Top Flight Equestrian

Distances Between Jumps and Poles

When setting distances between poles and jumps it can be daunting on where to start. Below you will find some helpful information on what works for me and a good starting point for you to spring board off of. Use it as a guide to help you start and then learn how to adjust for your level of horse and rider. Biggest tip for his one is to set more room than you think you need and start as poles (or small jumps) to make sure the horse can handle what you are asking and can easily maneuver if a mistake is made. Obviously we want the right amount but when in doubt it is always better to have too much room in case things go wrong instead of too little.

Below you will find the practical or “schooling” distance chart. These are more common and work for a variety of horses and riders when schooling at home. They accommodate for:
Shorter canter stride (9-11′)
Smaller fences (3′ and below)
Closer take off and landing (due to smaller fences, plan for 1 to 1.5 times the height of the fence)
Greener horses/riders

Below you will find the competition distances/ distances for bigger fences on a more open stride. They accommodate for:
12′ canter stride
Bigger fences (3’6″ and up)
6′ take off and landing
Experienced horses

There are a variety of distances and these are just suggestions. Below I will share some of the resource material for more information.

Distances from my Instructor Certification Material United States Eventing Association
Distance chart from 101 Jumping Exercises by Linda Allen
Distances from Creative Riding with Obstacles by Lina Zacha and Barbro Lagergren

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