Monday, February 28, 2022

slightly bigger sticks -- slightly

Is it just me, or does it feel like suddenly we're doing a lot of jumping again lately?? I know it partly just feels that way bc I've been lucky to snag recent media... and we all know that pictures are the engine that drives blogging, amirite? Lol...

rollin back on my giant bronto
But also.... Damn, it does feel like we've been ratcheting it back up again. And I like it! Weather has been mild, horses have been hale, and calendars are sparking back to life. Including lesson schedules with new trainer-on-trial, KGK! 

remember back in the day when izzy and i had all those problems with lattice fences?
For those not keeping track at home, this is our third lesson with a new trainer who is not originally from around here but has an impressive resume in upper level eventing and grand prix show jumping. I learned about her program after seeing a lesson package offered in a recent silent auction, and while I didn't win the bidding, a quick cursory creep around the google made me think she could be a good fit. 

On one hand.... It's not ideal to ship out for regular jumping lessons again. I know I shouldn't complain bc I'm lucky to even have a trailer, let alone so many close-to-home venue options. But it takes a toll, ya know? Shipping out generally means a minimum of 3 extra hours devoted to the lesson; plus obviously fuel and wear+tear on my towing rig; and, possibly most important -- the impact on my horse. 

dialing it in
So I'm trying to temper my excitement about impending spring by striving to strike a balance for Charlie. Luckily, ensuring he always has company on the trailer is working out so far too, as Megan and Royal joined us again for this lesson -- and had a really great time! So I'm hopeful we'll be able to more or less keep that rolling.

riding with a lot more leg than we've been doing lately
And guys -- it was a good lesson! KGK had us riding with a different group this time -- including someone else I've known for a while who is extremely active and well respected within the community. Obvi I'll ultimately make my own choices about training relationships, but it was kinda this cool feeling seeing that friend pull in for the lesson like, oh if SHE is riding with this coach, this coach is probably the real deal!

love the light filtering through his tail <3
I also suspect KGK figured the new grouping might be a better fit in terms of experience and goals. Not that there was anything wrong with the ladies we rode with last time, but their horses were just in different places. So for this group, while the warm up fences were still pretty tiny, we actually got to bump up in height fairly quickly and finished over some fences that felt properly "large" to me lol.

fire breathing silhouette <3
The courses were pretty fun too -- lots of twisty turns and sneaky bends. So far, we've mostly done just single fences, and the occasional outside line. But actually, that outside line is in the exact same place it was last time we were here --- so I'm starting to suspect jump placement and configuration might not really be up to KGK, since we're essentially all just renting the ring out for these lessons.

oooooh it's slightly bigger this time yay!
She also kinda made it sound like maybe she doesn't make many assumptions about "low level" horses doing combinations, either. Tho of course, y'all already know our horses that have been raised up in Trainer P's program are basically grid savants, so we love combinations. Hopefully some of those will appear in courses eventually. 

and i'm still drifting left lol, obvi
Last little course observation -- she doesn't utilize many oxers. Maybe to ensure as many options for bi-directional fences as possible....? And maybe again bc they aren't her courses. I tend to like oxers for Charlie, but these jumps do have a lot of solid fill which at least helps inspire better form even for verticals. 

omg are we actually jumping 3' in a lesson again?? omg!
For Charlie, I kinda started experimenting with how much leg I kept on around the course. Our early warm up round over the 2' jumps was... inconsistent -- little long here, little short there. Partly bc it's hard to see a distance to a tiny jump with this horse, and partly bc I try to keep him more packaged up on the add stride when they're low --- but then we kinda end up crawling over some, or leaping over others.

honestly probably don't deserve this horse
After goosing him pretty good to a long spot over the low course, I decided to try to keep more leg on, more consistently, the whole way around. I'm not entirely sure Charlie loved it -- possibly bc he felt a little hassled by it. But.... It also made a really big difference in getting a good shot into the jumps. 

and another silhouette bc you're not the boss of me
The landings tho... Lol, well. Yea I goosed him a couple times so we had some fairly strong landings lol. It was an interesting feeling, tho, esp given all the work I've done in lessons with Molly about taking my leg off. There's definitely got to be a balance where my leg can be ON for jumping, but in a supportive way that gets us to the jumps without harassing the horse. 

low plank + high(ish) bar ain't nbd for charlie!
The horse might just have also been feeling generally vaguely harassed anyway tho, tbh. Idk if he's just feeling the physical effects of ramping back up again. Or from finally being able to get back out into the xc fields for hill work again (omg so fun!). Or ya know, maybe it's just time for his annual hock maintenance. Probably that last bit, lol, so we'll get that scheduled in the next 2-6 weeks probably.

finished over a little trick fence -- just a piece of fill, but narrow with no standards whee!!
He was a very good horse and was jumping in great form. But.... Just wasn't very keen on his flying changes. Obvi I suck at changes, so I rely pretty heavily on Charles to whip out his auto changes. And usually when he's feeling gung ho and strong -- like he was in this ride -- the auto changes are right there. 

