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Can you win Jumpers safely?

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  • Can you win Jumpers safely?

    Yesterday I was riding at a schooling show on a hot TB mare who can turn on a dime and really go, and very honest. I put in a good Gambler's choice round, clean and safe we only shaved down a stride in the lines and instead opted for trickier turns that were taken at a sane speed. We got 5th.

    The winner took a 6 stirde in 3 on a pony. She had her hands up on the horse's neck and was really forward. This is the 2' division btw. Pony chipped in a LOT and rider was just clinging on the pony. Trainer was screaming, telling the rider to make him go FASTER. I was at the rail with another trainer, who I didn't know, and we both cringed and looked at one another with a expression.

    Said trainer also had a rider whose horse refused the Joker and almost came off.

    So basically, I want to do well, but I don't want to sacrifice my horse's training and the safety of both of us. Is this possible?

  • #2
    At the lowest levels, not always. Some people will just cowboy around at 100mph to get the win. There is no real talent involved. Those horses are often saints to put up with the ride they are given. It sucks when you put in a great, fast ride and still can't win. Don't sacrifice your horse and training. Stick to your plan. Later on down the road when you are jumping the bigger stuff, you will beat the crazy yahoos. It may be possible to get a 3 in a 5 when they are 2ft, but at 4ft? Not likely! I once saw a rider do a 2 in a one stride during the Seniors classic at WEF. It was terrifying, and made the BNT's cringe.
    Originally posted by JSwan
    Prove it....Otherwise, you're just coming off as a whackjob.
    Founding member of the "Not too Klassy for Boxed Wine" Clique


    • #3
      Why would you even ask that question? Nothing is worth giving up smart safe riding?


      • #4
        That's why most shows don't have a 2' JUMPER division. IMO they really shouldn't exist *exception* I almost never see dangerous riding at the 2ft USPC jumpers because they aren't even timed, just going for clear rounds.

        Under no circumstances should you sacrifice your sanity, your horse's soundness, and possibly your life to win a 2ft schooling jumper class. The riders who put in those suicide rounds won't progress up the levels and they will disappear from competition as you move up (well hopefully anyways).


        • #5
          At the lower levels it's tough but riding correctly the way you're doing will ensure YOU get to move up the levels while the yahoos are relegated to speed bump classes. Jump offs are won by efficient turns and smart tracks not by leaving strides out or running. You're doing the right thing by learning those skills at your current level so you can apply them when you move up. In the meantime there isn't much you can do about the yahoos. Some days they might get lucky and beat you other days they'll come off, have a stop or some other consequence for their dangerous riding.


          • #6
            Shame on show management for allowing such a class. Its bad enough that they'd have a 2ft jumper division in the first place.. to make a racing game out out it is lethal and SO irresponsible. What did they do for the joker? Thats just insane. As a professional I would NEVER allow a student to do that class. I have an awesome riding kid that is tiny and has a great scopey small pony that I'd love to let her do a jumper class like I did with my other students this past weekend to prepare for medal finals. Luckily for everyone else though, there is no such thing as 2ft jumpers here. S-C-A-R-Y!!

            ETA- I had a student doing the low ch/ad jumpers on a very green horse this summer at whats probably the biggest show Indiana has in a year and when we were schooling, there was a woman and her trainer that shared our barn aisle and ended up doing the same division as my student and just happened to be posted in the (60+ horse) order right around the same time we were. They were so scary in the schooling area, and I kept listening to what the trainer there was telling this woman (who was most assuredly an adult- probably over 40) and I was so honestly scared for her. The horse either stopped, 3-legged, or raced scarily over every schooling area jump. She went in the ring and did exactly what she was told- to race blindly at every single jump. She did OK until she got to the in and out, where she missed so badly to the in oxer that the horse almost flipped over it and then completely crashed and fell over the 2nd jump, which were right at the ingate. They had to take her away on a stretcher. Most of my students who were at the show happened to be up at the ring watching and I felt it was a very important lesson for them to learn to see why I am insistent that they dont run like "bats out of hell" around in the jumpers, regardless of the height.

