Stand off the fence and don’t drift.
This exercise has a whole bunch of benefits. It is created first and foremost for horses that are rushing their fences. The V pole will make them stand off the fence.
This is not the only benefit though. This exercise will also help horses that drift and horses that need to improve the technique over a fence. It will also make the horse “think” more and assess the situation.
Put a vertical fence in the middle of the arena as shown above. Construct a V-shape with 2 poles, with the V resting on the top rail of the fence. Put a ground pole about 40 cm in front of the fence. If drifting is your problem you can reinforce the exercise with 4 cones (as shown in picture above).
Start off with a lower fence and a wider V (picture A). If you ride a novice horse you can approach this in trot, but continue into canter as soon as possible. Try out both left and right canter, note the difference, has your horse got more of an issue on one side? Write down your experience in a notebook, it can help you with future training sessions.
Once your horse has understood the task, start to narrow the gap between the two poles in the V until they touch (picture B and C).
If your horse is more experienced you can start with the poles touching (picture C).
Note!! This exercise do not suit horses that stand off the fences. It should also be used with caution when dealing with nervous horses.
Done correctly this exercise should make the horse back off the fence a little, which in turn should make it possible for the rider to ride with a softer hand. The horse should also use a better technique over the fence, especially the front leg action. Focus on the fence should also improve along with straightness over the fence.
Want to practise some more??
Written by @stinaharvidsson with inspiration from Eddy Andersson