But.... They just weren't quite where I expected them to be, probably bc he was just a little too far out behind to make it happen. Thus my hypothesis that he's ready for a little juice. We'll see what the vet says tho!

Mostly tho it just felt so so SO GOOD to get back into the groove. These were definitely some of the biggest jumps we've seen in a lesson in.... Ages. And some of them were definitely a little bigger than Charlie and I have seen in any of our little schooling shows this past year. 

But they felt good. Easy, even tho obvi we made plenty of mistakes. And suddenly, once the jumps were up -- Charlie was right there ready to do the horse stride down the lines that we added in last time

So idk. I feel good. I'm excited for where we are right now. Excited to ease into a new season with fresh eyes and a different perspective from last year, where we still felt weighed down after the shit-show that was 2020. It's early days still tho, lol, so we'll see what happens haha.

Friday, February 25, 2022

course calculus + corrections

There are many reasons to like jumping as a chosen pursuit in horse sports. Fences come in so many variations of styles and combinations. There are basically infinite track configurations, based in no small part on arena size, shape or landscape. Every course is new and different, with countless permutations to challenge the individual horse and rider in unique ways. 

Meanwhile, tho, 2'6 is 2'6 is 2'6. So if you like jumping 2'6, you can keep jumping that height forever and ever without condemning yourself to endless monotony.  
I spent the first three years of owning Charlie constantly planning our next "move up." Obviously this was easier earlier on -- it didn't take a whole lotta training to progress from the 18" classes to 2'3 to 2'6 on behemoth Charlie, ya know? 

And to be perfectly honest, I was in a pretty big hurry to get back to Novice, which we did in the spring of 2018, about a year and a half into owning Charlie (not that anybody's counting lol). 

From there, tho, the urge to keep pushing continued. My riding friends were at that time starting to get pretty confirmed at Training level, and we were jumping some pretty big fences together in lessons. So it felt natural that Charlie and I would try to keep up. 

of particular note, all the two stride lines in this course were measured at 30'

Turns out, tho, it got progressively more difficult. And I ended up switching trainers in mid 2019 in an attempt to get more personalized and intensive coaching. I was (and still am) seeking "mentorship" -- an investment in my training and journey, beyond the sort of transactional relationships that can come with intermittent lessons or clinic-hopping.

In retrospect, tho, bc hindsight is 2020, it's easy to see where I made a few key mistakes along the way lol. Like -- one of my cardinal rules for riding with multiple trainers had always been that their philosophies had to more or less mesh. That it was fine to ride with different people so long as they didn't want me to ride Charlie in meaningfully different ways. Bc, obvi, that would be confusing to the horse, right? 

But upper level trainer K *did* want to see me schooling Charlie over fences differently from trainer P. And, in fact, she advised me that some of the practice I did with P was actually counterproductive to my goals. Specifically, she wanted to see me consistently schooling Charlie over jump courses set for a 12' stride, whereas with P we often coursed over much shorter distances (think: 18' for a one stride; 30' for a two stride, etc).

K's arguments here made sense. We needed to be able to get down the lines in a 12' stride at horse shows, and meanwhile Charlie was just learning to be sluggish and behind my leg by always working over shorter distances. 

quick reminder what charlie's feet looked like in the summer of 2019. this should have, um, been a hint
So I stopped riding with trainer P, and got all aboard the bus of always riding Charlie on a longer stride. Never mind that Charlie had progressed in his training very successfully over the years. And never mind that we'd literally never had any trouble making the distances at horse shows.** 

The argument that Charlie was a slug and was behind my leg was compelling enough for me, esp when facing increasingly large jumps. Tho. Again, hindsight helps. I can now look back and recognize that Charlie was such a slug in our schooling because his feet hurt. I did not really have a firm grasp of how he needed to be managed, and the hoof soreness hens came home to roost by mid summer in 2019. I eventually ended up injecting his coffins and have since overhauled Charlie's hoof care. 

