Types of Cross Country Fences

All of us horsey people have at one time or another watched the cross country even if it was only on the TV. We’ve seen the Australian team flying around the course going over those huge obstacles with such grace and style while the rest of us are quietly being sick at the thought of even riding past one of those jumps let alone over it. Whether its at that elite level or your local pony club, have you ever wondered what those jumps are called and which jump is which? Perhaps you’ve even been walking the course and the names have slipped your mind! Well fear not, because in today’s blog post we cover all the common Cross Country Fences!

  • Brushes – jump generally has a solid base with brush added to the top to increase the height but allows the horse to jump through it.
  • Skinny – narrow jump which can be made of varying materials however it is a bit harder to ride and requires good control and straightness and can be quite challenging
  • Corner or Apex – is triangle shaped and is challenging as the horse needs to jump over one corner of the jump which can be narrow and angled

Apex Jump

  • Water – Varying degrees of difficulty depending on level and as the name suggests involves a water obstacle. They can just be a trot through or involve a drop jump into the water or a jump out, they can also have jumps in the water depending on the level.
  • Bank – Can be a jump up or down an incline
  • Steps – similar to a bank however there is a combination of drops to create steps
  • Ditches – As the name suggests a dropped area/trench in the course can be used in combination with other jumps
  • Arrowhead/Chevron – Narrow jump shaped like an upside-down triangle with pointy end facing the ground
  • Coffin – Combination jump, a rail/log is generally jump first then a few strides to a ditch then several strides to a second jump depending on level.
  • Wall – Solid built obstacle made from stone like material, can have a rail on top.
  • Trakehner – Ditch with a log above the ditch
  • Drop – similar to a bank, a fence is jumped however the landing is on a lower level then the take off.
  • Keyhole – large jump where the horse is required to jump through the centre of the jump, can be quite intimidating for the horse
  • Normandy – combination jump a bank or ditch is jumped first with a stride or bounce to a fence at the top of the bank then a drop down the other side only seen in higher levels.
  • Sunken Road – A drop down followed by a few strides then a jump up, higher levels can have fences added.
  • Tabletop – As the name suggest they resemble a table where the horse not only has to jump the height but also the width of the jump.


  • Roll Top – Have a rounded top and sometime resemble a barrel
  • Log – Can be a single log or several logs fixed together

Log Fence

  • House – solid jump that has the appearance of a house or barn
  • Sharks tooth – a combination of triangles with a rail on top

We hope that helps just a little to explain the different jumps and obstacles! Obviously, as the levels get higher the jumps may vary as the difficulty increases but the names remain the same. Happy Jumping!


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