Hello, my name is Alex and I have a OTTB on newly on lease as a project/adult jumper prospect. She is 7 years old and been off the track for a few years. Her name is Oakley, or Chilean Princess. She has all the potential in the world, but I am hitting some bumps in the road. This mare is the sweetest thing on the ground. I have done some natural horsemanship, and lots of bonding with her on the ground. A month ago we could only walk and trot. At the canter she would get into crow hopping/bucking fits and it would be impossible to canter. But we've worked through that, and now she is flatting sanely. Oakley was already trained to jump by her owner. She was cruising around 2'6 courses at ease until the owner didnt have time to work with her anymore and she has been out of work for a while. I started from the bottom and worked with her over poles, there is no problem there. Then I moved her up to trotting crossrails, once again no problem. As soon as we start to canter courses.. we hit the rut. Some days its not a problem.. but some days she gets dangerous. Often down a line, or to a jump that she is anticipating she will leap in the air crowhopping and bucking at the same time, leaving me completely out of control. Its completely unpredictable and I have no idea how to help her. Often her owner will get on and pretty much tire her out to the point of compliance.. but I don't believe that is the answer. Oakley gets really anxious, I can feel it. So of course I try to stay as calm as I can. But you can tell her brain just shuts down, and it feels as if she is reacting in fear. I can't pin point what the problem is. She isn't scared of the jumps, she free jumps with no problem. Its just the moment she gets in front of a jump with a rider, hell breaks loose. Although, some days she is a perfect angel and there isnt a sight of problem.
I am really looking for outside opinion. No one at my barn can figure it out, and honestly they have all given up on her. But I refuse to. Just because she was abused and needs some work, isnt scaring me away. But I do need help.
99% of the time the problem is ourselves or improper tack. Outside of tack...are you anticipating the jump? Taking a 2-point too soon? Have an unbalanced top heavy 2-point? Lean to far down and close the horses shoulders (thats a big thing I see in the pic)?
These are major things that can make her not want to jump with a rider on. In the pic 2-point is a bit far forward and too straight in the legs to have freedowm of the shoulders and lift for the horse and places all the riders weight on the stirrup bars which radiates right to points behind the wither. Which is making the horse work harder than needed to clear the jump.
Every "hopper" I knew that was a jumper was because of too much pressure & closing of the horses shoulders. They are almost doing it to get you off them. A proper two point brings you off the saddle but not up over the pommel. The below pic is a good example of a proper 2-point. Rider is off the horses shoulders and staying paralle to the horses back.