Originally Posted by Unwoven
Yes and No. O.o
He does move off my leg if he starts to move a way where I don't want him to go. Usually quite well. He'll sometimes drift but I think the reins might be an issue.
I'm not entirely certain what you mean... but it doesn't sound like he has enough
understanding to know what your leg cues are. Can he leg yield? You mentioned when you put your leg on he just starts cantering. He needs to know the difference between a canter cue and a leg yield cue. What I mean by knowing how to move off your leg is that if he starts to drift left? I would close my left leg and he should straighten. He drifts right? And I close my right leg and he straightens. So he is not "allowed" to drift because my leg will stop him and straighten him before he really gets a chance to drift.
About the reins... what kind of bit are you using? I've trained many many western horses to jump and I don't have any head tossers. But then again I don't think I've trained any really upper level western horses that only go on a really loopy rein. Anyways, first thing I do is put a snaffle in their mouth and then teach them to accept contact/submit to pressure. If he's tossing his head he's either not accepting the bit OR he has some teeth issues that are hurting him. Make sure the bit or his teeth aren't the problem first.
The hardest thing for a horse to learn about jumping is where to put his legs. They don't automatically know what to do with their body. My opinion is htat it's best to start off small and KEEP it small, for a while. Let him learn how to jump and where to put his legs and what to do with his body and then raise the fences. If he's unsure over the small stuff he'll either start rushing the bigger stuff or knocking them down (or usually both). That's why gymnastics are so great! Teaches them how to use their body!
And as someone else mentioned, make sure you are giving him the correct cues with your body. Eyes up and forward, etc.