supple young horse, but a tense over braced one.

After this the longlines were good to get him used to the human being in charge of both direction & speed, and to realise that he could just make his own decisions about where to go / etc anymore. There was also an issue getting up on him. So at the end of the session, handler tacked him up, hopped on, sat there for about 2 secs, then hopped off. Horse didn't move at all. At that was a big improvement from before, Tom rightly said 'bank it' and so the lesson was finished on this note.


New Member
Nov 6, 2003
South Manchester, UK
Visit site
Interesting article, may very well try that although to be honest when working on the flat she isn't overbent she is working in nice outline now rather poking and bananaing round the school like previously.

If I released pressure on the reins when jumping we would lose all control and she would just go fat and bomb at everything.

I will get my instructor to put some trotting poles down and maybe cavaletti's to see if I can get to her engage and concentrate more! Which will hopefully get her to look forwards rather with her chin to her chest
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