So I was thinking about how to make XC type obstacles in the ring. One idea was taking a painter's dropcloth or something and painting it to look like a stack of wood or a stone wall or something and drape it over a regular old oxer. But then I wondered about safety--mostly if the horse hits and knocks it down and then thinks that solid looking fences aren't actually solid and gets sloppy over a solid obstacle and flips.
Thoughts? What are good ways to simulate XC questions without an XC course?
We made a coffin using our liverpool as the ditch element. If you don't have a liverpool, rubber mats wrapped in a tarp works really well.
We also made a corner fence and used a short standard on the corner part so that it rode more like a real xc corner, without a standard acting like a guide. Using planks instead of rails gives it a more solid appearance.
At one barn I rode at the arena fence actually had real xc jumps as a part of it so we could jump in and out of the ring.
Liverpools or tarps are very multi-faceted. We not only use them to introduce the ditch concept, coffins, and trakhners, but you can put them out in front of a show jump gate or a solid looking vertical and have an instant ditch and wall.
We have certainly thrown tarps over rails and made "coops" out of them. Usually, they jump so big, you don't have to worry too much about them getting hung up, but I doubt they would, anyway.
The best xc "question" I've ever had built for me was in preparation for a big drop to a skinny on a prelim course. The boss built a rather huge oxer out in the grass at the crest of a little hill (so the backside was lower than the take off) and then built a skinny a few strides after. THAT was tough, and really simulated the feeling of jumping off a BIG drop and having to get to a skinny afterward.
Also, there is an event here that has a shiny silver spaceship on course. Since its not anywhere near your usual xc fence, I will be buying tons of silver presentation paper and taping it all over everything in the shape of cylinders. Someone tried tin foil last year but it was too fragile and made a scary noise in the slightest breeze so ended up causing more problems than anything.
I'm NO expert, but here's some fun stuff we've used: Cheap Fake Ficus trees to simulate brush. Tires. Large wooden spool from electric company, makes a great skinny. Corner made (standards on one side, barrel on the skinny side) with rails with a Tarp over it. Jump in & out of the ring, great light / dark exercise. Christmas garland draped over rails. Yellow tarp under an oxer. Single barrels lined up as a combination, talk about good steering exercise!
We've made corners from standards and poles, used tarps under oxers for water, and those fake Christmas trees on the sides. My favorite one is definitely the super tall fake grass that we have! Put it under a vertical and it's the perfect way to practice brushing through.
"Red on the right, white on the left, insanity in the middle."
Similar to YB - a few years ago when I was a working student, a bunch of us were preparing for one of the tougher prelims in the area. My trainer said the hardest combo on the course was a large stone wall that you had to angle and then four strides to a skinny "T" jump that was into space - the ground sloped off steeply away from the jump on the landing side. So one day, we were schooling in the outdoor, which happened to be raised up from the surrounding surface, meaning the grass on the side of the arena sloped up to the edge. My trainer put a large square oxer in the middle of the arena, and then, right on the edge of the arena, before the drop off, she placed a trash can with a flower box on top to simulate the skinny "T" into space. I think the horses were more shocked about being asked to jump out of the arena than anything else, but we all did it. We were then pretty bummed when we got to the event a couple of weeks later and come XC day, it was raining so hard that they took that combo off the course. I got do do it the next year, though, and I remember thinking it would have been the hardest jump on the course, but I had already practiced it and knew I could do it!