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Nic23 07-26-2012 05:14 AM

Horse Spooks at xc jumps
Okay so my horse spooks at xc jumps. My barn has a field with LOTS of jump and he's fine walking back there but if we trot or canter he starts looking at EVERY jump an dodging out away from them even when were not jumping. When we are jumping he refuses a lot. One time I took him to a show and he wouldnt get within 10 feet of the second jump. As for the jumps at the barn, he has absolutley no reason for that stuff, he's 15 and been to the back field a million times and jumped all that stuff. Not really sure how to handle it...somedays are worse than others. When he starts getting looky at a jump and were just doing flatwork I get frustrated and make him look at it and he treats it like he's never seen it and its going to eat him (huffing and sniffing and bouncing around). But when he doesn't look at it he dodges out or tries to run past it and even does the same thing after he's "seen it for the hundredth millionth time" I'm an eventer and love my horse but he's awful at xc an it gets really frustrating as he's done this stuff tons of times. and he has gone clear on xc before..but not usually..advice??

OwnedByAlli 07-26-2012 06:02 AM

Welcome to the forum!

Its strange he will walk but not trot or canter past them. My first instinct is that he's testing you, or has learnt acting scared will get him out of work. How long have you had him? If you haven't had him long he may be testing or is insecure, perhaps one of first few times he went through something happened to convince himspooking at a jump = stopping trot/canter?

New or not, you could try lunging him in the field around, even over, some of the jumps. It gets him trotting/cantering around the jumps, and lunging and ground work is good for building relationships and enforcing your leadership. (If you haven't lunged him before, lung him somewhere safe to make sure he knows what he's doing- some horses never get taught lunging!)
And take him for 'adventures' to new places on hacks and that. If he sees something spooky, ride straight past it. There is a great thread in the training section of this forum on how to train spook free horses . read this, it will help you when schooling around the jumps to try and reduce spooking at them too. When my horse spooks, I ride her straight past it- she should accept my leadership and believe me when I say its ok and nothing to look at.

If he isn't new to you and you have a sound human-boss, horse-follower relationship, can you rule out pain? The trot and canter are more lively paces so the saddle moves around more-does it properly fit him, has he changed shape since it was last fitted? Does he have any sorness along his spine? Run your fingers down either side and see if he squirms or acts like hes in pain. Have you changed bit and it could be less suitable for his mouth? Is there anything that could be causing pain? Get a vet out to check him over if you think he may be in pain, or a saddler to refit his saddle.

As for the refusing, could he be feeling over faced? Did he do 'this stuff' with you or a previous owner? Is he used to jumping that height, that style? Has he built his confidence up over time, and does he have confidence in you when you jump? My horse is only just learning to jump and when she feels insecure about a jump she thinks about refusing or ducking out and needs my firm guidence to tell her its ok. I'm basically saying does he trust you to get him over that jump?

It may also be useful to get an instructor or experienced rider form the barn to come out and watch you ride and give you a lesson/guidence. They will be able to give you an outside view on whats happening and hopefully give you guidence to resolve this issue. Good luck!

Nic23 07-26-2012 06:39 AM

I've had him for about 7 months, yes his old owner had trouble w him and that's why she sold him. I have a trainer and everyone tells me he can do this stuff and he can. I don't think he's doing it to get out of work, as all we usually do is either hack back there or jump xc. He gets so spooky around the larger xc jumps. I haven't been jumping for long and he's gotten away with stuff bc his owner (an older lady) let's him get away with refusals. Still he's seen these jumps like a million times and jumped most of them and yet he acts like they're going to eat him. I tryed to go for a gallop and he was just looking and running away from everything :(
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DancingArabian 07-26-2012 07:52 AM

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Maybe his vision is bad? Going at a slower pace gives him more time to visually check things out.
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Saddlebag 07-26-2012 10:10 AM

When was the last time this horse and another was out for a leisurely trail ride, in new territory? If he's been at this stable a long time and he's seen everything it sounds like he's sour.

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