I board at an eventing barn, but like to do hunters and will be taking my 4 year old to a schooling show this weekend to do the 2' hunter division. Jumps were set up in the indoor, but are taken down at the moment so I need to set some up myself so I can school him over the typical vertical to oxers lines they have at shows. I almost never have several jumps to use so am not familiar with how far apart to set them. The schooling show does rated shows as well and will have distances set correctly.
So exactly how many feet should I set apart a vertical to an oxer for 2'-2'6" jumps, for a 3 stride, 4 stride, and 5 stride? I know horse shows go off a 12' horse stride, but I have no idea what to set for these small jumps.
If you are doing a 2' division, I doubt they will have any lines set shorter than a 4-stride. It is better to practice the 12' stride so you have enough step both when you move up, get used to the pace, etc, in addition to being ready to horse show. So, four stride is 60', five stride is 72', etc.
If you haven't been riding much indoors, you will likely feel like you are flying to get down the lines. Make sure in your flatwork you are really getting a 12' stride and it will make the jumps much easier.
You don't mention (or I missed it) if this will be indoors or outdoors. Sometimes things will be set a little shorter indoors (especially for lower heights) as the walls themselves will back the horses up a bit. Outdoors it can be a little easier to get and keep a forward pace for the 12 foot strides. Hopefully you can school or at least walk the lines before you ride and get an idea if they are set short or not. Also, if you don't already do this, it is handy to practice walking off 12 feet. We have 12 feet marked on the arena wall and before I walk a line, I walk that twelve feet to remind myself of what that walk step should feel like. ( On days when I am feeling my age I may walk 10 feet and think I'm walking 12!)
I asked a similar question a few months ago and the general consensus was to set the lines on a 12' stride and practice getting the correct step.
Another question I have asked COTH is what is better - a short strided/short in general horses flying down the lines to get the step or doing a beautiful add, and for schooling shows many people agreed that a beautiful add would likely be judged better than mad gallop down the line. Of course, if we ever wanted to really do well, we'd have to work on opening his step and actually getting down the line correctly.
If you have a good course designer they will adjust the line shorter due to the size of tje jumps and the arena. You could see lines as short as 58 feet for a fout stride. If you have an inexperienced course designer they may set the distances at 12 ft. No one really likes seeing beginners and young horses galloping like mad to make the distances.