Ground training

Ground Training or flatwork is a continuous process and without a well-trained responsive horse on the flat, you stand little chance of winning when the fences are higher.

My horse is rushing fences!

You need to be honest with yourself and answer these two questions.

Is the horse ready for jumping?

Has the flatwork been established correctly?   

Correct flat work makes the horse supple and obedient.

Schooling, teaches the horse to adjust his balance and stride, which is what he needs to do in front of a fence to help the rider.    

The better the horse's flatwork, the easier it is to negotiate the horse around a course. 

If the horse is lacking in ground training, then you will have a jumping problem.

The horse is fresh.

Some stabled horses are like coiled springs and need time to settle down before they can concentrate fully.  

I always lunge a fresh horse before I get on it, to get rid of the pent up energy.  


The horse is experiencing pain.

Make sure all the tack is fitting correctly and comfortable for the horse   

A horse in pain, may rush over fences to escape the discomfort he feels.   

The horse is frightened of jumping

If you are dealing with a frightened horse, you will need to take a step back.  

Excessive speed on approach to a fence will cause the horse to flatten over it, greatly increasing the chances of a knock down.   


The horse is too restricted on approach.

Tie downs such as martingales and mouth straps can sometimes cause tension and restrict movement, which can result in a horse frightening the rider on approach to a fence.  


The rider is over riding on approach.

This will encourage the horse to quicken. As a rider, don't become anxious on approach to a fence.

If you have a good enough canter, wait for the fence to come to you. Keep your body still on approach.

Some riders try to do too much, and this will cause more errors.

Exercises for the horse that rushes his fences.

Set up a fence and canter circles in front of the fence, on the approach line to the fence

Continue with this exercise, until the horse is perfectly relaxed.

When you have achieved this, canter a few circles again, in front of the fence, then next time jump the fence, but only once.

Therefore, you canter a few circles, then jump the fence and repeat the exercise.

This exercise will get the horse to listen and wait, rather than anticipate everything and drag you into a fence.

Trotting poles in front of a fence, will give him something to think about.

Once he has mastered that, you can progress to canter poles in front of the jump.

The average canter stride, for a horse is 12 ft and for a pony 10ft.

This is only a guide; you will need to adjust the poles to suit your horse.


Scroll down to find more information on jumping and ground training problems.




Jump training


Ground training > > Home

Why does my horse cat jump?

My horse “balloons” over fences.

My horse jumps flat.

My horse is strong and pulls me to the fences.

My horse spooks at fillers!

Why does my horse stop or run out?

The benefits of a well schooled horse for jumping.

Training a horse to jump on the lunge.

Training to jump ditches and water

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