Look mom no hands!


Show jumping was so last season.

So it would seem was walking with all 4 feet on the ground.

We would be spending the best part of the summer going to shows, paying good money to enter classes, getting into the ring and then spinning around and waving at everyone who had so kindly come to watch us.

This happened at the next few outdoor shows, I wondered whether Red just wasn’t suited to local outdoor shows as there was so much hanging around, too many other horses, maybe the spring grass was affecting him, maybe being turned out overnight was affecting him. I was running out of excuses for him and we were leaving every show defeated, deflated and with no fillies even in touching distance. What had happened to my bouncing Tigger?

I decided to try an indoor show at a venue he was very familiar with and had been winning at until his about turn in May.

But –  same thing happened, he was jumping the practice fence OK (not brilliantly but no napping), things were looking up.

He walked round to the entrance, trotted in fine, jumped the first jump OK and then as he came past the gate and was asked to jump away from the gate put the brakes on and went straight up in the air. To say I was disappointed was the understatement of the century. We persevered for a while but he just got himself into his usual frantic, sweaty state and managed to wedge himself up against the gate and I was worried his waving feet were going going to get caught which would put an end to his bounce once and for all!

Yet again we were led away with our tail between our legs. We untacked, loaded and went home in silence and with a heavy heart.

This went on at various venues over the summer until he also started doing it at home, it got to the point where he would not even walk over a pole at home – the vet had been out to do a lameness work up which showed very little & he had been put on a calmer which did very little. We were at a bit of a loss.

I had a couple of more experienced riders school him at home and at other venues to see what they thought – whilst they did get a tune out of him and wouldn’t give in to his tantrums as easily as I do the general consensus was that he was fearful of something – although we couldn’t work out what.

He really didn’t like jumping anymore, I blamed my riding to start with and then wondered if that XC ride had taken him out of his comfort zone (and mine) and we had lost confidence in each other. I wondered if there had been an occasion where he had hurt himself (I couldn’t think of one) and I was constantly worried there was a physical reason he was like this even though teeth, saddle, back, feet were all up to date.

I had always wondered about ulcers since his previous owner said he was very girthy and when we viewed him they held his head tightly so he couldn’t bite (I had unfortunately not been so vigilant on occasions and had a few love bite scars to prove it). I enquired about ulcers and they just said ‘that’s just how he is’ so I didn’t really think anything more of it…until now.


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