Hi everyone, new guy here (30 years old). Been riding for about 5 years now. Started with dressage then made my way over to jumping for the past few years.
A horse that I currently ride has been my main horse for about 6 months now. He's an 11 year old Dutch warmblood who used to be in the hunters before my trainer got him a few years ago. He's very heavy on the forehand and very lazy and requires consistent collection, which I don't necessarily mind, but it is a lot of effort.
When we first started together he had a lot of issues we had to work through. He was plagued with constant and sometimes aggressive spooks at the most random things and he would refuse all jumps, even a pole 6 inches off the ground. After much work I eventually got him over jumps but then had to deal with him launching over them like they were a meter high (apparently he really only did this with me). I was ready to throw in the towel many times but decided to stick with him.
Fast forward to now and we've had great progress. His spooks are few and far between and very mild when they do happen. I'm now jumping him nearly 3 feet (not that high very often) and he no longer launches over jumps. Something that still comes up, unfortunately, is refusals. While not nearly as frequently as before, they do happen, especially new jumps we haven't tried before. If I double back and attempt the jump again, he'll go over it with no problem and we're fine for the rest of the lesson as if nothing happened.
His refusals come in two flavors:
1. Stop right before the jump followed by: bolts sideways or spin and run away
2. Deflating a few strides before the jump and drifting to one side (this one is more my fault than his and I'm working on eliminating this one)
I'd like to start showing with him but I don't feel comfortable knowing he's going to refuse a jump. I'd also like continue to higher jumps and even though we've tested nearly a meter, most of our time is spent on lower jumps which is frustrating. It's been a long journey with this horse and he's made me a better horseman and I'm happy that I stuck with him, but I'm not sure how to tackle this issue or if it's just something that I have to accept about him.
Here is us going over some low jumps:
One of the things my trainer says I need to work on is being more aggressive. Not necessarily physically, but mentally/emotionally and to attack the jump with more intent and no hesitation.
Any advice, tips, tricks, etc. is appreciated.