Going cross-country with your fave pony is super-exciting, but you can make it even more fun by teaming up with a friend and entering a pairs class. Here’s all you need to know…
Get on side
A pairs class is similar to a normal hunter trial, but you ride round the course with a friend and both jump the fences. To be in with a chance of winning a rosette, you’ll need to go clear and earn points by jumping some of the fences alongside each other.
You don’t have to jump alongside each other if you don’t want to.
Building a partnership
Not all ponies will be happy jumping next to each other straightaway, so you’ll need to practise this before your competition. If your ponies aren’t hacking buddies who are used to being close together, introduce them by riding side-by-side in walk, leaving a gap of around 2m at first, then you can gradually reduce this to 1m. If they’re both happy, move into trot, then try canter, focusing on keeping your ponies in the same, even rhythm so they stay together.
Jump to it
When you’re ready to start jumping, place two fences side-by-side, with the poles on blocks rather than wings. This’ll give your ponies plenty of room to jump. Then you can build up to jumping next to each other over a single fence, but make sure it’s wide enough for both ponies.
It’s best to practise over a fence that doesn’t have wings, so you give both ponies enough room to jump.
Grab your copy of April PONY, on sale 13 March, and a riding friend, and get practising for a pairs class.