That's now, tho, and this was then. Then, we continued down the path of always trying to school Charlie on a more open stride. Which was all well and fine, tho it became pretty clear that Charlie could open up well past a 12' stride length too. Like in the example videos below - from 11/2019 and 7/2020, each of which contain a 60' four stride line that rode quite short for us. 

And of course, anybody who has been around for a while knows what happened in the summer of 2020. We finally made our second attempt at moving up to Training, and I got absolutely run the fuck away with in show jumping. Wherein my incredible little beastie accomplished a 72' line in four strides, among other things. 

Obviously a lot went wrong there, almost all of which originated with me as rider. But.... Again in retrospect, it's easy to see a pattern, right? 

this combination measured 36' to 72' (standard two and five stride distances, for the uninitiated)
not my proudest moment, not gonna lie.....
For all of Charlie's training with me, all throughout his learning to jump, we schooled him on compressed distances and asked him to shorten his body. Then at shows, amid the energy and atmosphere, he'd open up and carry us down the lines, even as he was able to be catty and adjustable where needed. 

When we stopped practicing that ability to shorten and compress, tho, we ended up losing a pretty important tool when Charlie predictably puffed up to his full event horse stature lol. 

So.... Long story short, we abandoned that training pathway. Not because it wasn't good or correct or whatever, but bc it clearly did not work for me as a rider of this particular horse lol. And so much has changed around Charlie's barn in recent years (for normal life-related reasons for various people etc) that going back to the way it was before isn't an option either. 
Thus, we've sorta arrived at this place where Charlie and I have been jumping around Novice courses for 4 years, with more or less no end in sight haha. And ya know, all things considered, it's pretty fine. I like jumping this height, Charlie likes jumping this height. We can still be plenty challenged, even while feeling reasonably confident. 

If we never end up moving up... Well. That'll be fine too. I honestly don't really know how much or even *if* I want it anyway. One thing seems certain, tho --- we aren't likely to make it happen without coaching. I'm feeling guardedly hopeful about the possibilities with this new trainer-on-trial, but only time will tell. 

at last week's show charlie just stepped down the 24' one stride easy as civilized pie despite all his preparation being done on shorter distances
In the meantime, I'm just gonna keep riding Charlie the way I know works for us at our level. And I'm *definitely* working to remind myself to stay realistic as an advocate for myself and my horse. Bc let's be real, any trainer who tries to tell you that everything you thought you knew about how your horse goes is wrong, is.... probably wrong lol. 

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Mid-Winter Jumperlandia

We had a lot of fun in 2021 with the monthly summer CT series at Thornridge Manor. Not just bc shows are fun, omg! But also.... getting my own butt in gear to put together a show-worthy-ish round once a month was just.... so SO beneficial for allaying my imposter syndrome. 

majestically overlooking the xc course during pre-ride walkies. 100% will be back to conquer that later!
We laid low for a few weeks throughout early winter, but basically ever since the solstice, we've kinda quietly started getting back into a groove again. And luckily, little jumper shows are starting to reappear on the calendar, yay omg! 

but first, we conquer the warm up! twas a tad frozen, but organizers were on their AAA+ game with dragging and everything was nicely groomed in time for our rounds!
There's a venue I've had my eye on for YEARS, but never actually made it out, but this weekend was finally TIME! The Stables at Fox Crossing are in Cochranville, PA, basically right around the corner from Windurra. And omg, they have the cutest looking xc schooling field too -- looks like sort of a Tranquillity feel, but with more jumps concentrated in one place. We will 100% be back for that omg!

finally!!! go time!!! also, peep that cafe-style heater!! there were THREE in this area alone
This weekend tho, it was just the jumpers. On a somewhat frigid morning, but we didn't care. Charlie and Royal traveled well, and we arrived in good time to get a lay of the land. They sent out ride times in advance that Megan and I both sorta intuitively understood were "optimistic" times for a jumper show.... But we didn't care. We'd rather be early.

behold --- the ring! jam-packed with twisty turny beautiful jumps
And let's be real, the show *could* have run on time, but..... instead they chose to be friendly and inviting. Rider having trouble getting around? Get the coach in there to help them finish. Didn't go clear? Do the jump off anyway. Everybody got a good time and jumped all the jumps, with as much encouragement as was needed. Yep, I will 100% always be fine waiting around in that sort of environment! 

