X marks the spot

Posted 29th February 2024

Supercharge your pony’s adjustability and agility with Yazmin Pinchen-McCulloch’s awesome exercise!


To be successful in your sho­wjumping rounds, your pony needs a powerful, adjustable canter and good technique over fences. With my exercise, you’ll be able to improve both of those key skills. Have a go to find out for yourself!

Set it up

You’ll need eight 3m poles and four pairs of wings for this exercise. Create an X with four poles and then place the other four poles around the X to form a box, positioning the wings next to the outer poles so they’re ready to turn into small fences later on.

Make sure the distance between the middle of the X and each outer pole is 2.7–3m (depending on your pony’s stride length).

 Top tip

You don’t have to jump massive fences to improve your pony’s strength and technique. Riding over raised poles, or the point where two or more poles meet, will do the job, too!

Super suitable

This exercise is sooo good for any type of pony. If your fave pony is pretty laidback, the poles will naturally encourage him to be more active, while if he’s prone to rushing, having lots of obstacles to deal with will make him think carefully and slow down. It’s great for physical and mental fitness!

Raise the bar

There’s quite a lot going on in a small space in this exercise, so it can cause some ponies to be spooky – or overjump! Therefore, be sure to ride through each stage until your pony is working through it carefully, correctly and confidently.

Stage one: Leave all the poles on the ground and ride through in all directions in walk and trot.

Stage two: When your pony is trotting through without hesitation, progress to cantering over the poles.

Stage three: Raise one side of each pole – do opposite ends of parallel poles to help prevent drifting and encourage straightness.

Stage four: Turn the raised poles into small uprights – building up to a maximum of 50cm. Make sure you ride through in both directions and approach on each rein to work your pony evenly.

Discover more of Yazmin’s jumping tips in April PONY – pick up your copy today!

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