A: Though your mare may be protesting her flatwork, no horse can learn to jump well without it. Your job is to keep the flatwork interesting, and you can do that by incorporating some jumping elements into your routine. First, however, you have to take a good look at your riding. Although you seem to be diligent about pushing her forward with your leg aids, even to the point of reinforcing your leg with a crop, look to your hands as the problem here. Do you soften your contact with her mouth as a reward when she does go forward? Or are you holding on to her mouth all the time, so she feels constantly restrained? Are you using too strong a bit? When you get frustrated, do you resort to jerking on her mouth? Each of these could be making your mare confused and resentful.
Before you come to your own conclusions, ask a community riding instructor or an experienced, knowledgeable friend to watch you ride and give you an objective evaluation. Then, once you’ve addressed these issues, meld your flatwork with your jumping. Lay ground poles around your arena and trot and canter over them. While you’re cantering circles as part of your flatwork, cruise over a low, simple jump and then continue around the arena. Finally, don’t misinterpret your mare’s “forward” mindset over jumps for enthusiasm. She could be rushing over the jumps due to anxiety and fear. However, if you keep your requests clear, reward her good behavior, and keep your flatwork interesting by infusing it with jumping concepts, you should see a change in your mare’s attitude.