In Part 1 of Liza Boyd's series on acing your hunter derby rounds, we learned about how to pick up and keep a good pace. Then, in Part 2, we practiced mastering the bending line. This week in Part 3, we'll discover how to tackle the trot fence during your derby course.
The Challenge: Derby dreams are often dashed at the trot fence. Set in the middle of a course, the trot fence represents a challenging change in pace and format and is the nemesis of many good riders. But as my dad always says, “Trot fences don’t have to be great, they just have to not be bad.” You just want to avoid the duo disasters: cantering the last couple of strides or getting left behind the motion.
Your Goal: Come back from the canter to the trot smoothly at a distance from the trot fence that works for you and your horse. Then nicely jump over the trot fence and canter away with purpose.
The Exercise: Set up a small vertical with eight to 10 strides to a simple trot fence with standards and poles—in the beginning the trot fence will be just a pole on the ground. This is not about the size of the trot fence. It is about the horse and the rider getting comfortable with this test.
To read the full version of this article, check out the original story in the June 2017 issue of Practical Horseman.