Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What Happens if a Jump Blows Down?

Imagine that you're on course on a windy day, approaching your next jump when part of it blows down! What do you do?

If the judge notices the problem immediately, the bell will be rung and you can stop or circle until the obstacle is rebuilt and the bell is rung again to signal you to resume your round.

If you notice the problem before the judge does, stop and point in the direction of the jump. The clock will be stopped and an adjustment might be made to your time to account for any delay. Wait until the bell is rung before you take the jump.

Here is the official EC rule:

1. In the event of a competitor not being able to continue his round for any reason or unforeseen circumstance, the bell should be rung to stop the competitor. As soon as it is evident that the competitor is stopping, the clock will be stopped. As soon as the course is ready again, the bell will be rung, and the clock will be restarted when the competitor reaches the precise place where the clock was stopped.
2. If the competitor does not stop when the bell is rung, he continues at his own risk, and the clock should not be stopped. The Ground Jury must decide whether the competitor is to be eliminated for ignoring the order to stop, or whether, under the circumstances, he should be allowed to continue. If the competitor is not eliminated, and is allowed to continue his round, the scores obtained at the obstacles preceding and following the order to stop will count whether they are good or bad.
3. If the competitor stops voluntarily to signal to the Ground Jury that the obstacle to be jumped is wrongly built or if due to unforeseen circumstances beyond the control of the competitor, he is prevented from continuing his round under normal circumstances, the clock must be stopped immediately.
3.1. If the dimensions are correct and the obstacle in question has been properly built or if the so-called unforeseen circumstances are not accepted as such by the Ground Jury, the competitor will be penalized as for stopping during the round (223.1) and the time of his round will be increased by 6 seconds;
3.2. If the obstacle or part of the obstacle needs to be rebuilt or if the unforeseen circumstances are accepted as such by the Ground Jury, the competitor is not penalized. The time of the interruption must be deducted and the clock stopped until the moment when the competitor takes up his track at the point where he stopped. Any delay incurred by the competitor must be taken into consideration and an appropriate number of seconds deducted from his recorded time.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Recommended Reading #2

101 Jumping Exercises: For Horse and RiderIf you're looking for a book that focuses more on at-home training than on horse shows, one book that I have found to be very useful is 101 Jumping Exercises: For Horse and Rider by Linda L. Allen.

If you've gotten into a boring gymnastic rut, you are sure to find some new ideas here and the exercises can be built upon to go beyond what is in the book.
I would recommend this to anyone who does any pole work or jumping outside of lessons because there is a lot to be learned from some of these gymnastics. Following a written exercise can also show you any weaknesses that you and your horse might have that are not evident in lessons designed for your own personal strengths.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What Constitutes a Knock-Down?

You might think that dislodging any part of a jump on course would count as a knock-down, but that isn't necessarily true!

If, while jumping a vertical in a jumper class, you dislodge a lower rail without dislodging the top rail (it can be done, as I know from personal experience), you will not be penalized for the rail according to EC rules.

For hunters, here are the official rules regarding knock-downs:

2. An obstacle is considered knocked down when its height is lowered by the horse or rider.
3. If the height of the jump is altered as a result of a horse or rider contacting a wing or post it will be scored as a knockdown.
4. If a jump falls as a result of a horse or rider contacting a wing or post it will be scored as a knock-down.

And the rules for jumpers:

1. An obstacle is considered to have been knocked down when, through a mistake of the horse or competitor:
1.1. the whole or any upper part of the same vertical plane of it falls, even if the part which falls is arrested in its fall by any other part of the obstacle (218.1);
1.2. at least one of its ends no longer rests on any part of its support.
2. Touches and displacements of any part of an obstacle or its flags, in whatever direction, while in the act of jumping, do not count as a knock down. If in doubt the Ground Jury should decide in favour of the competitor. The knock down or displacement of an obstacle and/or a flag as a result of a disobedience is penalized as a refusal only. In the event of the displacement of any part of an obstacle, (except the flags), as a result of a disobedience, the bell will be rung and the clock stopped while the displacement is re-adjusted. This does not count as a knock down and is only penalized as a disobedience and corrected by time in accordance with article 232.
3. Penalties for knocking down an obstacle are those provided for under Tables A and C (236 and 239).
4. If any part of an obstacle, which has been knocked down is likely to impede a competitor in jumping another obstacle, the bell must be rung and the clock stopped while this part is picked up and the way is cleared.
5. If a competitor jumps an obstacle correctly which has been improperly rebuilt, he incurs no penalty; but if he knocks down this obstacle he will be penalized in accordance with the table in use for the competition.

1. When a vertical obstacle or part of an obstacle comprises two or several parts placed one above the other and positioned in the same vertical plane, only the fall of the top part is penalized.
2. When a spread obstacle which requires only one effort comprises parts which are not positioned in the same vertical plane, the fall of one or several top parts only counts as one fault whatever the number and position of the parts which have fallen. Trees, hedges etc. used as filling are not liable for penalties.

In short, lowering the height of the jump will result in a knock-down while dislodging any filler (lower rails or decorative filler) will not.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

What Happens if I Fall Off?

The answer to this question really depends on the rules of your national federation. If you check any rule book, it should probably come under "Falls". Some federations will not allow you to remount in the show ring due to safety considerations while others will allow you to remount and ride out of the ring.

If you fall off during a class, Equine Canada rules state that you are eliminated and can not get back on the horse in the show ring:

After being eliminated for a fall, the rider may not remount in the ring. Any rider who does remount in the ring after a fall will be eliminated from all classes in that ring for the remainder of the day. A rider who remounts after a fall and takes another obstacle will be disqualified from the remainder of the competition.

If you fall off and you are able to keep a hold of your horse, lead your horse out of the ring at the walk. If you fall off and your horse runs away, either stay where you are awaiting medical assistance or help to catch your horse. Once he has been caught, you or someone else can lead him out of the ring. Once you have left the show ring, you can remount in the warm-up area and continue to ride.

Keep in mind that the rule refers to falls in which the horse is eliminated. If the fall occurs before the start timers in a jumper class, the horse is not eliminated and the rider can remount (Disclaimer: I have not seen this happen in several years so the general interpretation of the rule might have now changed):


1.2. [...] Disobediences, falls etc. occurring between the signal to start and the moment the competitor crosses the starting line in the correct direction, are not penalized.

You may be given a leg up by a third party (i.e. a member of the jump crew) provided you have not yet crossed the start line:

1. Any physical intervention by a third party between the crossing of the starting line in the correct direction and the crossing of the finishing line after jumping the last obstacle, whether solicited or not, with the object of helping the competitor or his horse is considered to be unauthorized assistance.

For hunters, here is the specific EC rule:


5. Horse and/or rider falling while in competition incurs elimination, and a rider may not remount in the ring. A competitor is considered to have fallen when, either voluntarily or involuntarily, he/she is separated from his/her horse, which has not fallen, in such a way that he/she touches the ground or finds it necessary, in order to get back into the saddle, to use some form of support or outside assistance. A horse is considered to have fallen when at the same time both its shoulder and quarters have touched either the ground or the obstacle and the ground.

For clarity, here is the definition of a fall:

1. A competitor is considered to have fallen when, either voluntarily or involuntarily, he is separated from his horse, which has not fallen, in such a way that he touches the ground or finds it necessary, in order to get back into the saddle, to use some form of support or outside assistance. If it is not clear that the competitor has used some form of support or outside assistance to prevent his fall, the benefit of doubt must be given to the competitor.
2. A horse is considered to have fallen when the shoulder and quarters have touched the ground or the obstacle and the ground.