Originally Posted by JustDressageIt
Question... why? If she isn't comfortable cantering, why do you want her to jump?
Yes, it was awkward.. but she was trying her heart out for you. But she's obviously not very comfortable with the idea. Why do you need your gaited horse to jump? Some horses just aren't built/bred to do it.
My advice? Well... can she canter? If not, why? Essentially these smaller jumps should just be a higher, longer canter stride.. so if she can't canter, that's the first problem. Can a horse trot in and out of fences? Sure, but it certainly isn't conducive to a nice jump.
Like I said, she was trying her heart out to figure it out, and she seemed to get slightly more used to the idea, which is good - but I'm not sure she's going to be your next jumper, sorry.
Mostly for cross training purposes. She's primarily an endurance horse. I have no hills to train on for mountain rides, so a friend of mine recommended weekly jumping sessions to help build the hind end up. I figured it may work, may not-- but it was worth a try.
So she'll never be a competitive jumper. That was never the goal. But if I am jumping her -- even if I leave it all at home -- I want it to be the best it can be. If that's still pretty bad, I'm okay with that. As long as it's safe for her, and she becomes comfortable with the idea. She gained confidence as the session went on, but as far as safety... She truly isn't a tradition jumping horse. That's an understatement.
Cantering... She can't even canter properly in the pasture. She cross fires 90% of the time, and she never naturally picks up a slow canter. It's always a gallop
. She can sprint (badly) from one of the pasture to another (in a straight line only).
We have two theories on why she "can't canter": She has PSSM (confirmed PSSM; we just don't know if it's related to the canter issue), or she is just hard wired to move laterally and the canter is a diagonal gait. (I've settled on a combination of the two.)
I was also hoping that jumping, since it is a canter stride in the air, would help her "learn to canter."
If all she can do is trot jumps... I'm fine with that. Tell me how to trot jumps excellently, and we'll trot until she is the best she can be.