I'm going to be competing in my first show in a few months time, and I have a few queries about jumping a course.
At the moment, I'm riding a jumping schoolmaster, a lovely little 14.2hh experienced mare who'll take me around a whole course quite happily, automatically picks up the correct canter lead, and almost never refuses/runs out.
But because she's getting older, and I'm getting to about the highest jumps she's allowed to do now in her old age (1.5-2 feet), I won't be riding her in the competition.
I'll be riding a 15.3hh dapple grey Quarab/TB gelding, who's a LITTLE bit green, and the arab in him makes him a little hot. Perfectly fine for dressage and general flatwork, but I don't quite trust him yet to take me around a show jumping course and not end up "eating dirt"!
Here are my questions:
1. How do you pick up the correct canter lead after a jump? He's not trained to do flying changes and I have trouble sitting them sometimes, and I don't want to have to go down to trot and THEN ask for the correct canter lead, 'cause you have to go around the course at the same gait the entire time.
2. What the heck is with all this counting strides business? I've always been told to count the strides aloud as I go, but I'm confused about WHY?
3. How do you know when you're supposed to shorten or lengthen between a fence? I guess this relates to the counting strides issue, but I can't seem to get it. lol
Any and all information you guys have would be appreciated!