A skinny fence is one that’s narrower than normal. You might come across them during showjumping rounds, working hunter classes, arena eventing or on a cross-country course. It’s a good idea to practise them in advance, so you’re not surprised when you meet one in a competition. They require accurate riding so your pony doesn’t run-out, but by breaking them down into a few simple steps, you’ll soon find it easy!
Accuracy is key when it comes to skinnies. Here’s what to think about to make sure you ace it…
1. Your canter It’s no good having a long, strung-out canter, as you’ll struggle to stay straight and in control. Sit up tall, keep your legs firmly on and maintain a contact to encourage plenty of impulsion and bounce. A shorter canter is better than a longer canter for skinnies, but it’s really important to maintain the energy to encourage a good jump.
2. Your turn If you don’t ride a good turn to the fence, you’ll end up on a wonky line, which is much more of a problem when you’re jumping skinnies, because you’ll risk a run-out.
Look around the corner to the fence as you approach it, turning in plenty of time, and use a half-halt if you need to steady your pony. This will give you the best chance of getting him on a straight line and in a balanced canter, ready to jump the fence.
3. Your getaway You’ve jumped the fence – success! But don’t forget, your landing and getaway are just as important, especially if you’re jumping a course. Having a wobble on landing will affect your line to the next fence, so sit up, keep your leg on and stay straight!
Check out our simple step-by-step guide on how to ace skinnies in March PONY magazine – on sale now!