On my intermediate teaching training day earlier this week I learnt an interesting rule about setting up cross poles.
The FEI states that cross poles should always have a space between the two poles, so they aren’t touching at the centre.
The reasoning is perfectly logical, of course. If the poles rest against each other then if a green horse wobbles on the approach and goes off centre, and clobbers the higher front pole. It leans against the other pole instead of falling off the cup and the horse is more likely to have a rotational fall, or peck on landing and unseat their rider, particularly a novice rider. If the poles have a gap in between then the rail falls easily and the horse isn’t hindered.
Now whilst I don’t actively push the poles together, I have never thought of actively separating them.
A useful little tip which I may become obsessive about in the next few weeks so that it becomes a good habit for exams.