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Crosspost: bucking and crow-hopping after fences (sorry, long)

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  • Crosspost: bucking and crow-hopping after fences (sorry, long)

    I have a WB gelding that loves to jump. He will even jump on his own if he is loose in the arena (and he'll jump anything when he does this - 4 ft oxers with no free jumping chute, single chairs, mounting blocks, a pile of disassembled jumps, a single cone, a dog bed etc). He is very talented, too, but he is a bit of a character. Even when we free-jump him, he will throw in an occasional buck followed by several crow-hops after a fence that he is particularly proud of himself on. Kind of a look-what-I-just-did 'touchdown' dance. Sometimes he does this when he's being lunged, too (without jumps), I think it's just his 'I feel good' party thing.

    I must admit that this is kind of cute in the cases above, BUT... he has decided to add that behavior under saddle now that we've moved beyond trotting little x's! He'll go over our trot warm-up fences fine (and even canter a few like a gentleman once they are verticals and small oxers), but then he'll start getting excited. He gets a bit quicker and will over jump, then he'll land with an immediate series of HUGE multiple crow-hops and sometimes a big buck followed by the crow-hops. He'll even do this after a gymnastic line.

    It doesn't feel like he's sore (he has regular chiro and a custom saddle that was recently fitted to him), it just feels like he gets excited and thinks this is a great way to celebrate after jumps. He was a bottle-fed orphan and has had several other "you need to learn where the boundaries are" and "people don't think it's fun to do that" moments, both on the ground and under saddle in the past, but we've been able to work through them so far. We've taken a long time working on a solid flatwork foundation because of this, and once we started jumping, we stuck to small x's for a long time, trying to get jumping to become more 'boring' to him. He's definitely the type that will push, and once he tries something and gets away with it, you have to find a way to shut him down fast and be very consistant with your corrections until he gives up.

    Anyway, I've tried immediately stopping him and backing him up after landings that have gotten 'exciting', I've tried just riding it through and continuing on, and I've tried taking him for several laps at a hand gallop until he asks to slow down as a response. I also really praise him when he decides to be good on landing instead of doing his stunts. All of these methods seem to work for a time or 2, but then he'll pull it again a few jumps later. I know we'll get through this and he'll be brilliant once I've got his number, but for now I'm a bit stumped as far as what is the best way to get the message across to him that this is not acceptable.

    Has anyone else had issues like this? If so, I'd love to hear what worked for you. TIA!
    Work - feed - ride - shovel poop - repeat.

  • #2
    How about wolloping him for it? Sorry, but it's not like you haven't tried being nice. Sounds like he just thinks he is being funny and isn't paying enough attention to you to realize that you aren't amused too.
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