When I used to show, I thought it looked really cool to pretend I was measuring the distances between the fences and saying “Yeah there are 6 short strides, or 5 long there” when I actually didn’t know what I was doing 😂.
Up until a little while ago, I still needed my little memo to know the distance I was supposed to set up between two fences. So I thought of you, and I’m going to give you THE secret to always know the distance you should put between two poles.
Scope at each gait, on the flat and while jumping
Before we start setting up the poles, we need to be aware of the average scope for horses and ponies, on the flat and while jumping. And by that I mean the size of a stride in the different cases. Let’s start with that.
The scope of the horse on the flat
On the flat, the scope is around 2.80m-3m or horses, and it can go down to 2.40 for small ponies.
If you wish to place ground poles at canter, you can set them up every 3m! Keep in mind that if you place your poles between 2.5m and 3m, you won’t be too far off.
💡 Small tip: To find the scope for ponies, we cut 20cm per pony category (-20cm for a 148 pony, -40cm for a 138 poney, and -60 for a 128 pony).
At walk and at trot
Keep in mind that we usually divide by 2 between each gait.
So you get 1.50m at trot, and 0.75-0.80 at walk for a horse. Do the same sum for ponies, and you’ll get 1.20 to 1.40m at trot, and 0.60 – 0.70cm at walk between each ground pole.
💡Little tip: measure with your feet!
If you are, like a lot of us, unsure of how to measure 1m with a big step, you can use the feet method!
If your shoe size is US 7.5 or UK 5.5, your foot measures 25cm (27cm for US 9.5, and 23cm for US 5). So you can approximately count 4 feet for a meter!
Don’t get confused with the unit of measure ft: 4ft represents around 120cm.
3 things to keep in mind:
1. The scope at canter of a horse on the flat is 3m
2. Remove 20cm of this distance by pony category (-20 cm for a 148 class pony, -40 for a 138, – 60 for a 128)
3. To get the distance at trot or at walk, divide the canter distance by 2 or by 4
|On the flat||Canter||Trot||Walk|
|128 Pony||2.40 m||1.20 m||0.60 m|
|138 Pony||2.60 m||1.30 m||0.65 m|
|148 Pony||2.80 m||1.40 m||0.70 m|
|Horse||3.00 m||1.50 m||0.75m|
The scope of the horse while jumping
While jumping, the scope at canter between the jumps is more important than the scope during flatwork. That’s because we ask from the horse a wider and faster canter when it jumps. This change will have an impact on the space between the poles!
We will use as a reference a 3.50m scope at canter for a horse. As we did for flatwork, we remove 20cm per pony category.
|128 Pony||2.40 m||2.90 m|
|138 Pony||2.60 m||3.10 m|
|148 Pony||2.80 m||3.30 m|
|Horse||3.00 m||3.50 m|
With 2 strides, your horse will logically travel 7m.
📚 Read more: 5 courses you can do with few equipment
What distance should I set up between poles?
Now that you are aware of your horse’s scope, we’re going to be able to figure out the distance you should set up in combinations and between ground poles.
A formula to remember for ground poles and fences < 1.15m
To figure out the distance between the poles, no matter the conditions, you only need to remember a single formula:
Distance (m) = (number of strides + 1) x scope (m)
With this easy formula, you can easily set up ground poles and gridwork lines!
⚠️ Distances between the two fences are to set up not edge to edge but from middle to middle. This means that in the case of a line with an oxer, the distance will be from the middle of the width of the oxer. The edge to edge distance will be shorter.
📚 Read more: 4 gridwork lines you have to try!
Why this formula?
I see you already thinking “But why (number of strides +1)??”. Let me show you:
Yes, you have to count the distance between the first fence and the landing, and also between the last stride and the pole!
A few examples
If for instance you want to set up ground poles lines like “bounce jumps but with ground poles” on the flat, the number of strides will be 0 so the distance will be 3m. Indeed, the formula is:
Distance = (0+1) x 3m (scope of the canter on the flat) = 3m
However if you want to set up two small fences spaced by 4 strides, you’ll put (4+1) x 3.5 (jumping canter scope) = 17.5 m.
⚠️ Be careful: bounce jumps are an exception. You have to use the scope on the flat for a bounce jump.
Fences > 1.15 m
Over 1.15 m, the formula changes a bit. It becomes:
Distance (m) = number of strides x scope (m) + 3 x height (m)
The difference between the two formulas isn’t huge, but with the height, the approach and the landing are a bit further away from the pole, so you need to make the distances bigger!
Remember 3 things to place your poles:
1. The distance is equal to (nb of strides +1) x scope for ground poles or fences under 1.15m
2. The distance is equal to nb of strides x scope (m) + 3 x height (m) for fences over 1.15m
3. For ground poles, count 2.8m-3m
Here you go, distances between poles have no secret for you! 🤩
See you soon for another article