In Part 1 and Part 2 of eventer Kyle Carter's series on cross-country ditches, he demonstrated how to walk your horse parallel to a ditch and then how to jump poles beside the ditch. In Part 3, he'll show us how to gradually move the poles over the ditch as a last step before jumping the ditch on its own. Refresh your memory on the first two sections, if needed, and then check out Part 3 below.
Step 3: Move the Poles Over the Ditch
Step 3: Gradually Move the Poles Over the Ditch
Next, your ground person is going to move the poles 1 foot in the direction of the ditch so that their ends now overlap its edges slightly. If your ditch is wider than 6 inches, spread the ends of the poles apart just enough so they rest on its edges. Leave the other ends of the poles about 6 inches apart, so they create a wedge shape.
Canter to the poles again in the very same way that you did in Step 2. As before, dictate the line your horse takes, aiming for the exact center of the poles. Be very clear about this and don’t allow any wavering.
Repeat this about five times. Then ask your ground person to move the rails another foot over the ditch. Canter over the center of the poles another five times.
Continue this process until the poles are completely overlapping the ditch and your horse is jumping it and the poles in a single effort. I promise, if you ride the approach the same way every time and never get complacent, he will jump it!
Stay tuned for the final exercise in Part 4!
This article was originally published in the November 2017 issue of Practical Horseman.