I want her thinking about the process, and learning to see the distances herself. Sometimes she takes off from a long spot, sometimes she chips in and takes off very close to the base of the jump. I just go with her and do my best to stay out of her way and out of her mouth as she learns to take off from wherever I place her. This will create adjustablity in her stride and it will pay off later in her training, as she learns to see from where she should take off. Because she is learning how to do this, Miss Pea will also be able to make corrections for her rider down the road if her rider makes a mistake, a very nice feature in a jumping horse. I always feel grateful when a horse saves my rear end by fixing a mistake I didn't realize until too late.
I teach this using very small jumps so that if Miss Pea misses and hits the poles it's not the end of the world, and the jump is not intimidating for her. I purposely put the jumps at strange distances away from each other to make her think about her footwork. I don't want her to just automatically jump a fence, go a certain number of strides, and then jump the next one. Just as with everything else, I ignore the inevitable mistakes which just earn her another try, and then praise her when she does it right.
At this stage in her training, "correct" just means she kept going forwards, did go over the jump, and she felt confident doing it. I don't care how slowly she did it, or how awkwardly she jumped, I just want her to learn to go over whatever I point her at. As she figures out how to maneuver her body over things the technique will improve, for now I'm just building her confidence and getting her to ride straight towards the fences. As you can see from her video, she likes this kind of work!
Her video can be seen here:
I also learned something fun about Miss Pea's track training today. As we jumped through the line and ended up at the far end of the arena, the last jump was pretty close to the wall. When I do this exercise with a horse I always alternate left and right turns at the end to make sure they don't get used to always going one way, and it develops the horse's muscling evenly on both sides.
Miss Pea very quickly realized that she could tell which way we would turn by my weight shift in the air over the last jump. Because she had good track training and knows her leads, as soon as she knew which way to go she would pick up that lead. The speed component makes me think that this is a leftover from her track days, when she is running she can do it without thinking too hard. If we are slowly setting up while riding on the flat she over thinks it and often guess the wrong lead. However, when we were moving fast and I shifted my weight to make the turn at speed she automatically landed on whichever lead I wanted. She would then really sit down to make the turn at the end of the arena. She is a smart smart mare who is using all of her education both on the track and off to become a successful riding horse.