If you have an interest in learning how to compete in jumping contests with a horse, or you just want to know more about the sport in general, it’s best to start with the basics. There are three types of jumping competitions and several breeds of horses that excel at each one.
Probably the most widely known of the jumping events, show jumping is a sport where the horse and rider are judged on speed and the ability to clear the schooling horse jumps and other obstacles without touching them. The rider is judged on his or her style, finesse and riding ability. Hanoverians and Arabians are popular show jumpers. Hanoverians are naturally athletic jumpers. Although originally bred as carriage horses, over the years they have been cross bred to lighten their overall structure making them superior jumpers. The long-limbed Arabians also excel at jumping due to their perseverance, strength and versatility.
Hunter jumping competitions are based on the traditional fox hunt. During competitions, horse and rider navigate a course of 8-10 obstacles based on what might have been found during a fox hunt on the English countryside such as streams, stone walls, and hedges. The jumps are generally lower than on a show jumping course. The Irish sport horse is a popular hunter jumper. This light adaptable horse is a cross between a sturdy Irish draught horse and a thoroughbred.
Cross Country Jumping
While hunter jumping competitions mimic jumps a rider might encounter in the country, cross country jumping actually takes place in a natural setting. Like a local fun run, some competitors ride for the excitement of the participation while others aim to win. Generally judging is based on speed over style. Thoroughbred horses are most popular for this type of jumping. Their feistiness makes them excellent all-around jumpers.
Horse jumping competitions are exciting to watch or participate in. The athleticism of both horse and rider are astounding.