Last year, I started jumping my then 7 year old OTTB. He was into it, but I was having trouble finding my balance, compromising his, and produced a dirty stopper. Fast forward one year, my balance is back, the dirty stopper is long gone and we're starting to hit our groove. Due to the insanely hot summer, all we did the past 3 months was play around in the hay fields and trail ride in the woods. The result is an overly muscled monster. Thank goodness this horse does not have a mean bone in his body. Over the weekend we did a hunter pace. To say he was bold to the jumps was an understatement. He thought he was freakin Seabiscuit and jumped everything in sight like he'd been doing it all along. My trainer who was in part of our team was very impressed with how well he was using himself.
The reason for this post is that I need to stay a step ahead of this horse. He's extremely smart and knows the second that mommy isn't quite sure of what to do up there. On Saturday, he got himself on a jumping high about half way through the pace. I had to skip some jumps until he calmed down and then was able to jump and skip jumps as necessary to keep him under control. A few times when we were cantering along, he attempted tried to break into a gallop. I kept my cool, kept my contact supple and soft, and just sat back until he came back to me. While it worked, I'm concerned that, if he gets 5% more opinionated, a really big buck might be coming. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to work with my newly forward horse before it becomes an actual problem?