You have to stop blaming your horse for the refusals, ducking out and fear - this is rider error and something that you need to take a step back and ask what it is that you are doing, or not doing, that is causing the issues at hand.
As Ian Millar says "A good rider blames themselves, a poor rider blames their horse"
As Gypsie said, horses jump blindly, they cannot see the fence at all when they are about 5 strides out. If you, the rider does anything - meaning dropping, looking at the fence, stop being supportive through your legs, core, upper body - anything, will cause the horse to say "woah, ok, what's going on? Something is wrong here, if she's not coming with me, I'm not going either".
There are 2 types of horses, horses who need their riders support to the fence, and horses who just do their job regardless of what their rider does or does not do on approach to the fence.
Sounds like your horse, is horse #1, a horse who needs the riders support, and solidity on approach and between the fences. You need to make sure you are solid through your body, and supportive through your body to help your horse do his job properly.
So the question is, what is it that you should/could be doing while on your horses back, or are doing, that is causing the outcome you are getting? I doubt it has to do with letting him see and sniff the fences - it sounds like he is being over faced too quickly and pushed too quickly to do the job at hand.
Go back to basics with him. Lots of dressage, lots of lateral work, lots of bending, circles, transitions. Trot pole work. Getting him off of his forehand, and onto his back end.
Learn how to be an effective rider, learning how to use yourself and your body to help your horse do his job accordingly. Learn position, aids, tall body, solid legs, etc, etc, etc.
A rushy horse not only has to do with the fact that the horse is scared and scrambling, but also because he is heavy on his forehand pulling himself around, instead of pushing himself around. Unbalanced. Not using himself properly, rider not using themselves accordingly.
This is a team effort :)
Go back to basics. Take one day at a time, slowly - ensuring that you, who is his rider and trainer, makes sure that the both of you are doing your jobs, to build confidence, solidity and security and balance. Dressage is very important to help build a balanced, engaged, mount who is light to your aids. Building confidence starts there.
If you have video footage, that would greatly help to beable to see what exactly is going on.
I wish you both all the best.
Last edited by MIEventer; 03-03-2011 at 11:47 AM.