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Clearing the Obstacles - A Guide to Show Jumping

Aug 19, 2008
Going to horse shows, the equestrian show jumping event is one of the most popular attractions. The team work between horse and man, the physical challenges of overcoming obstacles, the pressures of a timed event, make show jumping a truly marvelous spectacle to watch.

In a show jumping course, there are five different types of jumps to overcome:

-verticals
-spreads
-combinations
-walls
-water jumps

Prior to the event, the riders will study the course to determine the best strategy to tackle it. They calculate how many strides between each jump and the tightest line to take in order to save time. However, it is usually best to go over the allotted time than to be assessed penalties.

Penalties, or faults can be assessed by the following ways:

-knocking over an obstacle: 4 faults
-first disobedience of horse for refusing a jump: 4 faults
-rider falls off the horse: 8 faults
-exceeding the time limit: either a quarter-point per second or 1 point per second

The above are considered minor infractions but there are other infractions that result in disqualification:

-second disobedience from the horse
-horse refusing a jump for more than 45 seconds
-a fall by the horse
-going the wrong way in the obstacle course, missing a turn or a jump
-receiving help from an outside source while on course

To negotiate an obstacle course under the prescribed amount of time, trust and cooperation is vital for a successful run with no penalties. When a horse gets head strong and the rider has to react by pulling on the reins, kicking hard or turning hard, that's a sign that the partnership is not going well.

The horse jumps over the obstacles guided by the motion of the riders legs and the reins. However, the horse can also sense the rider's emotions and reacts to that as well. It is a constant interaction between the rider and the horse. A perfect run through the obstacle course should seem effortless as the horse and rider work in unison.

Unlike other sports and their horse racing counterparts, show jumping horses get better with age and experience. The top horses are between nine and fifteen years of age with at least four years of training. Likewise, the riders need the experience and discipline to remain calm to guide the horse through the obstacle course.

Indeed, show jumping is an equestrian event where grace under pressure marks the characteristics of a champion rider and horse alike.
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Drop In Bucket is your source for horse care supplies. Keep pests at bay with horse fly masks and horse fly sheets .
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