Can An Old Horse Be Taught New Tricks?
I am a 14 year old girl. I show in western only and have done little English. All of my friends ride English so I have done it some [including a 2 1/2 hour trail ride in English tack] Anyways, I'd like to start showing English as well as Western. I can ride in English very well, but I'd also like to start jumping. All of my horses, like me, are Western horses and all but one have never been exposed to jumps except for last night.
Last night I decided to try out my 8 year old 15.2-16 hh mare because she's my most trustworthy mount. She did fine with them. [I started out with ground poles then raised them up to cross rails and such, not on her back, but on the ground lunging her over] After watching her jump I decided that I wanted to keep her western. So I went and grabbed my pony who is 13 years old 14.0 hh. She was my 4-H mount for 2 years and I trust her a lot but she's a bucker. She bites/kicks when saddled [this is a problem that just started last year] She also bites/kicks when I'm trying to get on her. I had my vet check her back, legs, and feet and he said that she is just fine. Her only problem is that she became lame a while back, but that is a thing of the past [we got a new farrier and he fixed it with a different cut on her feet] This mare is my halter pony, so I was a little leery of jumping her, but I trotted her [not on her back, just leading] over ground poles, then up to a cross rail, then [I was using a barrel to hold the poles up] I put one across the barrel. She actually seemed to be enjoying this new exercise. I then tied her up, after getting her a drink from the trough, and got my english saddle. I put the saddle on her and she didn't pin her ears back at all like she does with my western saddle. I then grabbed the girth, she pinned her ears back a little, and then was fine until I started tightening it, when she tried to kick out at me twice. This was nothing unusual for me [yes I do reprimand her for it, but NO, i would NEVER beat any of my horses] So I walked and trotted her once around the pasture [not the big one, it's relatively small and easy to work it] And she seemed fine with this saddle, I didnt have a bridle on her because she does fine just working in her halter and despises the bit [though she works okay in that too] I had my best friend put the poles back down on the ground and I took the mare over them, then I kept raising it as I did before..she did fine and only reared twice and bucked a couple times [not even at the jumps, just random places aroudn the pasture] Other than that, she was an angel and went over the jumps like a pro.
This was both of our first times jumping, but I've been to clinics and such. Her bucking and rearing also aren't like she's trying to hurt me, just showing displeasure. [Her buck is more like a crow hop anyways and sometimes she only kicks out with one leg] But I'm wondering if there's anything I should do to aid her and make things happier for her, or if maybe I shouldn't jump her at all. Please give me your advice? [I give her treats after every ride or training session so she has something to look forward to]