The Magazine January 2019

Tackling skinnies and corners at home with Nick Gauntlett

Posted 13th November 2018

Accuracy questions offer little room for error, but with Nick Gauntlett’s tips for tackling skinnies and corners at home, you’ll soon be flying over them

Nick Gauntlett jumping skinnies exercise, with thanks to Ariat

For a number of reasons, it can be difficult to dedicate as much time to cross-country fences as the other phases. However, there are exercises you can do in your arena at home that will help to prepare you for your next cross-country schooling session or competition. This month we’ll be delving into accuracy questions with skinny fences and corners.


If your horse is new to skinnies, or if they’re something you struggle with, visual guides in the form of V-poles can be a great way to make this type of fence as straightforward as possible, building confidence in you both. All you need is two poles – ideally heavy wooden ones, as these tend to stay where you put them, even if they’re on the receiving end of a bit of a clout.

riding exercise diagram, skinny fences

Top tip

Your horse’s ears are like the sights on a gun – anything you can see between them is directly within his line of focus. Riding skinny fences can be as simple as that – just make sure you can always see the middle of the fence through his ears, then rest assured that you’ve made his job perfectly clear to him.


When you jump a corner, you’re actually riding to an imaginary bisecting line, making it no different to an ordinary spread fence. To find this line, picture the corner from above. Then, divide it in half from the pointed end across to the middle of the wide end. That’s the line you want to have in mind as you approach, and always aim to be perpendicular to it.

riding exercise diagram, how to jump corners

With thanks to Ariat for their help with this feature,

For more great advice from top eventer Nick Gauntlett on how to ride these tricky fence types pick up a copy of January Horse&Rider, on sale 15 November.

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