05-23-2013, 01:07 PM
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Jumping a horse is such a rush that you want to go higher fast. Really, jumping a course is more about riding your horse obediently from one jump to the next. SERIOUS hunters/jumpers are schooled ad nauseum on the flat so that the rider can make split second decisions at a show or 3-day to turn sharp and cut the time, or to add or subtract a stride. WithOUT extensive flat schooling your horse doesn't have the confidence he needs to handle jumps he has never seen and trust your decisions that these are safe.
THEREFORE, I'd stay at your current height for the WHOLE SUMMER. You already said your horse isn't completely comfortable with what you are doing.
When you train a hunter/jumper, one exercise is to jump verticals from the walk or from the halt. You constantly teach new skills using smaller jumps. Often the jumping course itself is taught using just poles on the ground--secured.
HEIGHT is not the issue. SCOPE is. Every horse should be trained to jump an 18" tall cavaletti, IMO bc most of us like to trail ride and will encounter small obstacles. You don't want to risk your horse's fear of a log on a trail when there is no way around it. HOWEVER, some horses have scope and can carry you comfortably over obstacles. The other horses don't have scope. When you jump THEM, you are thrown about on the landing.
Just some food for thought...