Free jumping a horse is a great way to not only assess their ability, but also to allow him to work on technique or footwork without the effort of balancing a rider at the same time.
Despite Smitty being jumper-bred on his dam side, I had yet to see him over anything of size. Below 2’6″, he really doesn’t have to put much effort into clearing the fence, and 18″ fences? Well:
So we set up a small grid to see what would happen. Our set up was thus: a ground pole to a cross rail, then 18′ to an ascending oxer.
Smitty was surprisingly relaxed through the whole thing, and it was clear that the final height of roughly 3’7″ (or 3’9″? we didn’t measure) was no big deal. To encourage him to fold his lower legs next time I would like to add a landing pole, and begin to increase the width of the oxer. But overall, I felt like it was an exciting way to see the baby’s potential!