I ride a paint, about 16 years old, completely sound and a pretty good boy. Today, I was jumping him at about 2 ft. I have done this plenty of times in the past with no problems. I've taken him to jumping shows, etc, and he's always been great. So today, after the jumps, he kept putting his head way down almost to the ground and he seemed like he was either going to buck or fall down on his front feet. I pulled his head up really fast and stopped him, but was very odd. It happens about a stride or two after the fence. He's never done that before. Here are a couple of factors I'm considering, and I'd love to hear your opinions as well as what I could do to remedy this:
First, I was using a new saddle today. I'd used it once before for jumping, but had no problem. I am wondering if that is pinching him. However, he did not seem sore on the flat at all.
Second, I used to ride him a lot more in the past. Recently, I've only been riding him once or twice a month, and mostly trail rides. Could he be stretching his neck? It didn't seem like bucking cause he is usually an excellent mount and has never bucked before.
Oh, and another consideration (I have no idea if this matters). In the past, he's had shoes on. Right now he's barefoot. Not sore or lame, just barefoot.
Let me know your thoughts!