As many of you know I have been collecting photos of horses with ‘all four feet off the ground.’ Which, by the Paint horse jumping highway, has been a really fun project (thanks for sending them all).

I noticed under this photo the following comment: “That looks too high and a little fake. What would you have to do to make a horse jump like that?”

The comment got me thinking.

What makes horses jump higher: joy or fear? In this discussion I am talking about horses that are turned loose or maybe being lead…I am talking about horses spontaneously leaping.

I have seen more horses spring straight up in the air out of joy rather than out of fear.

In a fear situation more horses tend to crouch down or explode in a direction; more of a flight response. Jumping straight up is just silly. It is not useful for fighting either. Knowing this may be why these photos make me laugh. They do look a bit like horse balloons!

Take a look at the series of photos I took of a particularly fresh young stallion that I turned out one day. The jump makes more sense when you see the rest of the series.

Horse springing like a cat!

Horse springing like a cat!

Horse preparing for a huge buck.
Horse preparing for a huge buck.

Horse frozen in time during  a play jump straight up.

Horse frozen in time during a play jump straight up.

Horse looking all innocent after playing hard.

Horse looking all innocent after playing hard.