The art of
jumping horses, over the centuries, has been refined and standardized to a high
degree, but the outdoor origin of this exacting sport is nonetheless still
clearly visible in every course and every obstacle on it.
horses themselves fall into two general categories: the hunter and the jumper.
A hunter is usually a Thoroughbred used in the field with hounds, judged in
shows not only for his performance, but also on his way of going, which should
be safe, steady and comfortable for the rider. His manners, conformation and
substance—and sometimes his rider's appointments-are also considered.
A jumper, on the
other hand, can be any breed of horse. His appearance, method of approach, and
comfort to the rider are not considered. He is scored purely on performance
over the course.
which changes from class to class, indicates the order in which certain types
of obstacles must be met, and if the rider fails to keep the horse on the
correct course he is disqualified. The type of obstacle varies, but is based on
a horse's ability to jump a vertical element such as a gate, a wide, flat
element such as a ditch or stream and a combination of high and wide elements
such as a Liverpool (see opposite page).
The course shown
on the right is the one that will be used in the Jumper Stake, the National's
Championship class for this division. It will also very likely be used in
International events although the International courses are not posted until an
hour before the class. The colors of the obstacles also vary, but can be red,
gray, white, green or combinations of all these colors, depending on the
obstacle itself. Thus in color too they imitate a natural barrier, as well as
enhancing the decorative aspect of the ring and creating a psychological hazard
for the rider. To the horse, the colors are indifferent—as nearly as can be
determined, he sees them all in gradations of gray, as he is nearly
color-blind. But no matter in what color he sees them, they are going to look
YOUNGSTERS AND THE HOPEFUL U.S. TEAM
A special kind
of interest and a very special type of heartbreak centers around the junior
riders division, past proving ground for equestrian team members. Final classes
in a number of important horsemanship events for these passionately dedicated
young competitors are traditionally held at the National.
championship trophy of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
Animals will be competed for with fierceness by the young riders pictured at
left, Pamela Phillips (see cover) and by more than a score of other fine
amateurs under 18 who have qualified. To enter the Maclay, as the class is
generally known in honor of the late Alfred B. Maclay who donated the trophy, a
rider must win an ASPCA event at a recognized show in the course of the year.
These winners then meet in New York and there the big win is decided. The class
is judged on horsemanship only over eight obstacles, and the horse's jumping
faults are not counted.
of jumping faults occurs only in horsemanship events. In the open jumping
classes the faults are scored by the rules of the American Horse Shows
Association. Generally speaking—depending on the type of class—a horse is
faulted when he touches the obstacle, when he knocks down an obstacle and when
he refuses to jump or runs out. Points are scored against the horse for these
and other faults, and the animal with the lowest score wins the class.
competitions, on the other hand, are judged by the code laid down by the
Federation Equestre Internationale (F.E.I.), which guides all International
competitions and the Olympic equestrian events. Time limits are also set for
the course, and they can be the deciding factor in an award.