For the past few weeks Buddy has been blowing off our flat work, especially when he knows we're jumping. He isn't bending well, isn't willing to get round, and is ignoring my hand and leg for the most part. I've had some rides in the draw reins, and he's great when there on but as soon as I take them off his head shoots up and he's ignoring me again. I had been thinking he could be sore, but I've been checking his back every time we ride and he's seemed fine. His jumping is great over the bigger fences; over our warm-up stuff he's not trying too hard. Normally when he's sore he'll be pissy jumping and will stop and won't move.
In my lesson this morning it was like riding a giraffe. We were trotting 2' fences and it was like I was fly on his back. His head was up, he was pulling on my hand, not bending and basically saying "Screw you!" Jen was having me spiral in and out on a circle and figure 8ing, picking up fences when he felt good. After 10 frustrating minutes we had a couple decent fences and decided to move on.
The fences went up and we started by schooling a line. I had to really ride him to the first fence and push about down the line to make the 3 and he wanted to get flat and ugly. By this point I was ready to give in. It just felt like we weren't working together and I couldn't get him to listen. Jen made me try one more time and I don't know what worked but we nailed the first fence and the 3 was easy.
After that the rest of the lesson was great. We worked on another line, a 2 stride going downhill that was pretty short and it was just flowed so nicely. From there we schooled three fences, an outside rollback to a diagonal rollback to an outside. The second rollback was pretty tight to an oxer and I buried at the base a couple times but he always jumped it great. It felt so nice!
Jen and I talked as I walked him out about changing bits. We want to try and do lots of long and low, getting him to give. I mentioned to Jen that he'll do the long and low with his western bit, which is a copper short shanked snaffle, about the length of a pelham. He's been in a full cheek slow twist for jumping but we want something with a bit more bite (for now at least) to make him listen on the flat. I'm going to try a pelham with a plain snaffle mouth piece and see how it goes. If the pelham doesn't work then I'll see about riding him in his western bit with the jump tack to see it that works. If that doesn't work then Bud will be in for some boot camp with Jen!