I can certainly understand getting caught up in being perfect in the hunter ring, trying to protect your distances too much and not riding your best, and feeling like there's less pressure in the jumper ring can certainly help with some of that anxiety. However, I'm betting the problems you have in the hunter ring are similar to the problems in that trip. While the little jumpers are more forgiving of the errors you made, they're still there, and need to be addressed before you move forward in either ring - which I'm sure you'll be able to! :) Your pace was inconsistent, which resulted in you missing at some of the jumps. I don't think the problem is your eye, I think you see a decent distance, but your horse is pulling you past it. Since these jumps were small, you were able to get away with it, but like Oxer said, as the jumps go up, you will need to become more accurate. You had a lucky rub at the in of the combination by your camera person, even over these little jumps, because of the distance in.
For either ring, you should work on improving your horse's adjustability and general ride-ability, so you have more control over his track and pace around the course, and work on maintaining a consistent rhythm in his canter.
Looking at this trip piece by piece, you start out in a nice canter, at a good pace for the size of jump. Until you get a couple strides away from the first fence, it looks like the start to a lovely hunter trip. About three strides out from the first jump, you can see your horse take over a little. He flattens out a touch and tries to move up to the jump. You made a nice turn and were set up for a great jump - but he pulled you past it and you ended up chipping. This is where you need to be able to adjust his canter and keep a rhythm in your head.
You get him back pretty well after the first jump, but your turn to the second jump is a little wide and he begins to change his pace again - resulting in that slightly long distance. That was definitely the only option you had there and it worked out pretty well, but this is a place in the trip where being able to be more accurate in your riding, in being able to dictate track and pace, will help you, in the both the hunters and jumpers. He gets quick up that line and pulls you right to the base of the fence. Here is where you can see that he needs to improve his adjustability - I can see that you were trying to rate him, but he wasn't really taking your input!
He's a touch over the pace for what I'd want for a 2'6 hunter trip after that line (although I don't think it's excessive in the jumpers, where you are), but he stays in that same, forward canter and lets you ride to a great distance to the sailboats. He doesn't change his pace too badly to the blue to yellow combination, but your turn could have been a little more efficient, so you could leave that last stride out and avoid that rub - it stayed up this time, but on shallower cups or a bigger fence, it may not! That deep distance didn't take you quite as far into the line as you needed to be, so you have a long distance out. That's another place where his adjustability comes into play - if you could get him to gently move up earlier in that combination, you would have found the out a little more easily.
You can really see him taking over a couple strides before the next two fences. He didn't look like the longer distance over the out of the blue-to-yellow combination lit him up too much, but then you find a bit of a forward, flowing distance to the next fence, and he really takes over up that long stretch to the dark oxer. Again, I can see where you're trying to rate him - and where he's resisting by bracing and raising his head. You caught a bit of a winger over the dark oxer, because you gave up on your distance a little. You saw a better one than he did! But I think because he didn't respond to you when you asked him to slow down, you said "okay, we can try it your way" and he decided to go for that Hail Mary.
You find the last two jumps quite well, but you can see your horse fighting with you. He's a little more lit up by that stage and is dragging you through the end of the course. You're seeing great distances out of that forward canter, you just need to get him to listen to your input a little better. :)
Overall, I think you have some great moments in there, and some areas for improvement (don't we all!). You might find that you're happier working on those things in the jumper ring, where you feel less pressured, before you move back to the hunters. Or you might decide you love the jumpers - and with a more adjustable, ride-able horse I'm sure you could be successful in either ring!
Last edited by KWPNowner; 07-21-2013 at 07:27 PM.