engage go-go-charlie!
Charlie and I entered two 2'9 classes. The over-thinking part of my brain always wants me to "do more" or whatever. But my emotional side is still kinda fragile and I really want to build on the stability and resilience we (I) started to feel through last summer. So, we carry on. 

omg they gave the 2'9 division a 24' in and out, i almost croaked lol but charlie was fine
Especially with winter and stuff, it's hard to get in preparation and reps. But Charlie is so good. Y'all saw him doing grids a couple weeks ago. And I jumped him again, but omg this time in our outdoor jump ring bc we had a week of good weather!! And he's just good. He is trained. He is a packer, bless his darling bay soul <3

pictured: my horse is a very good horse
So for our actual courses... I tried to just trust it, ya know? Tho -- something that makes me quite excited for the potential future, I *did* find myself channeling recent lessons with KGK (that new trainer we've met exactly twice). Mostly --- just feeling the length of Charlie between my hand and leg. Not necessarily "shortening" him (at least, not without supervision), but just trying to "feel" his ends as we approached a jump. 

omg you have to watch the video for this sequence. spoilers, we go from this long spot to a left turn to the yellow/blue standard bottom right corner of the frame
And guys, Charlie LIKES that style of being ridden. I've always known he wants rein contact, and always known he wants leg on. Really, he IS a full contact sort of horse. But for some reason, envisioning his body the way KGK describes sticks in my mind, and helps me remember to give Charlie what he wants. 

omg he TURNS 'n BURNS omg
We were still a little inconsistent around our first course tho. Mostly for *me* reasons. I was nervous, ya know? It's a narrow indoor with all sorts of twisting turning lines -- and more than a few places where you land with a jump directly in front of you that you are NOT intended to jump. I was worried about Charlie getting backed off, so did his job for him and put him behind my leg myself lol, whoops.

sir, my heart, you have it <3
He was obviously still a very good boy, and jumped from some *very* close distances.... But I was also very happy to have a second round to go out and try to be a bit more forward. Still feel his front and hind end. still do all the stuff I've been working on.... But, with allowance, ya know? 

the goodest boy <3
And our second round (source of all these pictures, plus the video below) was MUCH better. Like, not gonna lie, I'm still happy with the first round too bc this is legit the shit for me, ya know?? Going out and riding my amazing horse even through all my mistakes lol. But... Riding two rounds in a row is really useful for me, esp as an eventer who is so used to "one shot."

literally the only "long" run on course, and he just loped on down like a perfect hunter
For my second round, I just reminded myself to let him go and trust him and be a bit more forward. A little looser even as I focused on keeping a feel of his "ends." And? It worked out!! 

voila! et fin
The courses were honestly a bit bananas and not really something we're likely to see in a stadium round at a horse trials, or even in a proper jumper show (since, spoiler alert guys --- we might be trending in that direction). So it doesn't bug me that we weren't really perfect for all of it. Actually, it's pretty good that we weren't. It's good for my brain to experience imperfection and survival at the same time lol.

look at how happy our horses are!!! lol
Tho, I'm also not gonna argue with winning both our classes lol. In, ahem, a class of two. And, of course, it should be noted, we lost the division bc I didn't ride the third round. Again tho, I wasn't there to win. I was there to ride two rounds. And we did that. And our second round was better (by far) from our first round. And Charlie knew it. Voila, the end. 

Idk about y'all, but that basically ties it up for me goals-wise in February lol. This show was definitely very different from some of the indoors jumpers shows I've done before... But.... I think I liked it? It was harder, much more complicated.... But, the people were fantastic and they were on top of their footing conditions even in bad weather. 

for real tho, so fun
On one hand, for horses that are struggling, that sorta cramped crazy jumper environment might back them off too much... But, honestly? I think it was just the ticket for Charlie. He really adjusted and adapted and handled the turns and everything great. 

Kinda... Makes me wanna do more of... this with Charlie. Tho, lol, their xc course still called to me. So idk, we aren't done with that either. Maybe some sort of hybrid going forward? Idk. We'll see. It's February, after all. Any body else out there trying to make sense of early season plannings and ideations? 

Monday, February 14, 2022

Valentines Dressage Schooling Show

We had our first little dressage schooling show of the season at our home barn this weekend, and omg it was so fun!! 

