Horse jumps are a great way to teach both horse skills and rider skills as well. In horse show competition the judging is based on faults and times. The winner is the horse and rider who have the fewest faults and shortest time in the end. Four faults are assigned to any horse that refuses a jump. Two refusals result in disqualification. Four faults are given if a rail is knocked down or if the horse touches water. If your horse falls you are automatically eliminated from the competition. If you exceed the allowable time limit you are assigned one penalty second for each second of overtime. Horse jumping can be a very entertaining and exciting show to watch.
There is some skill involved in setting up the course properly. The horse’s stride has to be taken into account in the placement of the jumps. Improper placement of the jumps could result in horses jumping in a dangerous situation. Below are some of the standard types of show jumps.
A Vertical is similar to a hurdle in that there is no width to have to cross over. It is just a simple one-rail jump.
The Oxer is two verticals next to each other to give additional distance to the jump. Both height and width come into play. There are several types of Oxers depending on the height of the two verticals. An ascending Oxer has the second rail set higher than the first. A square Oxer has both rails set to the same height. A descending Oxer has the first rail set higher. One further variation is the triple Oxer, which has three rails to jump over.
Walls are horse jumps made of lightweight bricks formed into a wall. It is a formidable jump because of the perceived solidness of the wall.
Hogsbacks are horse jumps that are somewhat similar to the triple Oxer except that the center rail is taller than the other two.
A Triple Bar is a little like the triple Oxer except that the three rails are arranged at ascending heights.
Open Water is simply a ditch filled with water that must be cleared by hitting the water.
The Liverpool is a Vertical or Oxer with a ditch of water underneath.
Cavaletti’s are not really competition horse jumps at all but rather a height-adjustable rail that can be used to train show jumping horses. . Some of these start off with a height of only 7 or 8 inches and can be adjusted up to a couple of feet high.
Horse show jumps are typically constructed of wood or PVC (plastic). PVC is replacing wood in horse jumps the plastics have in general. PVC is much more durable and will not rot or decay. There is no need to be concerned about the effects of the weather. The basic PVC material is more expensive than wood but computers have modernized the manufacturing process for PVC jumps to the point where they are price competitive with wood. In fact, the prices are sometimes less than wood.
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