I need some COTHer input. I have noticed in most of the stadium setting photos over jumps my guy's ears are not perked up. They are not pinned back, but he does not have that happy, ears up, expression which he has in Cross Country.
He is not over jumped, I am very careful about that as he is 15 and I do not want any soundness issues. I am a pretty kind and confident rider, so I do not think it is coming from me pissing him off.
And he seems really healthy and happy in general. I am going to have a chiropractor come soon. But usually I can tell when he needs an adjustment and he seems fine.
This is a new thing for him in the past two years.
Is this something new or just the normal for him? (oops, missed the last line, never mind)
There isn't much that event horses like better than galloping around XC, so everything else might just seem "less than" to them.
Also in SJ there is more going on in a smaller space, so that far-seeing, ears-up expression might not suit the horse if he feels he has to be paying attention to you, the next jump, the gate, the timers, etc.
I agree with the horse. I'm rather impartial to the whole stadium thing and would rather be out on XC
It sounds like he is in good care and that you are very attentive to him, which is great! If he's not showing any resistance to the fences (running out, rushing, etc.) I would say he just knows his job and is probably listening to you as Deltawave mentioned it is a smaller space with more going on.
My daughter had a hony like this. We used to laugh at him bc he went around with that 1/2 ear look. If the fence presented any kind of a question to his wise old mind, he'd prick an ear, occasionally 2. While walking a course, our coach would say, "Now pay attention here, this is a 2-ear question." If yours is happy and comfy otherwise, I wouldn't worry. Jack the fences up and see if you get an ear or even 2 to go forward! Hahaa.
Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.
My Arab *will* jump whatever I ask of him. However, if its in an arena he acts like its a huge chore, that he's doing me a huge favor by jumping the silly poles. Take him out of the arena and he'll enthusiastically jump all day long. It's not that he's necessarily mad about jumping in the arena, but he clearly feels its stupid. He'll foxhunt or run cross country and happily jump whatever for hours on end. Not so much in the arena.
We are not eventers, but my mare generally does the relaxed ear thing. It's just her expression. I like to say that the ears (hers are.... generous) help generate lift when held out to the side. She certainly CAN keep them pricked up but it requires a more interesting scene than your average course of fences. ;-)