Be smooth and confident over a fence with Willa Newton’s easy-to-follow exercises
Struggling to see a stride and getting your take-off wrong on a regular basis? Perfecting your approach will help you judge that elusive distance, says Willa Newton
HOW MANY TIMES has your horse taken a leap of faith metres away from the fence, or chipped in an extra stride when you weren’t expecting it? If the answer is too many, it’s time to get to work. One woman who can spot a good stride is four-star event rider Willa Newton. Having ridden around tough courses like Burghley, Belton and Blenheim, Willa knows that seeing a stride is paramount to getting over fences smoothly, safely and, most importantly, successfully, so that you ride away feeling confident. “The best way to see a stride is just to keep practising,” says Willa. “One exercise that I like to use is to place three poles ahead of a jump. You can focus on your stride to the first pole and then the rest of the poles take you up to the fence, without you having to think about the stride. It trains your eye and you naturally get used to seeing a stride. “Keep the jump small so you can concentrate on your technique, without worrying about the height of the jump.” Sound good? Find out more about this and more over the page, where Willa reveals the exercises that she practises with her horses at home to help them be foot-perfect into fences every time.