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Horse bored with small jumps?

My daughter has been riding for 7 years and eventing for 4 years - we bought a new horse (7 yrs old, WBXTB) 3 months ago who is very smart and talented in dressage and hunter jumping (3'3"), but new to XC. We have schooled him XC and done a couple of shows at Beg Novice. Water/banks are no problem, but he is putting his head down and spooking, running out at 2'6' jumps both XC and stadium, but when he competes in jumper shows and warms up at 3' and above jumps he is confident and keeps his head up. He even took a 3'9" with grace and confidence in a high jump contest. I might mention that he has an immature cataract in left eye from birth. I think we need to go back to basics with XC, take things more slowly to build confidence, but is it crazy to think that this horse is bored with smaller jumps and/or can't see them as well as higher jumps?

HELP! Thanks


I don't think he is bored with the smaller jumps. It certainly could be the result of the cataract finally at a stage to impact his performance. Perhaps he has reached the age where it is actually becomming a problem for him. 'Opinions' from a vet could be very helpful. As horses mature and their bodies undergo the process of aging, things change and this makes a difference (as it does with us humans). I would try to change the schooling a bit in the areas he is having the problem. Consider lungeing him and ground driving over small jumps to help him out. Carrying a rider puts more pressure on the horse. Without a rider he actually may become more relaxed going over the jumps and, eventually, carrying a rider over these jumps won't be a big deal. When a horse shows resistence to something, it is generally out of some fear and/or discomfort. Changing the actual action and/dynamics of what he has to do can really make a big difference in the schooling. Please try my suggestions and let me know how it goes. Thanks a lot for your question.

Sincerely, Franklin

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