The sport of horse jumping is prominent all over the world, including the Olympics. Each year hundreds of horses and riders participate in these Equestrian competitions and have become popular entertainment sources.
In addition to being a popular sport, horse jumping has sparked a lot of speculation. Despite some stating that horse jumping is entirely safe, others say you can potentially hurt your horses and riders.
In this article, we will walk you through all the significant pointers that will help you better understand what show jumping is. What are the critical risk factors included, and how can you train your horse for show jumping events?
What is Show Jumping?
Rather than jumping to any conclusions, let’s first take a closer look at what showjumping exactly is.
Showjumping is a sport in which horses and riders compete over the course of fences at a predetermined pace in order to test their jumping abilities.
Both horses and riders benefit from showjumping due to its agility and focus. It takes physical skills to maneuver through a set of obstacles while employing mental skills to plan the best lines and approaches for the horse to navigate.
What Breed of Horse is Used for Show Jumping?
Horses have a natural tendency to jump. However, it doesn’t mean that all of them can jump well. Let’s examine what breed of horses can jump well.
Some famous show jumping horse breeds are- Holsteiner, Hanoverian, Arabian, Trakehner, Oldenburg, Quarter Horse, Dutch Warmblood, Irish sport horse, thoroughbred and Belgian warmblood.
The legs and muscles of these horses are powerful, enabling them to jump over obstacles with ease and effectiveness. Typically these horses are bold, athletic, and hotblooded, and as a result, they dominate the jumping rings well.
Is Show Jumping Cruel to Horses?
Although showjumping has become a popular sport, do horses really enjoy jumping? Or are they forced to do so? Read on to know if showjumping is really cruel to horses or not.
Taking part in showjumping is not always cruel to horses. It becomes cruel when the animal is forced to compete too frequently, when not given adequate time to recover, or when riders use heavy equipment and pain-reliever to train them.
Since horses have an instinct to run and jump, they usually enjoy doing so. Thus, most of the time, they love participating in show-jumping events. It becomes cruel, however, if they are forced to jump.
What is the Best Show Jumping Horse in the World?
Having discovered that there are a variety of breeds used in show jumping, let’s examine what is the best show jumping horse in the world.
Snowman is considered as the best show jumping horse in the world. With its longest jumps of 7 feet 2 inches, Snowman has won numerous championships and was named the Equestrian Horse of the Year by USEF in 1958.
After snowman, snowbound, stroller, Big Ben, Gem Twist and Huaso are the best show jumping horses of all time. Internationally, they have been lauded for their outstanding achievements.
How Much Does a Good Show Jumping Horse Cost?
Horse Jumping is one of the famous equestrian events in the Olympics, followed by dressage and eventing. This factor probably drives the demand and cost for show jumping horses. Let’s see how much they actually cost
Their level of expertise determines the cost of show jumping horses. The price of professional horses starts at 10,000 USD and goes up to 100,000 USD.
The cost of a horse will depend on various factors like age, breed, and level of training. For instance- young trained jump horses might cost more than old horses.
A professional show jumper earns around $20 to $40 per year; this is probably the other reason why they’re so expensive.
What Makes a Good Jumping Horse?
To be successful in show jumping, horses must have the necessary physical output to jump multiple obstacles without knocking down rails. Let’s examine what qualities a good jumping horse poses.
Horses with agility, bravery, and good form make good jumping horses. Besides weight and height, health conditions are also fundamental to be successful in show jumping.
Jumping sports require both horses and riders to be athletic and precise. This is why a horse needs to be well-balanced, flexible, courageous, and bold.
What Age Should a Horse Stop Jumping?
A horse’s instinct to jump is inherent, but it is still unknown by what age they should stop doing so. Let’s analyze by what age they can continue jumping.
There is no predefined age when a horse should stop jumping. It all depends upon the horse’s overall health. Until and unless he is in good health, a horse can keep jumping.
Horses can start jumping from an early age and can be fully trained till they reach the age of maturity, that is, age seven. After that, they will be able to jump more efficiently and can even participate in jumping events until they are in their 20’s and early 30’s, but only if they are healthy and physically fit.
Why Does My Horse Over Jump?
The majority of horse owners ask this question; why does my horse overjump? So, there isn’t one reason, but there are several.
Horses can overjump due to various reasons like anxiety, pain, anger, excitement, restlessness, sore feet, or not jumping enough in the past few weeks.
In addition to these reasons, some breeds of horses over jumps due to their shyness, while others jump excessively because of their passion for jumping.
What Does the Rider Do in Horse Jumping?
During show jumping, horses are guided by their riders. Let’s see what riders need to do during showjumping events.
The rider needs to loosen the reins at the moment of departure, allowing the horse to raise its head and jump freely. The rider must get the horse in range, maintain rhythm and balance during jumps.
The rider guides the horses and controls them for every small and big obstacle. Thus, the role of the rider in horse jumping is no less important than that of the horse. The rider needs to be determined, courageous, vigilant, and confident.
How can I Improve my Show Jumping Position?
To gain success in the ring and progress to jumping bigger, you need to have a good jumping technique.
For a good jumping position, it is vital to have the right stirrup length, keep your lower leg secure, follow your horse’s movement, to have the saddle fitted correctly, and maintain straightness, balance, and impulsion.
What are the Phases of Jumping?
Horse jumping is not as easy as it might look. It involves various phases, which we will discuss below.
There are five phases of horse jumping. The first phase is Approach, followed by takeoff, flight, landing, and recovery. All these phases are essential for a good jump.
Before the jumping horse usually analyzes the jump and efforts that need to be taken, the horse puts his hind legs forward and leaves the ground during the flight phase. After landing, the horse usually takes a few minutes of recovery time before another jump.
How High Can a Horse Jump?
Horses must be able to jump high to participate in jumping events. But how high do they need to hop? Or what height can they actually jump?
Best Jumping horses can jump as high as 6 feet. However, Jumping courses are usually 3 to 4 feet tall; thus a trained horse can easily jump this high.
A horse’s height, weight, age, and health condition determine how high it can jump. In addition to that, factors like the purpose of jump, rider, training, and objective also influence their jumping capacity.
Why do Show Jumping Horses Wear Hats?
Showjumper horses are often seen wearing hats. Let’s take a closer look at what they are, why they wear hats, and their purpose.
A showjumping horse wears ear covers that look like a bit of a hat. They are significant for horses during competitions. Aside from keeping the horses’ ears free of flies, ear covers also keep the horses calm by muffling the sound.
During show jumping rounds, it is usual for horses to get distracted or anxious from the loud sounds of the crowd and from other announcements. Thus the ear covers help to reduce the sound.