Monday, June 13, 2011

The Coop Is Thine Enemy

Or so seems to believe Sparky *wry face*

Le sigh. I'm having some issues figuring out my horse. He randomly stops at jumps - not quite in a "dirty stopper" fashion - but stops nonetheless, and I can't figure it out. More or less on a whim, he went on a field trip to the chiropractor. I figured it wouldn't hurt, might help, and would at least give me a gauge of whether I needed to have the vet out for something more serious. He was in some pain upon palpation, but show marked improvement post-adjustment. For good measure, I also waited until he had front shoes back on before riding him again.

A few days after Sparky had his front shoes replaced (which was a few days after being chiropracted), I rode him. His flatwork was quite nice... I could tell by his willingness to stretch over his back that he was feeling more comfortable than he had previously. I had decided that we were going to do a little jumping, just to see where we were. I had set the jumps accordingly: one at 2', one at 2'3", one at 2'6", and the coop at 2'.

I decided to start with the coop. Sparky was plenty well warmed up, and has jumped the coop several times, so it seemed it wouldn't be an issue. Indeed, as we approached the jump, Sparky became quite bold and took me to the jump - and ducked out to the left at the very last second. I'm pretty sure he actually picked up his front feet as if to go over, because just like at Conyers, I ended up somewhere around his ears. Only this time, I didn't manage to stay on, and went over, doing a backwards somersault and landing pretty much under his feet. I'm still not sure how he managed to avoid stepping on me.

I was okay, so I got back up, smacked my little asshole's shoulder, remounted, and we came again. He ducked out again, but I was a bit more ready this time, and stayed where I belonged - that is, in the saddle. I shortened my reins even more, and we approached for the third time. He went over beautifully. We did that a few more times, then moved on to the other jumps.

The other jumps were all basic verticals constructed of regular stadium jumps. He never peeked at any of them - not even the 2'6" vertical, which I trotted him to at a very controlled pace, as I was expecting him to stop. Off that trot with next-to-no-impulsion, he hopped right over the 2'6" vertical like it was no big deal!

He finished the day beautifully, but I'm still a bit discouraged. He shouldn't be in pain, he's definitely not overfaced, and it's not like I'm some terrible rider who punishes him in the air, committing one of the George's "cardinal sins." So I don't quite know what's going on. Is Sparky still expecting to feel pain? Does he just really not like cross-country type jumps? Is he scared? Is he just being an asshole and trying to challenge me?

I really am just not getting it. Input appreciated.

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