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
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
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.
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