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Show jumping is a very exciting and invigorating sport. Show jumping is sometimes called stadium jumping, open jumping or jumpers. Show jumping is a very popular equine sport world wide. The goal in show jumping is to be the fastest one around a course of jumps without knocking any of the jumps or the poles on the jumps over.
“Time faults are assessed for exceeding the time allowance. Jumping faults are incurred for knockdowns and blatant disobedience, such as refusals (when the horse stops before a fence or “runs out”)”. “People unfamiliar with horse shows may be confused by the difference between hunter classes and jumper classes. Hunters are judged subjectively on the degree to which they meet an ideal standard of manners, style, and way of going. Conversely, jumper classes are scored objectively, based entirely on a numerical score determined only by whether the horse attempts the obstacle, clears it, and finishes the course in the allotted time.”
There are many different kinds of jumps in show jumping. Unlike hunter jumps, jumper jumps are very brightly colored. In the highest levels they are very creative and detailed in design. Some of the kinds of jumps in show jumping are a vertical. A vertical is one jump “that consists of poles or planks placed one directly above another” with no “width to jump”. An oxer, is two verticals placed very close to each other to give the jump more width. Another kind of show jumping jump is open water. This is a jump where the horse does not need to jump that high, but long. Open water jumps are never very high, but can be 13 feet wide
English show jumping saddles vary from the typical all purpose English saddle. Show jumping saddles are either called close contact or jumper saddles. Close contact saddles are designed with a shorter and more forward placed flap. “This construction allows greater freedom of movement for the rider when in jumping position, and allows a shorter stirrup, allowing the rider to lighten the seat on the horse.” Show jumping riders do not dress as formally as other English disciplines. “An approved ASTM/SEI equestrian helmet” and tall boots are mandatory. “Spurs are optional, but commonly used.” “At FEI Grand Prix levels, tradition is very strong and riders dress in a more formal manner. White shirts and breeches are worn with black boots. Some riders may be seen in red jackets with a collar that is primarily blue and lined with white, a style reserved only for riders who have competed internationally for the United States Equestrian Team.”
Almost any horse can jump, but not all horses can make a good show jumper. A show jumping horse must be very brave to be able to jump high and “scary” fences. They also must have sufficient athleticism to take the tight turns and be strong enough to launch themselves over extraordinary heights and lengths. The majority of show jumping horses are very tall, usually taller than 17 hands (5 feet 6 inches at the shoulders). The most common horses used in show jumping are Warmbloods are thoroughbreds. This is because of the breed’s characteristically long legs and speed, which is essentially in any good show jumping horse.
Show jumping is one of the funnest English disciplines. It requires a lot of hard work and patience, but it is definitely worth it. May you have glorious jumping days and soar to spectacular heights!
Here is a video of Eric Lamaze and Hickstead at the International Grand Prix in 2008. They won by an amazing 35.80 seconds, none of the other competitors “came close to catching Lamaze’s winning time”