Preventing run outs

“I bought a five-year-old TB/Warmblood mare a couple of months ago, with a view to ultimately compete in pre-novice and novice competitions. She is very green and had only jumped colour fences before I got her.

“On the couple of occasions that I have taken her cross-country schooling, she has been quite positive. However, she has a habit of running out and I can’t work out why she is doing it, as the fences she takes a dislike to appear to be the easiest fences. Once she has decided she doesn’t like a fence, she is stubborn and won’t jump it, even if she has a lead from another more experienced horse.

“What is the best way of correcting this habit? Should I stop her straight after the jump and turn her back round to it on the other rein?

“Should I be worried that she is showing a reluctance to do what is being asked of her? I am concerned that this stubborn nature could be a problem in the future. Or should be more forgiving of her, bearing in mind her age and experience, and the fact that our relationship is so still so new?”

Ginny says . . .

My first question is does the mare always run out the same way? If she does then it is likely to be that she isn’t straight in her flatwork and so on the approach to a fence she is not straight which gives her an easy way out to the side.

If she runs out to the left, always bring her back to the right and vice versa – never turn a circle as this means success to the horse.

It is unusual that the horse will jump more difficult fences successfully, but this could be because a large fence demands more respect from the rider and therefore better preparation. Maybe a lack of preparation at the easier fences is a contributing factor to the run outs.

I would suggest you aim to jump all fences, regardless of height, with the same degree on accuracy and see how you progress.

Best wishes and good luck

Ginny

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