How do you work on cross-country corner fences with your horse ?
Corner fences are one of the most difficult obstacles in the cross-country phase because they really encourage horses to run past them. I’m going to tell you about a few jump setups that I use in order to train yourself and your horse to master them on the cross-country.
The corner jump is more or less equivalent to jumping an oxer on an angle. To begin your session, start warming your horse up by jumping verticals normally.
Once the warm-up is over, you can start jumping verticals again, but this time, on an angle. When you feel that your horse is forward enough and that he does not hesitate, start jumping oxers on an angle too.
Once it goes well, you can tackle corner fences. Always start with a small one before trying larger ones.
A little reminder: You can setup a corner fence with two poles arranged in a ‘V’ shape by using three jumps stands.
When I walk a cross-country course, the main thing I focus on for corner jumps is the line to follow. On which line of approach will I jump this obstacle? It all depends on the horse I’m riding:
If I know that my horse has enough stamina to go the distance but has a tendency to run out, I will not hesitate to jump where the fence is wider.
If, on the contrary, my horse doesn’t have as much stamina, but I know he’s an honest jumper who never runs out, I will jump the narrow end of the corner. At this end, it can be tempting for the horse to run past the fence, but it is also where you have the least width to clear. So, your approach will always depend on your horse’s behaviour.
A few tips: To secure the jump, you can:
-Place a barrel next to the narrow end of the corner to prevent your horse from running out and force him to jump.
-Use a ground line perpendicular to your trajectory (not parallel to the first pole of the corner).
Using a ground line perpendicular to your line of approach makes things clearer for your horse when he discovers the fence. Later on, when he is used to jumping such fences, you will be able to place the pole as it is most often found in competitions, i.e. parallel to the front part of the corner.
Corner jumps require a lot of precision in your line. Obviously, you also need very good balance to control your horse.
At a higher level, you can encounter corner jumps in combinations. So, for example, there won’t just be a ‘treasure chest’ jump followed by a corner fence. There can sometimes be two or three corner jumps one after another, with related distances and a fairly precise number of strides and precise trajectories. That’s why it’s important to train well at home on the line of approach for corner jumps!
Have you ever tried to work on corner jumps? What do you think of this email? Leave me a comment here.