            Lots of big money at small heights ($5,000 classes at big A shows for the 3ft jumpers, really?) and its absolutely nothing but a contest to see who out there has the least regard for their safety. I walked a course once two years ago with a kid and said in reference to a turn we saw people watching that if she tried that turn it was totally unsafe and would probably have a result and that I felt it was much safer and better to go around to get to it. She ended up third. Girl who won it took the crazy option, three legged the jump, almost flipped, but somehow the horse left it up. 2nd place went around like us but was faster than we were. 4th -7th all tried to beat the frst girl with the short turn. Two fell off, one crashed it badly, and one made it over and had a rail at another jump. Not the kind of odds I want when showing, and I dont want to explain to the parents why I told their child to do a turn that caused their kid (or horse) a serious injury.
            Last edited by RumoursFollow; Oct. 19, 2009, 11:12 PM.
            Teneriffe Enterprises- NW Indiana


            • #7
              Amen to you for thinking of yourself and your horse before the competition! I have been apalled by some of the schooling shows I have seen with riders tearing around like kamikazes, and it's just an accident waiting to happen. At the lower levels, unfortunately, it is entirely possible to ride terribly (and dangerously!) and win. It's like a competition of the fearless and stupid. I feel like every jumper division below 3'6" should have at least an optimum time class as part of the division to encourage thought rather than danger. Any jumpers below 3' shouldn't exist unless it's optimum time or not timed, IMHO.

              Unfortunately, it really doesn't get better until you get to the height where people really will have accidents unless they have somewhat of a clue. The Childrens/AA jumpers (3'6") is really the beginning of when riders have to pay attention and slow down or else they're going to have accidents and pull rails, but sometimes (actually, a lot of times) even the 3'6" classes scare me.

              If you want to do well at that level without sacrificing safety, my advice would be to switch to hunters or equitation until you can graduate through the ranks. It's not worth it, and so long as classes like that are still around and bad riding is rewarded with a win, it's not going to change.

              Good luck and stay safe.


              • Original Poster

                I would NEVER gun this horse around a course, just for clarification, I'm asking if I can be competitive at this level without trying to commit suicide. I think I'm going to shoot for 2'6 next year, and work with this horse over the winter. She's not mine, so I only ride once a week.

                Are the low jumper classes even worth it? Classes are less than $10, so it's not a huge loss.

                I also want to say that not all of the riders in the class were riding like this, I'll admit that there were a few who beat me fair and square and others who rode smart but didn't make the cut. It seemed like they were stemming from one trainer.

                During the schooling show, there were "speed penalties" for x-country, is there anything like this for Jumpers?


                • #9
                  At the lower levels, sadly, sometimes it isn't possible. People are maniacs, and at heights where you don't have to actually ride, the maniacs will beat the people who are more conservative. Once you start getting to the 4' and up, it gets a little less frightening.

                  This is a winning round I had in the 1.30m jumpers in Vermont this year. Not crazy fast... just efficient. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nc_7sb7N-FQ
                  Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!


                  • #10
                    Are they worth it for wins? Probably not. But they are worth it for experience.
                    So you might not win against the insane speed demons. You're really not losing anything, but gaining experience. In navigating the courses, learning how to choose options and how to approach different obstacles and even the scary riders offer an education on what not to do.
                    Compete against yourself at this level and enjoy what you do for the smaller cost.
                    When you move up levels, the yahoos start weeding out a bit (but there will always be some, however as the heights go up they knock more rails down) and you'll be far more prepared.
                    And remember...any jumping course is 90% flat and 10% jump. On the flat is where it's won and it's won riding smart, not fast.

                    ETA...Supershorty...nice rides! Nice horse too.
                    You jump in the saddle,
                    Hold onto the bridle!
                    Jump in the line!


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by maudie View Post
                      I'm asking if I can be competitive at this level without trying to commit suicide
                      I'm sorry, but not from what I've seen.

                      Originally posted by maudie View Post
                      During the schooling show, there were "speed penalties" for x-country, is there anything like this for Jumpers?
                      There should be, but again, no. I wish they could implement a time penalty for going too fast; something like that would certainly make the lower levels a little safer.


