Rodney’s Week: Jumping & After

Rodney has issues with jumping.

Day 1
Rodney was a star.

Our round pen is a 20m circle made from simple jump standards and plastic tape. Rodney motors around happily. He’ll even throw the occasional fuss without challenging the tape. If he freaks out and runs thru the tape, oh well.

We do not to use Famous Name Branded Method Round Pen (TM) tactics. Just voice commands and hands-free lunging. Someone has clearly taught him this.

We had jumped him a few times before in the round pen: a jump in the middle, a cavelletto on the rail. No biggie. On this day, we put the jump on the rail. One standard outside the ring, one standard inside the pen, a pole across the path of the circle. To prevent confusion, the standards were different than the ones used to build the ring.

He could not have been better. He went over the pole on the ground or a low, low jump every time: walk, trot, and canter. He would come into the middle for pats (he does this) and then leave the middle to head directly for the jump.

Either he actively likes to jump or he knows that it’s his job and he is willing to do it. Either way, happy rider.

Day 2
Rodney was all over the place.

These barrel standards are heavy, so I had removed the pole but left the standards in place. Rodney just had to pass through them. No jump. No pole.

He was a mess. He refused to walk the circle – something he’s done easily from day 1 of round pen. He’d stop. If we got after him, he’d buck and fuss and run off. He’d dash over to the jump standard inside the pen and start grazing. Tearing at grass is his displacement activity when he becomes stressed.

He thought he was going to have to jump again.

It took two of us – one in the center, one walking next to him – to get him walking quietly around the rail. Afterwards he was exhausted, despite doing far less physical work.

Take Away
He will jump, but it makes him crazy. Sigh. As I have said before [Weekend Report], I may not understand his demons, but they are real to him.

Categories: Groundwork, Horse Behavior, Horses

1 reply »

  1. I don’t know that I would take that interpretation away. Especially based on his day 1 behavior. You changed something. His behavior changed. I would examine that before I would say he acted differently because he thought he was going to have to jump again. The picture changed. We don’t see things the same way that animals do. Change the picture back to *exactly* how it was day 1. Then see how he acts. And when I say exactly, I’d ask where did you put the pole you removed? Did anything else change? Think about pictures. Think Temple Grandin and that animals see in pictures and most of us see in words. LMK 🙂

%d bloggers like this: