Keeping the forward in a short approach
Set-up: For the warm-up exercise I will use two verticals placed along the long side quarter line 42 feet apart and equal distance from the end of the ring. The diagram will be needed to see exactly how I placed the third "corner" jump... Then take a pole and place it perpendicular to each vertical on the center line towards the end of the ring. From the center of the vertical to the center of the pole you want to walk a distance of 45'.
Tips: Be sure when warming up that you work on having what I call a good medium show jumping canter. Usually in a small space it is easy to feel like you need to hold the horse together but the purpose of this exercise is to stay committed to riding forward while maintaining the rhythm and balance required for a short approach. I find it easiest to help to produce this kind of forward, light canter by doing transitions while posting the canter. It keeps me from holding the horse together and helps to keep the horses back up and hind end moving. I also like to challenge myself to keep the horse straight by keeping my reins in a double bridge. This prevents you from using too much inside rein to accomplish your turns. Practice this on decreasing circle sizes to see what support the horse needs from you. Remember none of this work will help you in the long run if you don't retain the relaxation so realize not to add to the exercise until you can do the initial basic steps well.
How to: I like to give the horses a slightly longer approach to the verticals to warm-up so will jump each one individually by coming through the middle of the ring and jumping it towards the end of the ring. This is done in a quieter canter than I worked on while warming-up to give them a chance to get comfortable with the small space and to keep everything relaxed... Then the challenge of the exercise is to develop the medium canter and be able to canter the pole on a bending 3 stride line to one vertical and continue turning in the air to retain the lead. They will see the other jumps straight ahead so must continue to follow your focus. My goal is to retain a forward canter between the pole and jump without losing the balance and rideability as that will be key to success in the ring. Work on consistency of both your path from the pole to the jump as well as of the canter.
Add on's: Once I have a diagram to upload I'll share the additional pieces to the exercise so that you can see exactly how much you can get done with 3 jumps in a small space... stay tuned!