Show jumping is one of the most spectacular forms of equestrianism and is one of the most widely known and recognisable sport. If you attend any kind of outdoor show during the summer months you are almost certain to see a show jumping competition, hugely favoured by competitors and spectators alike. Indeed, show jumping is an established Olympic sport, which carries recognition at the highest levels.
This sport is designed to show the affinity between the horse and its rider, the levels of performance, agility, ambition, training and coordination. A course is laid out with a number of different show jumps in a variety of different combinations and structures. There will be a number of different changes of direction, together with a requirement for the horse and rider to change tempo from time to time to be able to clear those numerous obstacles in the correct order. The ultimate purpose is to achieve a clean jumping record over the course in the best time possible.
The beauty and diversity of show jumping is in the number of different horse jumps that are set out and the combinations thereof. For example, you can expect to find different vertical variations, double and triple combinations and to set the stage the rider is allowed to look at the course before the actual competition itself. As could be expected, the more important the competition itself, the more technical the course will be.
While there are many rules and regulations, points or “faults” are basically deducted when the horse refuses to jump, or there’s a knockdown with these points being added to a competitor’s score accordingly. If any show jump construction is damaged as a result of a poor jump or a refusal, additional penalties are added, due to the amount of time it takes the organisers to replace everything.
There are an amazing number of different show jumps available and you can always create a course that will be unique and challenging for the competitors, no matter how “veteran” they may be. You can choose plastic show jumps or timber show jumps in a variety of different designs and colours. Show jumps are also configured according to the BSJA specification.
To give an idea of the variety available you can select blocks, poles, wings, planks, fillers, water trays, ladders, gates and all can be configured in a variety of combinations to produce a truly spectacular end result. As this type of event is very photogenic, often attracts a large number of spectators and is really made-for-TV, sponsor graphics and other messages can be added to those plastic jumps or timber jumps to help with the event’s commercial viability.
Many a young rider aspires to the show jumping circuit, yet a lot of practice and application is required first. It’s vital that the rider really knows the horse and that the correct attire and equipment is selected. There is scarcely anything more exhilarating in equestrianism, however, than achieving a clean run and “besting” your competitive class. This is truly a case of the horse and the rider working together.
Nick Morgan is a renowned professional when it comes to the details relating to show jumps. To find out more information about horse jumps, go to the web site at … http://www.horseshowjumps.co.uk/