If you’re only starting to learn about horse riding, you might not have much knowledge about the types of jumps that go on in these events. There are five major ones we’ll discuss today to help you gain an edge in case you decide to give horse jumping a go in the future.
Speaking of horses, you’ll see different categories of them in these competitions. Most of these horse breeds are bred particularly for jumping shows, which means they’re usually more graceful, accurate, and elegant than the typical show steed.
Five Types of Horse Jumping
Horse jumping is a multi-dimensional sport in many ways but especially when it comes to the actual “jumping” aspect. It doesn’t bore spectators with just one type of jump done over and over. Instead, it has riders go through various obstacles that are colored brightly and designed creatively.
Barriers also vary from one event to another, with some designed to get knocked off their holders when struck by the horse. The world of equestrian jumping will typically subject riders and their horses to the following obstacles:
1. Liverpool Jump
As the name suggests, the Liverpool obstacle involves a small pool or narrow stream of water dug into the ground. Horses are made to leap over a structure, usually a pair of rails, built or placed over these constructs. According to the FEI, the equestrian-governing body, the pool of water’s spread should not fall under two meters.
In this type of water-based jump challenge, water should surround the obstacle for it to be accurately called a Liverpool. This four-sided vinyl pool should also be portable enough for open-water jump applications.
2. Crossrail Jump
The crossrail jump features two poles forming an intersecting structure. Jumping over these x-shaped rails is usually considered beginner-level and isn’t a staple in competitions. Nevertheless, it’s an obstacle that world-class equestrians may continue to practice behind the scenes or overcome in an official tournament on occasion.
The crossrail is arguably the foundation of most jumps and perhaps the most practiced early on in one’s career. Beginner horse riders usually execute them close to barns for safety reasons.
3. The Triple Bar
The name alone kind of tells you this isn’t going to be one of the easier jumps. The obstacle involves three poles laid out vertically in ascending order on a spread-out fence. The spread is quite extensive, so your steed or mare will need to pack some power in those legs, as well as possess good stretch and agility, to leap over the barrier successfully.
4. Hogsback Jump
Here’s another advanced-level jump you’re bound to encounter as you get to that stage of your career. In this setup, poles are positioned unevenly, typically in sets of three. The highest pole occupies the center position, while the others are set below on either side at varying heights.
Ideally, you want to start training for these events at horse jumping barns, as they have safety precautions in place to keep riders from injuring themselves too badly. Although you might fall over every now and then, you can be confident that these falls won’t likely be career-ending.
5. Oxer Jump
You might consider this the “jump to end all jumps” on account of its extremely high difficulty level. A setup could involve either two evenly or unevenly positioned rails, with the uneven bars being a more complicated obstacle. Even the most skilled and experienced show jumpers are unlikely to nail this obstacle 10 times out of 10.
Preparing Your Horse for Jumping Competitions
It’s one thing to know what the world of equestrian jumping has in store and another to get your horse ready for it. These tips might not guarantee future medals or trophies, but they should guarantee performances you can be proud of at the very least.
- Build your horse’s confidence early on. Getting your steed or mare used to jumping early on should help them transition to more difficult jumps easily.
- Make sure your form is correct. Proper form reduces the risk of injuries for both you and your horse.
- Respect your horse’s individual learning curve. Don’t push your horse too fast, too early, as that could very well lead to burnout and loss of trust.
- Walk the course before you ride it. Get a feel for the course before testing it out with your horse.
- Practice at a jumping facility. Doing so keeps your practices as safe as they can be.
- Warm your horse up before riding. Just because you’re ready to rock the obstacle doesn’t mean your horse is. Make sure your companion is as physically and mentally up to the task as you are before attempting a jump, particularly an advanced one.
- Build trust between you and your horse. Trust leads to the synchronization of your and your horse’s movements without you having to say or do anything.
When You Can, Train With a Coach
Even equestrian phenoms need tips and guidance from experienced coaches to help them navigate their journeys. Having one around is not just a matter of safety, either; it’s also a matter of training efficiency. You may have the riding skills and a quality jumping horse to aid your progress. Still, it’s the coach who knows how to stretch these elements to their full potential.