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How to Ride Over Show Fences

Oct 31, 2007
Show Jumping, has now definitely "arrived" in Great Britain as an international sport. Being a dual performance, dependent upon the harmonious synchronization of action and movement of horse and rider, it takes precedence above purely individual sports. In addition to being a decorative and exciting spectacle, jumping can afford anyone an enthralling subject for study.

Riding over fences in the ring is an art of its own, requiring skill, nerve, cool determination, and mutual sympathy and understanding. There is no doubt that some riders have a natural flair for Show Jumping, but there can be no reason why those not so fortunately gifted should not learn to acquit themselves with distinction, by intelligent application of the principles involved.

There are three main factors upon which show jumping success depends. The horse's natural jumping propensities must be of a sufficiently high standard to be capable of being molded to compete with great heights and spreads, and he needs to be bold, courageous, but nevertheless calm.

His training on the flat will clearly determine the quality and efficiency of the whole performance, and the attitude or position adopted by the rider will affect directly his ability to control and influence the horse's movements and effort. For purposes of convenience and study, a Show Jumping round can be divided into five distinct phases which, in practice, merge into one smooth and fluent whole, showing grace and rhythm of movement.

During the approach the rider is making arrangements for jumping the next fence; at the take-off, when the horse is making the propulsive effort required to clear the obstacle, the rider is adjusting his weight to conform with the horse's upward and forward movement; while airborne, the rider is again distributing his weight in order that it in no way interferes with the horse's jumping effort; on landing, he is ensuring that his attitude is conducive to instantaneous control; and immediately after, he is again commencing the approach.

Throughout, the rider is relying on the dividends obtained from training on the flat. Initial education in free forward movement enables him to vary pace. Obedience to hand and leg makes possible control of stride, and facilitates changes in direction. The maintenance of balance makes the approach work smooth, the horse's jumping effort of maximum power, and his head carriage constant. The production of impulsion carries with it a reserve of energy, which can be disposed of at will.

Jumping is a fascinating and tantalizing game. It embraces so many different angles of equitation. It allows of different styles and techniques. But there can be no doubt that the hunting field provides a basis which is shared by no other country.

The approach can be taken as the total length of track taken by the horse during a round, with the exception of the distance covered from the time the forelegs leave the ground till the hind legs land the far side of the fence. Patently, then, it is the most important phase, and determines entirely the very necessary requisite of clearing the fence.

The rider's objective, dependent upon training on the flat, is precision at the speed applicable to the event, which is coincidental with the approach phase. The ideal approach is unhurried, calm, smooth, and fluent. It should, above all, be happy and confident.

The rider's attitude should be arranged so that he can give his indications clearly and quietly, maintain balance at all times, and generally ride the course according to plan. He must take care not to overweight the loins, and, by intelligent anticipation, control the situation with lightness and sympathy of hand and leg.

With some training, it is quite possible for any horseman to achieve a satisfactory standard of show jumping.
About the Author
These Well-Kept Secrets On Show Jumping Will Have You Jumping 7 Foot Log Jumps In Just A Few Days

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