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Franklin Levinson's

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Problems jumping my horse after a fall.

I have a gelding 13yo horse. We have been a very good team at jumping but in one instance we fell together in an obstacle. The wooden poles fell on his feet and he was so scared that he stayed on the ground even though I caressed him and tried to comfort him.

Ever since he refuses to jump with me, he is always upset in every competition, but only with me. If he is ridden by others he is perfect. In exercise he is wonderful and he jumps like a grand prix horse. I do not wish to sell him because I love him so much. What can I do ?

Horses mirror the internal processes of the human that is with them. Probably there is something going on inside of you since that accident that is 'unsure' or 'apprehensive' about going over that fence yourself. This is certainly to be expected after an incident like you have just described. Perhaps try not 'showing' the horse yourself for a little while. Let others ride him so he does not continue to balk at jumps. I suggest you ride another horse for a little while that is basically easy and extremely steady over jumps. This will help you to gain back whatever confidence you may have temporarily lost by way of experiencing the trauma of your fall. Remember to keep your breathing steady, somewhat deep and conscious when riding your horse. If you tense up even a little or hold your breath (very common when jumping and/or doing something competative), this will make your horse anxious and, therefore, somewhat fearful. As not to keep making your horse experience your angst, ride another easy going horse. Let your horse keep schooling with a rider that he does not have issue with at this time. Continue to do a lot on the ground play with your horse. Play games and learn to dance on the ground with your horse (if you are not already doing a lot of that). Your highest level relationship with your horse is really formed on the ground first and foremost. On the ground is where this relationship is best supported right now. It won't take long before you and your horse will be jumping high level again.

Good Luck and please keep me posted.

Sincerely, Franklin

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