The sport of horse jumping may sound very simple. After all, it is just a horse jumping over obstacles. However, horse jumping is anything but a simple sport. Horses and their riders must endure extensive training in order to complete even the simplest course. Today, many people are recognizing this fact and flocking to see these amazing horse jumping competitions.
The sport of horse jumping dates all the way back to the 18th Century.
When horse jumping first began, it was nowhere near as popular as it is today. The French were the first to attempt the sport during their cross country horse races. However, it failed to catch on due to the fact that spectators were unable to witness the actual horse jumping during these races. Horse jumping did not become a popular sport until 1907, when the British decided to make horse jumping into a competition by itself, rather than as an addition to cross country racing.
Today, there are many types of horse jumping competitions. Perhaps one of the most difficult types of horse show jumping is the Grand Prix. In a Grand Prix competition, a show jumping horse must finish a challenging course with the fewest faults while showcasing the best techniques. Another challenging competition is a Puissance. At a Puissance competition, the show jumping horse attempts a series of high jumps, some jumps reaching up to 7-feet. Possibly the best competition for a beginner show jumping horse is a Maiden or Novice competition. At these competitions, the jumps are usually shorter and the time limits for completing the course tend to be longer.
During these horse show jumping competitions, horses complete a variety of jumps. The horse will tend to jump a variation of either two jumps, the vertical jump or the oxer jump. With a vertical jump, a horse must jump over a set of poles that are stacked above each other, which provide little width for the jump. The oxer jump consists of two vertical poles that are closely placed together, which provide more width for the horse to jump.
For many horses, jumping is not a natural occurrence. When faced with an obstacle in their path, the horse’s natural reaction is to simply walk around the obstacle. Therefore, riders must patiently train their horses before they are to be a full-fledged, show jumping horses. Nevertheless, there are certain breeds of horses that are likely to take better to the process of horse show jumping. For instance, the athletic Arabian and American warmblood horse breeds are known for making an excellent jumping horse. However, a horse does need to have great precision, concentration, confidence, and physical strength in order to become a great show jumping horse.
Horse jumping competitions have become a popular equestrian sport worldwide. In London, fans of horse show jumping can attend the Olympia London International Horse Show, where some of the worlds best jumping horses can be seen. This event is held annually, where a jumping horse can compete in one of many different horse jumping classes, such as the DEI Jumping World Cup Qualifier, the Accenture Puissance, and the Olympia Grand Prix. Horse jumping competitions are also held in the United States. The National Horse Show Competition, which is held in Florida, is possibly the most popular American horse jumping competitions. Many people flock each year to this competition to see the world’s most acclaimed jumping horses. The popularity of horse jumping competitions has become so widespread, that they are now a sport in the Olympics.
Horse show jumping has developed into a very precise sport for both the jumping horse and the rider. It is demanding for a horse to have the confidence and strength to make the jump. For a rider, they must provide the proper direction for the jump. With a growing number of horse jumping competitions across the world, this age old sport only continues to grow in popularity.