I have a friend who's leasing a 20 year old mare, Rafiki, she's fit as anything and I believe she used to be a showjumper.
I rode with her in the arena today, with my horse and we did some X Poles. My friend is quite a nervous rider, and tends to hold Rafiki back constantly when she is jumping, trying to slow her down - as a result this horse as begun to refuse, so now my friend is even more terrified!
Michelle was nervous and asked me to jump Rafiki before her, as the last time she jumped her she refused almost every jump. I hoped on and took her over the X Pole - no refusal! This horse has a naturally enthusiastic and fast paced jump, which I let her do. Rather then then tensing up and always pulling her back, and sat deep, let her do her thing, looked UP over the jump and most importantly gave CREST RELEASE - yes Rafiki burst over the jump, which makes Michelle Nervous, but the horse was much more comfortable and happy, and no refusing.
After I explained all this to Michelle, and after she had done a few jumps on Candy (my horse) she got back on Rafiki, put her hands forward, and had a blast! Not one refusal the entire ride, and she got used to Rafiki's enthusiasm and rather jabbing on her mouth all the time, rode her through it and became much more confident and happy :)
All in all, a successful ride for both Michelle and Rafiki!