Show Jumping Safety Tips
Showjumping can be described as horse jumping, arena jumping or hunter jumping. Several disciplines involve horse jumping including tournament jumping, but for this article only the two most common jumping disciplines are show jumping and hunters.
In both types of horse jumping the horse takes off and jumps onto its hooves. The horse will then take a hop down on its backside, usually from three to five yards, and then return to its standing position. There is a slight variation from one horse jumping to another, where the jumping starts from more than one hop, but this variation does not affect the jump.
How Safe Is It?
So, how dangerous is show jumping? Several factors are taken into account before the score is published and the horse is classified as showing. Firstly, it is important to take into account the horse jumping position, if it falls backwards then it is unlikely to fall forwards again. Secondly, if the horse jumps onto its front leg then it is more likely to have fallen backwards on its rear leg.
There are different methods used to assess the horse jumping positions. A jump can be scored either “good”fair”. A good showjumping is the one that involves no forward movement of the body of the horse. Also, in a good jumping the horse does not hit the ground and does not fall backwards, so does not fall onto its backside.
A poor showing does mean the horse falls backwards onto its backside, and there is no forward movement of the body. If the jump is scored as fair the horse may not fall back onto its front leg at all. There is another way to score the horse jumping positions. The scoring system for showjumping uses the same scoring system as for the handicapping system used for track jumping.
It is dangerous, in that horses that fall into this category can suffer serious injuries. The main injury is that of a fracture or dislocation of the hoof joint, which is due to the horse jumping onto its backside.
On the other hand, if the horse is shown at an advanced level and the conditions are ideal, the odds are very low. In other words, it may depend entirely on how good the horse is. Some experts believe that horses that are shown at a low level are often not tested and therefore they have not been trained properly to jump and therefore are not as dangerous as their higher jumping competitors. However, experts would not go as far as to say that the horse should be exempt from being tested at a level.
Is showjumping dangerous to the horse’s horsemanship? This is another question that is difficult to answer. Since the horse has just been shown to jump, a lot of thinking time has not had time to go into it. Therefore, there may be little to no concern with a horse jumping and therefore little to no concern with how they would handle it when under pressure. The horse may have been trained properly and is now performing as well as it can, but this does not take into account the actual jumping experience.
Also, if the horse is trained to jump well, it will have been through many shows already where the horse has performed at its optimum. This may have allowed the horse to be trained to handle the jumping and so there is less of an issue with how the horse would handle it if faced with the pressures that are often placed upon it during the showjumping.
So, what is the answer to this question – How Dangerous is show jumping? As with any sport, it depends on individual circumstances. Horse show jumping can be a fun activity, and if the conditions are ideal then it is safe, but if the conditions are poor then it can be extremely dangerous.