There's a funny story that goes with why we started training Copper to jump. Copper is a Western show horse who my mentor recently bought to be a lesson horse. He goes English and Western, but hasn't done any jumping as far as we know. On Sunday, Copper (who is unfortunately very herd-bound, but not when he's working), jumped a four-foot fence to get back to his herd. Seeing him do this, we decided to start jumping him under saddle. I warmed him up trotting over a couple little crossrails before asking him to trot into verticals. I would have cantered him over, but he was still hesitant and not QUITE sure what to do with his feet over the jumps, and I wanted to build up his confidence. The highest we did was a 1'6 vertical, so nothing big at all! But even after a couple tries and about an hour of riding off and on over little crossrails and small verticals, Copper wouldn't JUMP, he just trotted over the fences.
So I have a couple questions. One, how can I get him to jump over instead of trotting over? And how can I get him to have tight knees? I know he had really good knees over the four-foot fence he jumped, but how can I get him to have good knees over smaller jumps? And how can I build up his confidence so he can canter over jumps confidently? Basically, what do I do next with his jumping training?
Cookies to whoever read that whole thing!