Donald, that's great information. You don't know.. or maybe you do.. how many different places I've looked for this info, and what I get is numbers that just don't work for the obvious reasons you stated.
When we say the horse is our teacher this is the very kind of thing I think of.
It's not just what the horse direction communicates to us, but what we learn from the horse as a being.
So many meters from this point to that on the horse, strides that measure x meters, the sounds they make, the smells they give off, coat luster or lack, tension of skin around eyes and mouth, etc.
You can see in on of my pictures my designed and built schooling or open menage area, with the help of the owner of my leased horse training business.
That pick has a single horse and rider in it, and a few poles and lots of barrels.
I used to drag that surface, then have horses, doing various things, imprint it. Then take measurements, and set my jumps, cavaletties, poles, etc. up just for that particular horse to be worked over and around.
Making adjustments according to what I wanted. Much experimentation, (poor horses)
I worked on a system conditioning and teaching collection using poles.
Don't do it. It didn't work, as three different horses taught me. But it did make them wonderfully handy over jumps and obstacles cross country.
It might have had some minor effect on collection and condition. Not worth the worry for the horse.
A series of obstacles are, I believe, to artificial and nothing the horse would encounter in the wild. They simply go around that much trash by choice.
So forcing them over such things creates too high a degree of 'worry,' exhibited in anxiety with figeting -- tail switching, tight eyes, tense lips.
I had my poor horses in a near permanent state of nervous breakdown until I caught on. How relieved they were when I cut the obstacles to just one or two at a time.
Donald Redux 1965
If you are curious, you can see my photo and video album at -
guest password is 'haumea'