Originally Posted by sempre_cantando
thanks everyone - I'll give that a try. Does anyone know the correct spacing for cantering poles? My mare is 14.1 if that helps.
For a canter pole in front of a jump I usually space it out about 9 feet away for a typical 12 foot strided horse. For a 14.1 horse I'd scoot it in a foot or two depending on his stride. Try it a couple times and scoot it in until she can jump it comfortably.
As far as working on finding a good distance, there are 3 key things to remember! Pace, Line, and Rhythm.
Line- You must keep a straight line towards the jump. Drifting left/right or wiggling to the jump will throw off your distance.
Rhythm- Your horse must stay in a consistent rhythm. Lots of horses tend to slow/speed up slightly in the corner toward the jump, or going away/towards the gate/barn. I personally think most missed distances are from not keeping a steady rhythm.
Pace- Too slow or too fast will ruin a distance. Knowing what the correct pace is, is the hardest to learn, I think! An exercise to work on... space 2 ground poles out about 60 feet apart. Should be 4 strides inbetween for a horse (your pony will be 5 strides). Ride it in a 'normal' canter and see how many strides you get. Then speed her up and try for a 4. Slow her down and try for a 6. Then ride it in a 5 stride again. That will be your pace.