I am training a medium pony this winter using a fairly small indoor (50 x 110). The shows we are hitting have nice large rings (100+ x 250+). The pony had no trouble hitting the striding at the one show we have gone to, but if I try and set the same distances in our ring, she struggles and reaches. Question is, should I keep setting the longer distances at home, hoping that she will open her stride, or should I shorten the home striding and not worry about her struggling when we get in the bigger ring? Thanks for the feedback
Well, you should be schooling the med pony distance if that's what she's showing in. I don't recall the actual stride linegth off the top of my head, but it's here in the forum, and in the USEF rulebook.
Furthermore, if are showing in an open class where the lines are set for horses, you should be adding like two strides in every line so that you are not teaching the pony to run.
My indoor arena is only 60 x160, and the longest line I can build is a 4 stride line at 72 feet. That is for my horses, my medium school pony will do 6 or more strides depending on which child is riding her. We spend most of our winter doing singles, gymnastics and other tight space friendly excercises.
Great question. I would give the pony a bit of margin at home, not sure how much! I would give her some margin for being in a small indoors, as well as some for being at home. In other words, it will probably want to naturally lengthen when it is away at a show and in a larger arena. Maybe an expert will come on and agree with me and have a suggestion how much you can get away with shortening your lines.
As the owner of two not-huge strided horses, I work a LOT on my on-course canter. I set up two poles spaced about four strides apart for the canter I want, and my canter work includes the poles. I also use gymnastics and trot-in exercises to make sure they are landing and cantering smartly away.
I wouldn't set the actual medium pony distances in a smaller arena. It's going to be impossible to get her going enough to make it down the lines and she'll end up running. If you haven't had any problems making it up the lines at the shows, then she should open up her step naturally when she gets into a bigger arena. I know it's disconcerting to feel like you're not practicing it like it's really going to be at a show, but there are so many things to work on in the wintertime beyond regular set lines, like gymnastics, or turns and trot jumps (things likely to come up in handy rounds). And as always, great flatwork is the key to great jumping. As an alternative, could you occasionally ship out to a larger indoor so she can practice the real medium pony striding?
Trying to set too open a stride in a small arena can encourage some bad jumping habits-like gunning into a line, chasing them out of it and some weird things going on with the bascule/arc over the fence when they are thundering down a line right into the wall-not to mention careeening around the corners 2 strides after landing with a full head of steam (usually you can add cross cantering to that lovely picture). Especially with the average rider or kid on a Pony.
Always remember it's HUNTERS and you are schooling to develop a nice jump and you need to invite them to be good-not trap them into mistakes that can get bad habits started and rattle rider confidence.
Sooooo...give the fact you don't want to overschool courses anyway? Break it up into the pieces and parts that make up a good course.
My trainers have always used alot of the old "do it in 3, do it in 4, do it in 5, now do it in 3" over just 2 fences on the long side or, even better, on the centerline where you have to steer. If you can master the adjustability on that? You can take it onto any course.
Set short if you do build lines in a small ring and, sometimes, the add is your friend. Learn and/or teach when it is a good choice and teach that Pony and kid rider to adjust.
It is posssible, even with Ponies and kids.
When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.
Dont try to set real outdoor lines - the pony will never get down them and if they do it will be ugly and non beneficial. If you want to practice the pace, do it over 2 singles on the diagonal, and then maybe set a 3 stride at 38-39.5 ft? to practice a line. I think that's reasonable. That's setting on an 9.5-10 ft stride. At the shows it will be set on an 10.5 ft stride.
In a bigger indoor than yours - 160 ft long by 55 wide, I set my lines on about an 11 ft stride, sometimes 10.5 for my larges, and the normal is 11.5.
I would however, practice a very close to normal in and out.