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Trainer's Tip - Kristen Bumpus

Kristen Bumpus, Head Trainer at Arrowhead Farm, Concord Mass, owned by Martha Mattison Curran. Kristen is an“A” Circuit trainer and competitor for Show Hunters and Jumpers. Her clients continue to win numerous National “A” Hunter/Jumper Shows including Junior and Adult Medal Finals. As a national competitor Kristen has won numerous hunter Derby’s and currently is competing and placing at the Grand Prix Jumper Level.

Question: When training your show hunters and jumpers on a daily basis, how do you know when to end the session for the day? What are some of the general guidelines you follow and recommend?

Answer from Kristen:

Here are some of the general guidelines I use:

1. If the horse has done the job correctly 2-3 times, then I don’t do the job over and over in the same training session because the more one tries to do something with the horse, the more likely something may go wrong and then you have to correct the problem and it may evolve into a bigger ordeal than necessary. Then the horse gets tired and the rider gets tired and it may end on a bad note…. What was done correctly in 2-3 times, if over done, can become more of a problem than a correction.

2. During the training, if the horse gets a little bit better, then I stop. I am satisfied with a 5% improvement in a good training session rather than looking for 100%. A lot of problems with overwork is that people tend to look for 100% rather than working on the improvement in small progressive increments.

3. I work to end on a positive note. If I like what they have learned or done in twenty minutes I stop, even if I feel they could have been ridden more. The next time I ride them, I do something easier, making it easier mentally, but I ride them longer for the physical fitness and conditioning.

4. Make sure your horse is not tired when you are teaching them something new or correcting a problem. If they are tired mentally, or physically, it is difficult for them to learn. I do not wait for the horse to be so tired that learning can be interrupted and problems may develop.


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