The biggest issue we had on this course was I felt like I was really pulling Leo around. It wasn't like he wasn't trying or wasn't moving. He was driving forward and continually working, engaged, and happy. But he just wasn't fast like he can be at the practice barn when he's really stoked. He also seemed much more concentrated on taking each jump. This is the first time he'd run three days in a row but, for comparison, in June he ran 9 runs over two days, albeit slightly shorter courses. He was jumping 8" then, too.
I have decided to move him to preferred. We're not so far along already that it makes a huge difference. He'll catch up quickly enough. But he's only 8.5". To jump 8" is asking a lot when you have such short legs. I'm happy with my decision and look forward to our next trial to see how 4" goes.