JUMPING BOUNCE FENCES - Reap the benefits

Bounce fences are great for improving both horse and rider - and adding them to your horse's training will reap benefits if you plan to go cross country.

bounce fences
These type of fences do not have non-jumping strides in between them - the horse lands with his front feet over one fence but then has to pick up to take off for the second fence, just as his hind feet touch the ground, having negotiated the first fence.

To tackle these fences successfully the horse has to be sharper in his shoulders, picking up his front legs neatly and also using his hindlegs more actively. More athleticism and power is needed from the horse and he has to think quickly.

Once a horse has had experience of jumping bounce fences he will find it easier to tackle cross country fences such as drops and steps.

You can introduce your horse to bounce fences as part of a grid, providing your horse is comfortable jumping a grid. Your first bounce fences must be small as your horse needs the opportunity to realise what he has to do. You could introduce just one bounce into a grid eg a small cross pole to a small vertical. The distance between the two bounce fences should not be less than 12ft unless they are very small.

Make sure your horse is confident bouncing between two fences before you start to add any more - and remember that it's sensible to restrict yourself to no more than five fences in a bounce grid. This is because the exercise is strenuous for the horse, especially as the fence height increases.

It's important that the rider keeps the horse balanced and with plenty of impulsion to negotiate bounce fences - and riders will also find that riding bounces helps improve their own balance and suppleness. Read more jumping exercises and tips