In reply to Kathryn's question of why trot jumps, especially if the horse is more relaxed cantering them. 

I always go the path of least resistance with a young horse, as long as your on track to your goal, which in this case is actually cantering jumps. You're lucky to have a horse with a nice canter and can already feel like you can get a decent distance to a jump at the canter. 

We trot jumps on youngsters a lot for the following reasons: 

  • It's often easier to get to the base at the trot. They're less likely to lunge from a long spot, which is a difficult habit to overcome once they figure it out. 
  • Most green horses don't canter in enough balance for us to be able to adjust their stride well coming to a jump, especially if the jump is unfamiliar and they are tense. Again, trotting gets us to the base. 
  • A lot of youngsters jump off their forehands at first, but we want them to sit back and jump off their haunches. Trotting encourages this, especially with the help of a placing pole 8 or 9 feet in front of the jump, and a jump with enough height that they have to make some effort. 
  • Some horses get tense and want to get over and past the jump as quickly as possible. It's easier to deal with at the trot than canter. They need to learn that waiting is actually to their benefit. 

But some horses don't have these problems and find that cantering jumps is easier, more relaxed, and more fun. Once your guy has cantered enough jumps that he has no issues or fear, you should be able to get him to wait and trot all the way to the base when you want to.