By Sally Spickard
If you’re tight on space at home, it can be challenging to find new ways to practice both over fences and on the flat. While we gave you some idea for how to utilize small arena space on the flat, the question of how to incorporate fence remains.
We consulted event rider and trainer Kate Samuels of Charlottesville, Va., and she gave us one of her go-to exercises at home. “I don’t have much in the way of space, so I have to get creative,” she said. Kate spends a lot of time both working with her upper level horse, but also training young off-track Thoroughbreds and other horses – so getting creative is a must.
For this exercise, Kate recommends setting up three jumps (or even ground poles/cavaletti) up the center of the arena, as pictured in this diagram. The jumps should be about 20 meters apart, if space allows. If not, make do with what you can – just make sure the jumps are equidistant from one another.
This exercise can be leveled up or down, depending on what you want to focus on. A simple three loop serpentine can be used, or you can practice sharper angles, as indicated by the teal arrows.
Remember – even if you have a 1.20m jumper, you don’t need to jump at height every time. Ground poles, raised cavaletti, or small jumps can help you work on technique and accuracy without causing unnecessary wear and tear on your horse’s legs.
Even if you’re low on space, this exercise can be used for horses of all levels. Plus, anything beats going in a circle all day long!