Tackle thin fences with Harriet Morris-Baumber
A thin fence can scare some riders, and course builders love to use this technical challenge to test how accurate your riding is and how well you can keep the horse straight.
Event driver and trainer Harriet Morris-Baumber is used to negotiating these types of fences when competing herself and instructing her clients on the best way to tackle thin fences, which is one of the most common causes of one Slip can be.
Thin fences come in a variety of shapes, including a thin brush, an arrowhead, a narrow fence with a ditch, a thin one following a large parallel, a thin one following a drop fence, or an angled thin one.
Thin fences come in a variety of shapes, including a thin brush. “Photo Credit; Iain B Photography
This is where Harriet offers her top tips to ensure you are on the right side of the flag to successfully negotiate the narrow obstacle and gallop to the nearest fence.
Give your horse time to read the question
Give your horse as much time as possible to see the fence in front of you by staying in a straight line for as long as possible and approaching at the appropriate speed.
If you ride more slowly, your horse will have more time to see the fence and you will have more time to react if it is off course.
Use your legs to keep the horse straight
As you approach the fence, alternate your legs to let your horse know that it needs to keep walking in a straight line. Grasping or pushing is not as effective as short, sharp kicks.
Sometimes a blow on the shoulder with a whip is useful to keep a horse straight.
Photo credit; Iain B Photography
In training, I often ride with a whip in each hand, so I have one on each side to keep it straight and think forward. “
Keep your hands still and still
Many riders make the mistake of desperately trying to keep their horse straight by pulling more on one rein than the other. This will only decrease drive and confuse the horse.
The reins are ultimately the brakes. Instead of thinking backwards and straight, we need to think forward and straight, which can only be achieved with the legs.
The reins should do very little when jumping over a thin fence and only come into play when your horse’s mouth is hooked. Then you should use the reins to soften contact while maintaining direction with your legs and / or the whip. “
No matter what type of thin fence you’re facing, or where the thin fence is in the pitch, the key is to stick with your system and not do anything radical just because it looks more like a challenge
Harriet is available for dressage, jumping and cross-country skiing lessons at her base near York.
To find out more, call Harriet at (07795) 562745 or visit www.harriet-morris-baumber.co.uk