Mas­ter the skinny fence

Your Horse (UK) - - Better Riding -

TAKE A LOOK at any event course nowa­days and you’ll no­tice that skinny (nar­row) fences are a re­cur­ring theme. The neme­sis of many rid­ers, you can pre­pare for these in a sim­ple way. “I use bales of shav­ings at home,” says Ibby. “But you can use bar­rels or blocks — any­thing that you might have around the yard. “With younger or in­ex­pe­ri­enced horses, I’ll start with the shav­ings as a filler to a jump so they get used to see­ing them. I’ll put sev­eral bales un­der a fence, then start the ex­er­cise in a steady trot as this gives the horse time to have a look and think about what he’s do­ing. “Once they’re happy jump­ing this, I’ll take it step by step so that the jump grad­u­ally gets nar­rower and un­til my horse is jump­ing just a sin­gle bale or two to­gether.”

How to ride it

SET IT UP: Put an up­right fence down one side of your arena with your bales of shav­ings (or bar­rels, or blocks) act­ing as fillers. a) Go large in trot, look­ing ahead for your jump. b) Come off the track and, still in trot, ride straight to­wards the jump. c) Jump the fence and change the rein, re­main­ing in trot. d) Re­peat on the other side. e) Once you’re happy with how he’s go­ing, re­peat the ex­er­cise in can­ter.

THE NEXT LEVEL:

Step one: Once your horse is com­fort­able with the fillers, take the poles away and use these as V-shaped guides on top of your shav­ings bags to keep him cen­tral. Step two: Grad­u­ally re­move the bales of shav­ings, un­til you’re left with two. Step three: Re­move the wings. Step four: Re­move the guide poles.

Above: Use poles to help your horse stay straight. Right: In time, you’ll be able to jump the bags by them­selves

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