Sudden backing up when approaching a jump - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 08-19-2014, 08:02 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2014
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Sudden backing up when approaching a jump


I have a work-for-riding arrangement at a local barn and I really like the horse I work with. However, I only get him once a week. I am told he "knows how to jump," although the other rider who half leases doesn't jump much and lets him get away with it if he doesn't want to. We're talking popping over tiny logs and tiny crossrails, that's all.

Basically, about 30% of the time (usually in the beginning of our session) he pops over these little fences without batting an eye. He feels great, like he knows what he's doing, nice and relaxed.

But the rest of the time, as soon as he even THINKS we might be approaching a fence, he will suddenly start backing up violently. This might be well away from the fence, or even sometimes when We are just passing near one and he thinks we're going to go over, even if it wasn't my plan.

The two ways I've dealt with the problem are by popping up with a crop and insisting he go over, which can be quite a struggle and usually involves circling a few times. OR, when he starts to back up, I make him keep backing up alllll the way across the field so he realizes if he starts doing that it's going to mean more work of walking backwards for a long time. I always make sure to get him over it in the end, but it's often quite a struggle. The other ladies who ride with me have watched and say I'm not catching him in the mouth or hitting his back, or otherwise doing anything that might make him suddenly change his mind about jumping mid session.

Any idea why he jumps so nice the first couple of times, and then suddenly acts like he hates it after that?

And any other strategies for getting him to be more consistent? I know probably part of the problem is that I only ride him once a week, and I can't control what the other rider does, but surely there is something I can work on.

SarahAl88 is offline  
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post #2 of 5 Old 08-19-2014, 08:38 AM
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Something could be causing him pain when he lands from a jump so he's refusing. Could also be a bad saddle fit. I would have him checked out for physic problems first.
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post #3 of 5 Old 08-19-2014, 11:20 AM
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Starting well then stopping sounds like a pain issue, saddle fit, sore joints, banging in the mouth.

Unfortunately once a week probably won't be enough to change te behaviour
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Prinella is offline  
post #4 of 5 Old 08-19-2014, 01:15 PM Thread Starter
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Re: refusals/ backing up/ pain

Thanks for the replies. Pain was my first thought too, which is why I asked others to watch and make sure I wasn't hurting him. However, for other sources of pain, I imagine he would need to be evaluated by a vet? Since he isn't my horse, I'm not really in a position to arrange that. Is there anything I can do to test to see if that might be the problem?

Could I investigate the saddle fit issue by riding him in another saddle or bareback and see if the jumping issue improves? I'm fine to take him over small cross rails with just a bareback pad, but in the past I usually use the saddle if I plan to do any jumping.
SarahAl88 is offline  
post #5 of 5 Old 08-19-2014, 03:52 PM
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You can try testing the horse for back pain yourself. Here's a YouTube video that I think talks about how to do some tests yourself (I can't watch it with sound right now)

Jumping/riding with a bareback pad may or may not be helpful. If he's sore from a poorly fitted saddle then his back may still hurt for a while even after its use is discontinued, especially if he's been ridden in it for a long time. If it is the saddle causing pain, then bodywork (chiro/acupuncture/massage) can help alleviate the soreness faster, but since he's not your horse...

“The horse is a mirror to your soul. Sometimes you might not like what you see. Sometimes you will.” - Buck Brannaman
"Nothing forced can ever be beautiful." - Xenophon
verona1016 is offline  

backing , jumping , refusals

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