An Experiment in Jumping

The first year I got PJ I had Bridget start him on cross-rails.  My thinking was that it would be good for his brain by giving him something else to do other than drilling the perfect 20-m circle, and good for his body by getting him to use himself differently.  Well, he HATED it.  Not only did he try to refuse and run out (she ended with him doing it), but he pouted for the entire time I was untacking him.  I promised him he would never have to do that again.

I sort-of went back on my word yesterday.  It was such a beautiful day that I decided to ride outside.  In the upper ring were set up poles and baby jumps for Betsy who started her young horse over fences last week.  I thought if she could take her 3-yo over this stuff, I could take PJ.  I started with 4 trot poles in a row with the last one raised.  He crashed through it, and I had to get off and fix it before trying again.  Eventually he sort-of did it – he hit it but didn’t knock that last pole down.  Then I tried a very tiny cross-rail.  He crashed through that too.  I went back to the trot poles and ended on a good note.

Part of his problem is me.  I’m a chicken, so I didn’t feel comfortable trying the mini cross-rail at the canter or raising the fence to something he had to actually jump instead of stumble over.  I also don’t have the education to teach a horse to jump, so maybe I should have set up the poles different or ridden differently.  But I really think that jumping is not for him.  I may try again if I have help to tell me what to do, but I’ll probably just leave PJ a dressage/trail horse, since he’s been doing so well with that.

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