Cross-country is one of the most exciting things you can do with your pony. It involves cantering through the countryside and jumping over lots of different fences – what could be better? And it’s even more amazing if you achieve a clear round! Here’s our guide to acing some of the fences you’ll find on a course.
Get off to a good start
The first few fences will be easy and inviting for your pony, but you still need to ride him forward. If you don’t, he might stop or run out, especially if he’s thinking about the pony friends he’s left behind at the start!
If you’re planning to compete, try and go cross-country schooling at the venue beforehand so you can practise some of the fences.
Step to it
You’ll often find steps on a cross-country course. Sometimes, there’ll just be one step, but you could have to tackle two or three in a row.
Get it right
When going down steps, sit up tall, keep your shoulders back and push your lower leg forward to stop you tipping forward. Give your pony some encouragement to step down by squeezing him firmly with your legs. Approaching in walk is fine to start with, but make sure it’s an active pace.
When going up, fold forwards into your jumping position. You’ll need to trot or canter as your pony will need lots of energy to make it to the top.
Pick up a copy of December PONY for more info on different cross-country fences and top tips on how to ride them, on sale 24 October