Mikey could snuggle literally anywhere -- but obvi my nice clean + DIY-decorated show pad was the best choice <3
The weather was glorious, plus everyone in the barn decided to really make a day out of the event -- replete with snacks, baked goods, and beverages of all (adult) varieties! Even better -- a couple friends were able to join in the fun and come meet Charlie, shout out Susan and Lynn!!  

cute, right? 
The show started around midday and I was among the first up, meaning we rode during the nicest weather, and got done with the "hard part" early to enjoy the rest of the afternoon haha. 

cute pony too! 
And honestly, it went reasonably well. I probably wasn't serious enough about preparation in the days leading up to the show -- we thought we'd go to a jumper show this weekend too, so I'd spent more time focusing on jumping (like that grids session last week). That plan fell through tho, and I ended up feeling like we squandered a few quarters along the way. 

pictured: me going off course in our free walk
Oh well, Charlie warmed up well enough anyway. He was definitely a bit distracted and on edge about all the buzzing activity at home, and things being a little "different." Luckily there weren't too many people in the outdoor dressage court when we warmed up, tho, and he felt more or less good enough, if a bit stiff and tense. 

pictured: i still kinda suck at cantering this horse
We rode Novice Test A first, and it was ok enough. Charlie felt like he was kinda in the twilight zone, with his familiar arena being... Different. Meanwhile, I was maybe a little passive with obvi too-long reins... 

had a choice between a frame milliseconds before this where my posture looked marginally better, and charlie's marginally worse.... but i chose this one instead, where homeboy looks quite good imo even if i'm all scrunched up. whatevskis, i'd rather see him look max handsome <3
I think I like the test tho. We had some bumpy moments just by nature of it being the first time we put it all together, so theoretically repetition should help. I went off course in the free walk by going F-X-M instead of F-E-M, whoops. Tho... Frankly I like my way better LOL. 

silently beseeching the judge to please not hurt our feelings lol
Charlie also pretty heavily anticipated cantering when we were supposed to do our second 2-loop serpentine. So that whole movement was fussy and against my hand. Again, tho, I think that's just a practice + preparation thing. You can judge for yourself tho!

link to video of Test A -- fully annotated with directives, scores and commentary

Anyway, we had something like 25ish minutes before our next test, so I opted to hop off and give Charlie a grass break while I endeavored to learn Test B. Idk what it is about this test, but I kept getting like half way through reading it before sorta just.... losing the thread lol. 

next up -- Test B, wherein omg we turn *right* at C, crazy
I think it's because it has so many strings of 3-4 letters? Like the B-F-A-K, that's literally just one end of the ring lol, or the K-B-M or H-B-F dog leg turns... Idk, the movements make perfect sense to me, but for some reason my brain couldn't process remembering it all lol. 

Simple solution, tho -- my friend offered to read, to which the judge had no argument. 

i think the heart looks cute <3
Once actually going in the test, it rode better than I expected. Well, I don't mean *I* rode better than expected -- but rather the movements seemed to flow nicely. I also kinda liked the feeling I got from Charlie better in this test too -- like he had taken a deep breath and remembered that he knows what this game is all about. 

charlie's side eye here cracks me up, like he really doesn't understand the point of all this lol
Again, tho, just by nature of being our first time through the pattern, some areas ended up a bit rough. I'd practiced the 4-6 steps of walk dealio in our schooling sessions and again as we waited for the bell... But it was still a bit braced and against the hand. 

our tests weren't particularly consistent or our best, but there were nice enough moments to be found!
I also felt like I kinda let Charlie get away with feeling a little "fragile," rather than pushing him to get more up into the bridle. This is most notable in some of our trotting changes of direction, where we really could have been quite a bit nicer imo. 

good boy, sir! 
Also, lol, in our free walk, Charlie sorta just like.... put his head down to the ground and slowed to a snail's pace, but in that fragile sorta way where he was basically like, "touch me with that spur, lady, I dare you" -- like my options were slugging along the diagonal or shooting off into space. I did sacrifice a little trot step just to get him going more, since ya know, that's why we're here lol... But it was kinda funny. 

link to video of Test B -- fully annotated with directives, scores and commentary

Last thing I didn't quite like about this test was just how much walking there was, and that we walked the center line turn, before trotting and halting. This movement alone makes me question how much the test will actually get used at shows.... We'll see tho! 

click to embiggen; scores + comments are notated in the videos too

Also of note -- my prediction of the new collective marks came true on both these tests, haha. You might remember, I wrote back in November that, "I expect we'll probably score a 6.5 here, more or less always haha ¯\_(ツ)_/¯." And, sure enough lol.... first 6.5s are on the books! 

love this photo of me just cheesin with my perfect horse, thanks for the shot Lynn!! and thanks for your expert grooming touch, Susan, in making sure Charlie looked his best! 
For real, tho, it was honestly just a super fun day. Esp with the warm weather, everybody came early and stayed late, enjoyed the snacks and drinks, and cheered each other on. 

and since i somehow managed to fail at getting ANY pictures of the epic party spread everyone brought, here's a representative shot of Goose impersonating me indulging on the sangria omg 
Obvi any sort of early-season show is gonna be more about shaking off the rust than anything else. But for some competitors, this was their first test on a new horse, or first show ever -- and it was so cool to make such a memorable great day out of it. To me, that's what really matters. 

