If you were on approach to a Trekhanner, coming down off of a slight decline. What kind of canter would you approach the Trekhanner in?
That's actually a great question that I'd like answered! In the fall I did a pipeopener and there was a coffin/ditch (I can't remember which one exactly, but you understand the concept) at the base of a considerably steep hill, (roughly between 30-40 degrees) and I felt so uncomfortable approaching it! I hate ditches and things in that family on LEVEL ground, so the downhill factor didn't add any fun for me. Jumping over a trekhanner I'm assuming would be similar, but with the added obstacle of the log which would mean that you're horse can't be flat over it which would be even more challenging! I just did a little bit of my own research and found you're supposed to do a "coffin canter" to jumps like these. How easy is that for a horse to go from a gallop to that, and does this take a reasonable amount of training to achieve?
No problem! And for the crazy jumps, I was lucky enough to do all my cross country with an ex-foxhunter, so I lucked out last season. Lena and I also had a great trust bond between us, (so important in my opinion for cross country) so anything I asked her to jump she'd try! I don't think foxhunting has water jumps and things like ditches, so we always had issues with those. My first time cross country schooling we were having a great day to start out and then tried the prelim ditch and that was er... interesting. After a lot of coaxing/encouraging we did it a few times, but be prepared for a lot of uncomfortable jumps is all I can say! This past month I just bought a baby OTTB that's green in every way possible, so I'll be experiencing the training aspect of cross country closer to the spring. Hopefully with the right training and experience we'll be doing novice by the end of the season.
As for practicing before events, some barns have their own courses or mini ones to school on, but pretty much all farms that host events will have days that people are allowed to come and school on their course all day for a small fee. I've also done "pipeopeners" which is basically like structured cross country schooling. (IE, you go with a group and everyone can only jump the jump one time and when everyone's cleared it you move on).