Master the skinny fence
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