Lessons Learned: Fence Height Barn Hack

All you need is colored tape!

$15 later and I will never again have to wonder what height we’re jumping. (Photo by Ainsley Jacobs of Ride Heels Down)

Now that we’re done with Beginner Novice and Novice is coming easily, we’re working towards our goal of moving up to Training!

A few months ago when my awesome coach had the opportunity to purchase her own farm, I was left trainer-less. My riding buddy, Mary Campbell of Mare Goods, put together fab new jumps for us to work over and another girl, Catherine, supplied even more jumps that her amazing grandfather made, but I was still left wondering what height exactly we were jumping during our schooling sessions on our own – and it’s hard to train for a specific height if you don’t know where you’re at!

Instead of leaving things up to chance and accidentally jumping Novice and thinking I was jumping Training, or overshooting and jumping higher than Training, I decided to take charge and eliminate any room for error when it came to my training plan to get to Training.

I purchased $15 worth of colored duct tapes and spent a few minutes one morning at the barn with a measuring tape marking jumps. I set it so that the top of each tape corresponds to its specific eventing level/height. For example, the top of the yellow (Beginner Novice) tape measure 2’7″. The top of the white (Novice) measures 2’11”, the top of the black (Training) measures 3’3″ and the top of the green (Prelim) measures 3’7″.

Now, I can see at a glance what height I’m jumping and know exactly what I need. There’s also approximately 4″ between the tops of each tape, so it makes seeing “in between” heights really simple, too!

Ever since I marked the jumps, schooling has gotten a LOT easier and my confidence has grown a ton. An ambiguously-set Training height jump used to scare the pants off of me, but now that I can clearly see where it is, it really doesn’t look that big anymore! And, I have confidence in knowing that I can adequately prepare JJ and myself for our (attempted) move up, coming soon… I hope.

JJ is loving getting to jump training height stuff! (Photo from video by Lauren Turner of River Birch Farm)


If you have a goal, don’t rely on someone else to get you there. Take initiative and plan the steps to make it possible.

Ainsley Jacobs is an adult amateur based out of Atlanta, Georgia. She started riding huntseat equitation when she was eight, and has tried practically every discipline since then. In 2014, Ainsley discovered eventing and it changed her life! She purchased her first horse, JJ Spot, in February 2016 and chronicles their successes (and struggles) of learning to overcome literal and figurative obstacles in her blog at www.RideHeelsDown.com.

Photo by Erik Jacobs/P.TEN Marketing

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