I think it's funny that quite a few us here in blogger land have "discovered" an important part of jumping all at the same time, so I'm curious to get everyone else's take on how important flat work is before moving on to over fences work.
Now I'm not just talking about how you go about warming up before you get to your jump school, though it would be fun to touch on that, too. How long do you warm up before moving on to jumping? Are there certain exercises you do on the flat to get your horse using his or her body better? Or do you just coast and put in the bare minimum before moving on to the far more exciting things (Honestly, still sounds like the best option even though I'm trying to do better.)?
What I'm really curious to read about though is how confirmed you feel a horse needs to be on the flat before you really start to jump the big jumps. Is a fairly reliable w/t/c good enough for you to start popping over 3'+? Or do you feel like your horse should be a solid First level horse before jumping more than 2'6"?
Personally I feel like it's a pretty case by case basis. For instance, there are two horses at my barn I'd call green over fences.
One of them is a five year old Morgan who got broke out last year. He's super confident, smart, and naturally well balanced. While he can w/t/c, it's not the prettiest thing in the world, and he gets bored with flatting so quickly that he usually finds something naughty to do to amuse himself. He spends a lot more time jumping because he likes it, and he doesn't even have to try over 3'. Does he need to be more schooled on the flat? Oh hell yes. But it doesn't seem to hinder his jumping ability.
The other one is a 14 year old OTTB that BM bought a couple months ago. He came in with jumping experience, but was so poorly trained, under weight, and incorrectly muscled that it was like restarting him from square one. He absolutely cannot get away with not going correctly on the flat before he moves on to anything more than the 2'-2'3" he schools now. He would literally fall on his face if he tried. He literally falls on his face sometimes just walking around.
Weigh in! I want to see what everyone else thinks!