Jumping a fence successfully needs more than just a kick-and-go strategy. Rider and trainer John Thelwall shows us how to tackle fences with purpose.


The most important thing to remember on the approach to a fence is balance and rhythm – get these two things right and your chances of success will soar. This is something that can easily be trained at home.

Take off

Getting a perfect take off is all about leaving the ground at the right spot and creating the power and impulsion to get up and over the fence.

Your job is to get your horse to the fence correctly to give him the best possible chance of a powerful take off.

In flight

Once your horse has left the ground, this is called the ‘in flight’ stage and he’s doing all the work now. Your job is to not get in the way and prepare yourself for landing, which often comes quicker than you’re expecting.


So you’re nearly over and it’s time for touch down. It’s important you stay in balance so that your horse can move away quickly. Don’t throw your reins at him as you land; he needs you to be ready for the next phase.


As you canter away from the fence, it’s important to re-establish balance and rhythm as this is effectively the start of your approach to the next fence.

Remember your horse has no clue where you’re going, so make it easy for him.

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