And now, it's just a couple more weeks til our next go 'round! 

Friday, February 11, 2022

surprise, it's grids again!

I feel like every boarding barn at one point or another fantasizes about having fun low key boarder-centric "grid nights." Where anybody can show up, exercises are inviting and progressive, and everybody can get what they want out of it. 

As an unabashed grid lover myself, this thought has definitely seemed attractive given all the icy weather confining us indoors. 

full exercise required 3 sets of standards and 7 poles (6 if you don't build an oxer). elements spaced 18' apart. mounting block recommended when you don't have ground crew! 
So! A couple of us endeavored to make it happen, yay! Tho naturally, we picked a weeknight where the indoor had been completely cleared of equipment ahead of our at-home dressage show this weekend, whoops. Meaning we had to bring all that equipment back inside to set up, then take it all back out again when we finished. Nbd, tho, was worth it! 

exquisite form when your technique is basically to just canter largely over the jump lol --- this is why we oxer, kids! 
My go-to set up is pretty simple. We started with just 3 ground poles on the rail (since again, remember this indoor is 20x40m, making for pretty tight turns even when you use every inch of space...). Walked trotted and cantered the poles in both directions as we warmed up, then quickly graduated to crossrails. 

so nice we did it twice!! 
First progression was just setting the 3rd element (we were tracking right) to be a cross rail, so horses could trot or canter into the poles and jump out the final element. 

when you forgot your crop in the barn and had to use yer b*slapping hand instead lol... 
also omg loookie who it is!!! it's Punky!! and he did joooompies, yayyy!!!
Then we changed directions, kept that crossrail (which was now the 1st element), then set the middle and last elements into verticals. Middle was pretty small, but last was a little bigger -- the height you see above. 

after everyone took a turn going one way, we'd progress the exercise configuration, and change directions
For Charlie, I didn't feel like he needed a ton of repetitions over each configuration. He's experienced at grids, and let's be real -- we're both very much in "winter" shape right now. I'm not even gonna admit how hard I huffed and puffed lugging around like... jump poles lol. So we did two passes each iteration and called it good. 

last two elements of the final configuration. omg emma pitcher heels down
For the final configuration, we cannibalized the poles and standards from the center element to create a 3-stride vertical to oxer combination, with placing pole in the middle. Ideally we would have kept a jump in the middle, and ideally ideally, we would have done another version with an oxer going off the other lead.... But. Eh. That seemed like a lot of unnecessary work LOL! 

if you want to feel badass about jumping the top of the standards, consider investing in teeny standards <3 
I had also in my head while planning the exercise intended to use the indoor's resident barrels as filler for the oxer.... But again, the arena was cleared in advance of the dressage show. And ain't nobody got time for extra trips lugging around equipment that wasn't mission critical lol....

goodness i love his face <3 we left the in tiny bc really the whole point was to set him up well for a good out over the oxer
Obvi it was fine, tho. The oxer was probably right around N-ish, maybe small N, since I think the standards are 3' tops. It's been so long since I've had to measure anything tho omg, and my eye is so off right now haha! Nothing makes a jump look big quite like short poles on short standards inside a tiny indoor. 

pictured: a good out over the oxer, well done sir! 
Charlie didn't care, tho. Naturally. He was a little dull and under-powered going around, bc ugh homeboy is sick of the indoor.... But he perked up and made good work of his last two trips!! 
So it was a good time had by all, I think. Everyone took turns dismounting to make adjustments, plus obvi all the setting up and tearing down. And all the horses were on their best behaviors! 

We'll see if it becomes a regular thing haha. The forecast looks like it could be getting nicer, which means people might prefer to be outside in the larger arenas, even tho the lights aren't quite bright enough for any real complicated jumping. Maybe not, tho, who knows!

Does anybody else have favorite go-to exercises that can work from ground poles up to full sized jumps for large groups of varying skillsets? #asking4afriend lol....