I'm working with a horse currently that will only canter a ground pole if your distance is perfect. Said horse competes over 3'6" courses and wins, and will take any distance, but not to a ground pole. Anyone know what could cause this or could fix it? Any time your not spot on with a distance to a ground pole, he'll break to a trot and run over it despite any sort of pushing leg, but then precede to canter the second one as if nothing happened. Is this fixable or just rider error?
I used to have a horse like that. He was my junior jumper who could jump from anywhere. Lots of leg in front of the pole to keep him from doing that.. The horse your describing needs to have more respect for the leg and be more adjustable. Perhaps not just the horse's fault, but also the rider. If you're dead missing to ground poles and don't realize you're about to dead miss and don't back it up with leg and adjust the horse appropriately, he's probably going to trot because it's easier.
I liked to ride by big lazy warmblood jumper with a dressage whip.. hacking and jumping. If he didn't respond to my leg, whether in front of a jump at a tight distance, or in front of a pole, or even flatting, I could give him a little flick with the whip, and not have to take my hand of the reins to use a crop, to keep him sharp. Nothing is scarier than having to kick a big lazy horse up to a 4'6" oxer.
Edited to add: be prepared for an overreaction from the dressage whip of you don't typically use one. It took a while for my horse not to be offended by a small flick and literally jump off the ground. If they can learn to take it well and not get worked up about it, it's a very effective training tool.
Nothing is scarier than having to kick a big lazy horse up to a 4'6" oxer.
I hear that!
I've had to do the same with a Hanoverian I leased all this summer. He never got hot, was always a very nice ride and the most well-mannered horse I've met thus far. I carried a dressage whip for schooling flat and o/f, and a bat and wore spurs at shows. He liked to stop if we didn't carry enough pace.. I sure learned quick!
"You either go to the hospital or you get back on! Hospital or on!"