This exercise allows one to approach combinations with confidence; therefore, I strongly recommend it for preparing young horses and riders with little experience.
The 50 centimetre cross-poles regulate the horse’s stride and allow the following fences to be approached always in the same rhythm and with the same quality canter. The oxer will be easy to raise, because the problem of the distances involved are solved: in fact, there is no other choice except to put in one stride between the first and the second fence, and 2 strides between the second and the third. With less experienced riders it is advisable to place a distance pole (at 2.50 metres or 3 metres) in front of the exercise.
The horse : Having a calm and regular-paced horse is a fundamental condition for correctly approaching the line.
The rider : It is crucial to remain calm, and to use one’s wide-angle vision. Enter the exercise at a “schooling” canter (or, if you prefer, a working canter) and take care to maintain the same quality in your canter after the line, by imagining that there is a very large oxer to be jumped further ahead. You must of course remember to ‘go with’ your horse and move your hands forward to follow the jump when approaching the last fence.
The cross-poles placed at the entrance of the exercise can be kept and easily put up to a height of about 1 m. The height of the vertical will depend on the level of the horse and the rider. The oxer, on the other hand, can be raised because it never usually presents a problem, especially when placed at the end of a line. All this on condition that the fences are raised progressively and that the horse is well rewarded every time it jumps the line correctly.
Number of times the exercise should be ridden : Repeat a maximum of 3 or 4 times