I set up a course last night in the ring. I haven't jumped in the ring since C moved to the barn in.. September because it's so much easier for us to just leave a few jumps peppered in the grass around the ring. They aren't in anyone's way, so we don't have to take them down.
I set up a single vertical, a one-stride line, a two-stride line, and a nasty three-stride bending line. The contortion for the bending line was such that I could easily jump either jump without anything being in my way. So, after warming up my fire-breathing dragon, I pointed him at the little cross rail. He locked on, ears pricked, over jumped it and its shadow, and proceeded to buck for half the turn. I chalked this up to his fall friskies, the adventure of jumping in sand, and my guy being an occasional asshole.
And then he proceeded to buck after every jump.
I took him back to the barn, asked if anyone had witnessed his antics (spooking at a leaf, scooting when someone let a buckle hit the metal siding, trying to get the monkey off his back). Unfortunately, no one had. What bits of pride I had from being able to stay in the saddle were almost outweighed by the fact that, you know, my horse was bucking. A lot. I don't care what you say, that shit's scary.
I changed out the memory foam half-pad and the regular saddle pad for his Back on Track Contender II. Mounted, and with an audience this time, took him over a little cavaletti before jumping everything in the ring without the slightest problem. Jerk.
He's told me before when he didn't like the way things felt. I guess we'll be riding in the Contender for a while. Depending on how his back feels tonight, he may just be handwalked (to loosen muscles) and possibly buted and linimented. I did give him a pretty hard massage on Sunday because he is using and building more topline since we met with Koby. Even if it makes things feel better in the long run, that shit still hurts in the short-term. (Ask me how I know... D had to give me a butt massage because I did squats one day and weighted Romanian lunges the next.)