Not much beats the thrill of cross-country! It’s super-fun for you and your pony, and makes a change from your normal riding in the arena.
Cross-country schooling is the best way to prepare before you go out competing, and gives you the chance to practise over all the different types of fences you’ll meet.
Inviting fences are the best type to start with, whether you’re warming up are less experienced. They include logs, roll-tops and tyres. Their rounded shape means they’re inviting for your pony to jump as they’re not too spooky or wide.
How to ride them… You need an XC canter with plenty of impulsion but isn’t too fast. Keep your leg on, look over the fence and soon you’ll be flying over without a fuss!
Although brush fences often look big, they’re inviting for ponies and jump well. The top section is made from hedge-like material that ponies are able to brush through with their legs, so they don’t have to jump the full height of the fence.
How to ride them… A forward canter with plenty of impulsion – but not speed – is best. Wrap your legs around your pony’s sides as he might take a big leap over if he’s not seen a brush before!
Cross-country fences come in lots of different of shapes and sizes, and some of them look much spookier than others. These can be brightly coloured, a funny shape, under a tree or coming out of the woods so the light and shade affects how your pony sees them.
How to ride them… The main thing you need to remember is not to look down at the fence! It’s often the rider who makes a pony worried, rather than the fence itself. Wrap your legs around your pony’s sides to encourage him forward, but keep a good contact to make sure you’re not going too fast. Look up and over the fence and you’ll jump it with no problem.
Find out how to ride other types of XC fences, including skinnes, water, ditches and steps in December PONY magazine, on sale now!