About the bolded part.. I've jumped 3 times in my life but I was always told you leave at a spot where the horse is making an even arc from feet leaving the ground to feet going back on the ground. So, is that correct or is it always a the same distance? 6ft seems like a long distance for that jump?
Sorry, I guess I kind of worded that funny. Your horse will not take off 6 feet in front of the ground line unless it's a larger jump. When you're setting a course, you measure 6 feet from the middle of the fence out to be the take off point. So the space of half the jump and groundlines is a good foot if not 2. So the horse would probably be taking off closer to around 4 feet in front of a 2 foot jump. It will also depend on the horse. The "average" horse stride is expected to be 12 feet long. That is what they will set the lines at in a typical hunter class at the A shows. I find that most older horses, school horses, etc are a bit shorter, closer to an 11 foot stride.