Whether you’re an eventing aficionado or just want to try something new, teaching your pony to jump skinnies is a great way to give your training – and riding – a big boost. I like to add skinnies to all my ponies’ jump training, and there’s no reason why you can’t, too.
Where might you meet them?
Skinny fences are introduced at the lowest levels of eventing, so you’ll meet them as soon as you get out on the cross-country course. This means practising them is super-important if you plan to go to a hunter trail, or out eventing.
However, you might also see them if you go showjumping, and they’re a great way to test your pony’s straightness and how accurately you can ride, so learning to jump them will benefit every rider and pony.
Wings were made to fly
First things first, I warm up my pony around and between the wings – starting with them around 1.5m apart. I ride figures of eight and straight lines through them in walk and trot to get my pony used to going between wings that are narrower than a usual fence.
Then, I move the wings in until they’re the same distance apart as the pole is long – in this case, around 1m – but you can make them as wide or narrow as you like. Just make sure your pony can fit through the gap!
Make sure you canter through them as well as walking and trotting, because you’ll want to be ready to canter towards the skinny once you’ve warmed up fully and are ready to approach the fence in canter.
Use your warm-up to get your pony off your leg using lots of transitions. This means that if he backs off the skinny later on, he’ll listen your leg when you squeeze him forwards.
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