Are you looking for ways to improve your horse’s athleticism and carefulness over a jump? Here’s a breakdown of how different questions can affect and perhaps even help resolve different jumping problems:

Ground poles

A placing pole on the ground before and/or after a fence will help a horse to drop his head, look at what he is doing and use himself over the jump. Alternatively, kind ground lines on a fence (to create a greater base spread) will help your horse to bascule.

V poles

You can use two poles shaped to taper into a ‘V’ either on the floor or resting on a fence to help improve your horse’s front leg technique over a jump.


This is a good type of jump to start your warm-up over. The ‘V’ shape of a cross pole encourages your horse to remain straight over the jump and to tuck his legs up. Obviously, the taller the cross pole, the narrower the ‘V’ will be, making it a more advanced question. 


Your horse will make a taller, more acute bascule shape over a vertical fence. Upright fences require your horse to be quick-moving with his front legs and will need to lift his shoulders higher and faster due to the profile of the fence.


An oxer will help to get your horse up in the air. You can change the profile and technicality of the fence by making it ascending (where the front rail is lower than the back rail, this is easier) or square (where both front and back rails are at the same height, which is a trickier question as your horse has to be quicker with his front legs).

Triple bar

This fence is made with three poles of ascending height. This will encourage your horse to stretch and open out his frame, and they require more power to clear due to the wide nature of the spread.


Obviously fillers add another dimension to a fence in that they give your horse more to look at. Fillers are useful for instilling more of a round shape into your horse’s jump. They are also a useful tool for backing off an over-bold horse.


Planks work the same way as a vertical, creating a tall, steep jump shape. Planks create a more solid-looking fence, so your horse may back off slightly. They usually also lack a ground line, which will draw your horse close into the fence, meaning your horse will need a bit of extra power to clear them.

Water tray

Water trays create a similar reaction in a horse as to those jumps with fillers. Your horse is very likely to take his head and neck down to look at the water tray before putting in a slightly bigger and rounder jump than he would over a plain fence. You can move the water tray around underneath the fence to make either a ditch towards or ditch behind if you so wish. This will alter the steepness in take-off or landing depending on where the water tray is.

Ready to show off your skills at a competition, or perhaps you want some expert advice? Check out equoevents.com to find shows local to you and all over the UK