When in doubt, I prefer to get close as opposed to taking a long one. I also think that the type of fence you're jumping should be taken into account. I REALLY hate seeing a long one to an oxer!! So in my opinion, getting a little close is always the safer option.
Well IMOH getting to close with no support (Chip or Chocolate Chip if it is very bad) you & your horse will probably survive and live to jump other day. On the other hand, if you leave long you and your horse may land in the middle and crash (not pretty if you have ever witnessed it). So if there if a big doubt, I say add the stride (hopefully with rider support so it is not a big chip). Still a big deduction in the hunter ring any higher than Short Stirrup.
I think it totally depends on your horse and how comfortable you are with them/know them. On my personal horse I have to leave out or else it turns into a disaster but if I'm on an unknown horse I will add (even if I prefer to leave out) just to be on the safe side. I think that should be a rule of thumb unless you really know what you're doing (aka a pro)! I've seen some people ride my mare during swap rides and she leaves long and they have no idea what to do and she gets slammed down on/yanked in the mouth. Even if they know she does it!
I think it totally depends on your horse and how comfortable you are with them/know them.
This right here. On my mare, her chips make me feel like we're going to die, and they're not graceful in the slightest-it's a good gasping chip. Then again, we don't do gigantic solid jumps either, which makes a bit of a difference.
Most other horses, especially ones that I don't know well, I'd much rather go for a chip.
I like mares. They remind me of myself: stubborn know-it-alls who only acknowledge you if you have food. Titania: 50% horse, 50% hippo
Unforgetable: torn between jumping and nap time, bad speller
It depends on the horse (scopey or not, big stride or little stride, etc.).
It depends on the distance. A little long is always better than a lot short and a little short is always better than a lot long.
It depends on the jump. Short to a triple bar is far better than long. Short to a big square oxer might be more difficult for the horse than long. And so on. Though this all still depends on the horse. It also depends on what's in front of you on course. Galloping for a long spot into a super short combination is not going to be a life-affirming moment.
I think the real choice comes down to "when in doubt....." either "compress your horse's step to make them bouncier and collected" or "gallop forward and establish a good strong rhythm." And I think that's unrelated to the actual jump. If you're relying on finding the distance for the horse and you're routinely missing (i.e. causing a chip or a dive) you'll eventually create a stopper. If you're unsure about distances and let the horse sort it out (by only focusing on quality of canter) you'll have an equal partner who doesn't blame you for the bad jumps.
Generally, if you have to run like a bat outta he!! to get there, there is a better option. Clearly there are exceptions, like the final line in the Priesident's cup or running for gold in the olympics but most of the time, the run and launch is going to leave you in far less control on the other side of the jump. That is where you find trouble.
Far too many riders (including me for many years) were fearful that the "short spot" was a "mistake" and always want to jump the gap. It isn't an easy lesson but it's worth learning to ride to the base. Riding to the base is not "a chip" but a planned collection to get the add.
Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique
My trainer always said "When in doubt, wait it out" which I guess is the same as when is doubt, don't leave it out, but wait it out helps me remember to stay quiet and consistent and not to start pulling or really moving up.
As far as showing if you are having a tough time finding your distances I think a judge would prefer you come in quiet and add in the line rather than run down the line and leave out. It makes a prettier picture. For example, this past weekend I showed and in my division one of riders decided to add as her horse was very quiet. As she was passing by the ingate she said to her trainer "He's quiet, I'm going to add!" She made a conscious decision and rode quiet in's to all of her lines and she managed all of the distances the same way. In this case, I would absolutely say add!
Conversely, I would hate to see someone chip rather than move up to take a longer distance. I think the important thing is that the rider makes a decision and manages the pace consistantly throughout the ride.
For my particular horse, its better to sit and wait. When I see a long spot it almost always gets us into trouble. However, I have to add that thats because at the long spot *I* tend to eff things up (lean forward, take my leg off, chuck the reins at her head). Its mainly because I don't trust the move up ride. So we've been working a lot on me just sitting quietly and pressing up to the fence, and when I'm not sure where I am, to make sure I am NOT leaning forward.
If you don't see anything, maintain a consistent canter and the let your horse find a safe spot. Many riders (I have definitely been guilty of this!!) tend to pick away at the horse's canter trying to bide time in order to see a distance. This rarely ends well However, it is equally bad to gun your horse into something you don't see. If you have to make that major of a change in your pace, there was another option there. In summation, "when in doubt, WAIT IT OUT" by maintaining a consistent pace and not making a big move.