We get a very lucky chance here to learn about show jumping from one of the best! My friend Kai, from Germany, shared with me a video of one of his competitions as well as his top tips for good show jumping. I hope you enjoy the video, and be sure to check out the tips below!
As with all things horses, there is not just one kind of jump. There are dozens of basic jump types, all with their own names and variations upon variations. Here is a diagram of the basic “cross rail” stadium jump. Stadium jumps can be knocked over, and are usually made out of light wooden or plastic poles resting between two supports, called “standards.” These poles are held up by “jump cups.” If a jump has a ground pole, you ALWAYS jump the jump so that the ground pole is in the front of the jump. At shows or busy arenas, there is always a red flag that marks the right side of the jump and a white flag that marks the left side. Always jump a jump with the red flag on the right side of the jump.
So I had a great question from Alese about tips for jumping. To kick it off, here’s a quick “top ten” of my jumping advice. You’ll notice quite a few of these are from my “top-ten always said” list–jumping is a lot like dressage, just with bumps!
1. You go where you look. This law is true for good and bad. It means that your horse can tell which way to turn after a jump just because you’re looking at the next jump–or it can mean your horse comes to a skidding halt because you’re looking down at the jump! Picking a tree or building to look at that is directly beyond your jump can help you keep your eyes up and ride a straight line to your jump.
Horse shows are a great way to have fun and show off everything you’ve been learning. But they can also be a big headache if things go wrong. Your pony might pick that day to throw a shoe or develop a new fear of bushes, you might lose your crop or arrive at the fairgrounds only to realize the bridle you KNOW you put in the trailer isn’t there… Luckily we horse-people always conveniently forget the trials and happily sign up for more shows.
To help everything go more smoothly, I’m offering a series of blogs and videos about the English Horse Show. Today, I’ll talk about what to wear, thanks to a great question by Courtney!
1. Dressage: look pretty (it’s figure skating on horse back).
2. Stadium jumping: go fast, don’t knock down any jump rails.
3. Cross country: go faster, jump “natural” things (water, ditches, stone walls).
4. Eventing: Do it all–dressage, stadium jumping, & cross country.
5. Show hunter: You and your horse look good while jumping.
6. Equitation: Look good yourself, either jumping or not.
7. Jumpers: Get over the fences, fast as you can–but don’t knock rails!
8. Rodeo: be a proper cowboy (lots of events)
9. Pole bending: Go fast through a line of poles (like slalom).
10. Barrel racing: Go fast around three different barrels. Don’t knock them over!
11. Calf roping: Lasso a running calf from horseback.
12. Reining: look pretty (it’s like dressage).
13. Cutting: Use your horse to get one particular animal out of a herd.
14. Western pleasure: Ride better than all the others riding with you in the arena.
15. Fox hunting: Stay on, follow the leader. Jump the hedges if you want!
16. Polo: Hit the ball (not your horse!) with a mallet through the goal.
17. Polocrosse: Throw the ball through a goal using a pseudo-lacrosse stick.
18. Driving: Control your horse perfectly while he pulls you in a cart.
19. Trail riding/endurance: Finish the ride at the right time, as calmly as possible.
20. Horse racing: Be the fastest!
If this list has you interested, please subscribe to our site and get a free pamphlet with a much more thorough explanation of horse sports!!!
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Thanks to the timely comment of one of my readers, I learned that I underestimated just how far the benefits of riding can go! Not only can riding teach responsibility, self confidence and a whole slew of powerful skills, it can also fetch scholarships all across the country.
After a bit of web snooping, I realized I’d just clipped the edge of an incredible iceberg.