I haven’t been able to take a lesson in almost 2 months because of being out of town, personal drama, and having to borrow a truck and trailer to go to the lesson. At my last lesson we worked Baron over ground poles, and he did fairly well. He didn’t see the need to go OVER them when he could just as easily go AROUND them. So I set up some ground poles at my barn and every time I ride he has to go over them at a walk and a trot. He’s become comfortable with this, so I decided to take him to the next level and actually jump him over something!
I’ve been doing some reading about how to start a horse over fences. Everything I’ve read says to do ground poles first, then crossrails, then real jumps. My barn has crap facilities- no arena to ride in, just a little pasture and a round pen, and certainly nothing as fancy as jumps or crossrails. I wasn’t going to let that stop me. I took two chairs into the round pen, set them opposite each other and laid a ground pole across. Voila! A makeshift jump. Not ideal, but safe enough. If he knocked the pole it would just roll off the chairs. I put him on the lunge line, let him warm up and then brought him to the jump at a trot. He jumped waaaaaaay too high and cleared it easily. He is such an athletic horse and he looked magnificent stretching out over the jump. The next time he knocked the pole off. After that he was a little hesitant, but I bringing him to the jump and encouraging him until he hopped over. He jumped it 3 or 4 times and then I let him quit. He tried hard for me and I love him for it!
I looked into buying some crossrails from Dover Saddlery, but they are quite expensive when you figure in shipping and handling. I couldn’t find anything on Craigslist either. But I did find some plans for building a jump standard at www.lorienstable.com . My neighbor is a woodworker, so I’m going to ask if I can pay him to build me a jump.