The behavior spiked when a friend of mine took her jumping. There was one jump in particular she'd hesitate or spook at so my friend put spurs on. She didn't look at anything after that, nor did she hesitate. In fact, the opposite happened: she'd launch herself at things and started getting quick. I got on her and noticed the change, but she'd stop when I asked her to and in the beginning I didn't think of it as something to be wary of. But it got worse pretty quick, in less than a week she was strong jumping. I did a lot of transition work and it seemed to get better, I was at the point where I could make her look normal, but in reality I was sitting VERY deep, maintaining a lot of contact and not letting my legs touch her sides. She's a very sensitive mare, all I have to do is shift my weight to make her speed up, slow down, turn, etc. and if you very lightly cue with your legs, she'll respond. She used to be equally as responsive with upward transitions as she was with downward. Last night I seemed to FINALLY get her back to normal. I was riding with fairly light contact, she was listening nicely to subtle half halts (which when she was doing the rushing, it seemed as though she was deaf to my seat and hands unless they screamed)
I have different methods for the walk than I do from the trot and with the canter. When I came into the arena, she was huffing and puffing, doing that saddlebred "snort" routine, and felt like she just wanted to GO and thats all she was thinking. Her mindset wasn't what is my rider telling me to do but rather I need to go and it was obvious she didn't give a rat's ass about me. So, I walked a little then halted. she spun her backend around, tossed her head and tried to walk on, so I spun her really fast then halted again. I only did this a few times both ways before she was walking perfectly on the rail, head down, listening very nicely. We did more walk/stops and circles before I added the trot.
The trot is usually not much of an issue, I just do circles, diagnol passes, stops, and whatever and she's usually perfect; a little fresh the first lap or so, but after that, no problems whatsoever.
I then add in a crossrail to the exercises. Same trot, stop, circle stuff, but with the occasional little jump. I haven't been focusing on height lately, rather calmness. she did fine so I cantered. This was before the backing came in to my mind, so I was just cantering, circling, and stopping. I added the crossrail into the equation and she took a long spot and about a stride out would quicken. This is a horse that could easily do 2'9" courses in her sleep, she didn't need that pace to get over a crossrail she could walk over. so I kept doing my same trial and error routine for a while before I remembered a video I'd seen at camp probably 7 to 8 years ago. The only thing I remember is some old guy making the horse stop as soon as he got strong towards the fence. How I remembered that I don't know. But I figured timing was key to this, so as to prevent refusing. I also remember reading somewhere about how western pleasure trainers use transitions to slow the canter to a lope. The thing that stuck out to me most was that along with the stop/go transitions, they had backing. So I added that to the stopping when she got strong and it worked magic. at one point, I stopped her a stride away (finally was able to catch her before lift off) and backed her sufficiently away so we could pick up the canter and get over it. With that space, she didn't have time to rush and just hopped over it. Right after the jump, I stopped again, backed, stopped, then continued to the next jump. By the end of our ride, I was riding courses perfectly.
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