Eventing Overview: Stadium Jumping

  The final phase to the eventing discipline is usually stadium jumping. Stadium jumping can also be called show jumping though that can confuse some people into thinking that the stadium phase and the show jumping discipline are the same thing.

  There is a difference between stadium jumping and show jumping. Stadium jumping is a phase in eventing whereas show jumping is its own discipline. Horses in the show jumping discipline, also known as jumpers, train specifically for jumping. They work on accuracy, speed and scope. A stadium jumper is not only training for jumping but also for dressage and cross-country. They have to make sure that their horses are capable to complete the dressage moves and have the endurance to last through a cross country course.

  In both stadium jumping and show jumping, they are scored the same way. The rider must memorise a series of jumps and race against the time allowed. The horse and rider combination that can complete the fastest clear round will win. Penalties, otherwise known as faults, are added to your score for making mistakes on the course. Four faults are added when a rail in knocked off the jump, one fault is added for every second the horse has exceeded the time allowed and if a horse refuses a jump the first time, four faults are added. Depending on the competition level, a second refusal will be 8 faults or immediate elimination. If your horse refused for a third time and if the rider or horse falls during the course, that will lead to elimination as well.

  Where stadium and show jumping really differ is when it comes to jump offs and the height of the jumps. There will only be a jump off in the show jumping competition to determine the winner of the competition. In eventing, the scores for their dressage, cross-country and stadium jumping rounds are added up to make one total score. The horse and rider combination with the best overall score will be determined as the winner.

  There is a jump height difference between stadium and show jumping. The Olympic height for stadium jumping is around 1.2 metres whereas show jumping is around 1.6 metres. The size of the jumps in the stadium jumping phase of the competition is usually going to be the same as those in the cross-country phase.

  Eventing is truly an art that seems to be overlooked sometimes. Being someone who has trained in both hunter/jumper and eventing, I have learnt to appreciate the difficulty of the discipline. Each rider will be stronger in one of the phases, but the trick is to work on those that you aren't so good at so that you are a well rounded rider.

  If you're not too sure what type of discipline you would like to ride, but you know you want to ride English, why not try eventing? Maybe you will also come to appreciate the challenge of finding the balance between strength, endurance and scope. Or maybe you'll surprise yourself and find out you want to pursue dressage instead of show jumping like you might of thought.

  Whatever you decide to do, I believe that all disciplines should be admired equally as they all have their different challenges. Whether you enjoy barrel racing, show jumping, vaulting, eventing or even pleasure riding, there's something out there for all horse lovers to enjoy.

  So that is it for this week and the end of the three part Eventing Overview series. You can check out the first two parts by searching for them in the blog post archive titled Blog Posts By Date (found at the top right of this page) if you have missed reading about the dressage and cross-country phases in eventing. Thank you for reading and I hope you are all doing well.

  Until next time, happy riding!

The Art of Jumping (Part 2)

  Last week, I talked about how the different types of jumps will affect where your takeoff point will be. I promised you all the second part where I would talk about how to measure the distance between jumps. So here it is. What you are going to read next should help you to better understand how to set up a combination of jumps and knowing how many strides there will be within the combination. That way, when you are riding alone or walking a course before a competition, you will have a better idea of how to approach each jump before you get to it.

  The first thing you need to know is the length of your horse's stride. On average, a horse's stride will be about 12 feet (or 3.65 metres) and a pony's stride will be about 10 feet (or 3.05 metres). Depending on which method you are more comfortable with, you can either calculate the distance between two jumps in feet or in metres.

  The next thing you will need to do is measure out the length of your step. Stand with your heels against a wall and take a step. Then, take a measuring tape and measure the distance from the wall to where you are standing. Usually, a person will take a step between 3 and 4 feet (or 0.9 and 1.2 metres). Practice your steps with which ever distance is more comfortable for you.

  If you choose to walk a 3 foot step, you will need to take 4 steps to make one stride. If you choose to walk a 4 foot step, you will need to take 3 steps to make one stride.

  Next, you are ready to walk a combination. Stand with your back as close to the first jump as possible and walk your 3 or 4 steps to make the "first stride". This "first stride" should not be counted as one of the strides in your combination, however, this is the measurement of your take off and landing points. In general, a horse will takeoff and land about half a stride away from a jump (though depending on the type of jump and its height, these factors will change).

  Once you have counted that "first stride", start walking towards the second jump until you are as close as you can to it. As you are walking, count the number of strides. Some people like to count like this: "1,2,3,  1.  1,2,3,  2.  1,2,3,  3.  1,2,3,  4." (this would be for those walking a 3 foot step and need to take 4 steps to make a stride). It can become a little bit difficult for some people to count the strides. You'll need to find the technique that works best for you and stick with it. It may also be best to have someone walk the combination with you to confirm your count, especially when you are still getting used to walking your distances.

  Below is a picture of a 3 horse stride combination. The illustration shows how the distances are counted to help you better visualise what I have explained above.

3 stride, horse example.jpg

  So there is the basics of how to walk and measure the distance between two jump. As I have explained before, depending on the type and height of the jump as well as the stride length of your horse, these measurements will be modified.

  Hopefully, this information has been helpful to you. The best thing I could advise you to do is to practice. Once you have calculated and walked your distances, try riding your jumps and modify the distances if you need to. Once you are able to ride through a set of jumps comfortably, try walking the combination again to see how you need to change you step length to work well with your horse's stride and the type of jumps you are using.

  I may decide to write a third part to this segment also where I will talk about the different types of jumps as well as how their height, length and colour can affect their levels difficulty. Please let me know if you would like to do this either by emailing, commenting or tweeting me. I may not write it next week, but maybe in the future if enough of you would like to read it.

  I hope you are all having a nice weekend and enjoying your horses. Thank you for reading my blog and good luck.

Safety First! (Cross-Country Jumps)

   It's always nice to hear that new inventions are being used to help keep our beloved sport a little safer. FEI has allowed a new device to be used to keep our cross-country athletes a little bit more secure as they approach each jump. This new device is called the MIM Safe New Era Clip and Pin. It's the first jump fixing to get the FEI's approval since their new rules.

   This new device was designed in Sweden to give way when a strong force hits it. Now don't think that this means that cross-country is becoming more like show jumping where the jump gives way at the slightest nudge. This MIM Clip and Pin will only release the jump if the horse and rider are truly in trouble. It was designed so that a fall will happen safer. Instead of the horse and rider having a rotational fall (see picture below), the jump will move to allow the horse to stay more parallel to the ground. This means that the horse will less likely step or fall on the rider once they hit the ground. So, the MIM Clip and Pin is designed to reduce injury, not to reduce falls (though it does sometimes reduce falls too).

   Hopefully, this will keep our eventers a little safer and allow us to lower the number of deaths and injuries in this discipline every year. If you would like to read more about the MIM Clip and Pin, you can click here.

   I hope you have all enjoyed your week and look forward to your weekend. Feel free to comment or request any blog topics either on this blog site or by email (my email address can be found by clicking on the Contact Me tab). I will be writing again next week. Until then, I wish you all the best and that you all enjoy the time you have with your equine friends. Thank you for reading my blog.