                      • #12
                        I rode in the lower level jumpers (3'), was quite safe, and was quite often champion. It is possible, I just chose to make up time in the turns and jumping at an angle rather than riding 93875983759875984 x the speed of light to make it around the course.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MistyBlue View Post
                          Are they worth it for wins? Probably not. But they are worth it for experience.
                          So you might not win against the insane speed demons. You're really not losing anything, but gaining experience. In navigating the courses, learning how to choose options and how to approach different obstacles and even the scary riders offer an education on what not to do.
                          Compete against yourself at this level and enjoy what you do for the smaller cost.
                          When you move up levels, the yahoos start weeding out a bit (but there will always be some, however as the heights go up they knock more rails down) and you'll be far more prepared.
                          And remember...any jumping course is 90% flat and 10% jump. On the flat is where it's won and it's won riding smart, not fast.
                          What she said. You could always try a few Equitation classes as well for the fun of it. Good for you for being aware that their style is dangerous and good luck on moving up to 2'6" (although you will probably still see a fair number of yahoos at this level, hopefully there will be less).


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by maudie View Post
                            During the schooling show, there were "speed penalties" for x-country, is there anything like this for Jumpers?
                            Not "speed penalties" per se, but you don't win optimum time classes by galloping like a bat out of hell. At a recent show I attended, ALL the jumper classes under 3'6" were optimum time which I thought was great. The winners basically looked like equitation rounds, and the few that ran around "for practice" were out of the ribbons.
                            Please don't sabotash my conchess.


                            • #15
                              A lot of A shows now have optimum time classes for anything under a meter. And optimum time jump off classes, or optimum time speed classes. In a way that format does involve "speed penalties" like you mentioned. Unfortunately a lot of schooling/ lower rated horse shows foresake this safer format for the more "exciting" (read: dangerous) formats that keep the line at the food stand filled.
                              When the boogeyman goes to sleep, he checks the closet for George Morris. -mpsbarnmanager


                              • #16
                                What haalter said. Posted at the same time.
                                When the boogeyman goes to sleep, he checks the closet for George Morris. -mpsbarnmanager


                                • #17
                                  Jumpers below 3' should be clear round only.


                                  • #18
                                    It's very frusturating but what really can you do? At my local circuit we have a 20-something girl who rides multiple horses in each lower jumper division and runs at every jump. Needless to say, she wins most classes and takes home numerous year-end awards, but in all honesty she sucks as a rider and everyone knows it, so we just kind of write her off. We call her "the yahoo"


                                    • #19
                                      As a general rule, small fences breed mediocre riding.

                                      Now, before someone gets their panties in a wad, there is a time and a place for small fences.

                                      But in America, we have this idea that "everyone should be able to do it." No, everyone shouldn't be able to do it. Only riders of appropriate skill to safely navigate a course to fulfill the intended purpose of the class should be able to do it. Whatever happened to working hard and earning the priveledge, first to show, then in the hunters and eq, and then the jumpers?

                                      The purpose of small jumper classes is for experience and mileage. That has, of course, been bastardized, and now we have every person who thinks jumpers are an excuse for riding poorly making sport of what should be a respected division. A 2' division is heinous and breeds the very traits everyone wants to eliminate.

                                      OP, that was not directed at you, off my soapbox now. To answer your question, no, except for luck, you are not going to go win a 2' jumper class riding correctly. There are too many yahoos out there. It's up to you - if you want to do the classes for experience, then do them, but let a good ribbon be a surprise and not an expectation.

                                      If you were my student and your circumstances warranted it, I would encourage you not to show right now and to put that money towards additional lessons that would enable you to move up the levels a little faster. It would be a more prudent use of money and a more efficient move up the ladder. Just something to think about.

                                      It's not really about winning at 2', it's about riding correctly so that when you're jumping 3'6 or 4' you can win because your basiscs are there.
                                      It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. (Aristotle)


                                      • #20
                                        I would like to see all low and green jumper classes use Argentine rule (optimal time) I HATE seeing people turn and burn over knee high fences.. it's dangerous and most of the time poor riding.. I can't even see the point of offering 2 ft jumpers .. if they need another baby class made it handy hunters or something. Sometimes I feel people move into the very low jumper ring because they can't count steps in a line and swap leads at the end of the ring or find 1 out of 8 spots, so their instructor puts them in jumpers where it isn't a penalty. guess it's ok to forget about equitation and let your horse be fast and flat when you really really want that 25 cent ribbon to show your buddies at school.
                                        "The Desire to Win is worthless without the Desire to Prepare"

                                        It's a "KILT". If I wore something underneath, it would be a "SKIRT".