Counting Strides

When competing riders should maintain a good pace with an even rhythm neither speeding up nor slowing down. The horse must reach the “spot” or distance of takeoff in front of the jump correctly. A bad “spot” is when a horse jumps from too far or too closes causing a change in rhythm. When riding you count strides so preferably all your strides will be the same.

An average horse’s stride is 12 feet long [1]

In a class with a fence height of 2’6” or lower [2]:

  • 3 strides= 46’
  • 4 strides= 58’
  • 5 strides= 70’
  • 6 strides 82’

Strides are very important in horseback riding. When completing a course there are a prescribed number of strides one must complete between each jump to get the points. As stated above, the average stride of a horse is 12 feet. Below I am going to give a scenario:


A rider must calculate the correct number of strides in order to complete the course at a constant pace. Because we know the distance between the jumps we can figure out the number of strides.

  • Jumps 3 and 4 are 70 feet apart
    • 70/12 ≈ 5 strides
  • Jumps 7 and 8 are 82 feet apart
    • 82/12 ≈ 6 strides
  • Jumps 5 and 6 are 58 feet apart
    • 58/12 ≈ 4 strides

If the rider counts the strides correctly and maintains a consistent pace he or she will do very well.



[1]: USEF. “Hunter Course Design.” (n.d.): n. pag. United States Equestrian Federation. Web.

[2]: Ibid.

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