Show Jumping in the United Kingdom

What is Show Jumping?

Show Jumping is part of a tradition known as 'English Riding', which includes dressage riding, eventing, hunters, equitation and - naturally - show jumping. Events of this discipline are hosted at horse shows all over the world and are also an Olympic discipline.

The goal of a show jumper is to finish an elaborate course of obstacles within a set time frame. The horse is judged on success in clearing the obstacles and time only, style does not matter (in the Hunters events, on the other hand, the horse is judged on style and technique as well). As the competition pays no attention to style, the courses can be intensely elaborate with a number of quite creative obstacles, challenging the horses jumping skills as much as possible.

There are several levels (1-9) of show jumping, which determine the height of the fences and the width of the water ditches the horse has to conquer. While level one operates with a relatively tame maximum height of three feet for a fence and a maximum width of four feet for an obstacle, level nine asks the contenders to clear a maximum height of 5 feet and a maximum width of 6 feet for solid obstacles and 13 feet for water ditches.

Types of Obstacles in Show Jumping

Verticals

The classic obstacle consisting of poles and planks. It has no width or spread, just a clean jump.

Oxer

Two Verticals placed close together to make the jump wider (also known as spread). They can ascend - with the second vertical higher than the first -, or descend - the second vertical lower than the first. In a Swedish Oxer the verticals form an X.

Wall

A type of obstacle built to resemble a wall, which is intimidating to the horse.

Triple Bar

An obstacle including three verticals.

Combination

A series of obstacles in relatively quick succession.

Open Water

A wide ditch of water.

Liverpool

A vertical or oxer above a ditch of water.

What is a Calcutta?

A Calcutta is a bet unique to the sport of Jump Racing. In this bet every individual horse can only be bet on by one person. The right to bet on a specific horse falls to the highest bidder, the punter willing to stake the most money on the horse. The bettor with the winning horse then takes all the money bet on the entire event and splits it even with the owner of the horse. Details may vary from region to region, but its exclusivity and extreme risk make this an exciting and popular bet.

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