Sunday, February 13, 2011

FAQ, Part 1

While I was looking through my Analytics data for this blog, I realized how many of you come here by asking questions on search engines. For some of your questions, I either have no corresponding blog entry or the answer lying deep within one of my posts might not be very explicit. For that reason I've decided to start a series of FAQ posts, answering some of the questions that have gotten you here. As always, the answers will be based on Equine Canada rules. Most countries should have similar rules, but please double check in your rule book before you show.

As usual, you're welcome to send me a message or leave a comment if you have a question that you would like to see answered on the blog. I will try to finish answering all of the questions from the Analytics in a future post.

Can you use reins with clips in jumper shows?
Yes, you can. Pretty much anything goes for reins in the jumper ring, provided they are attached to the bit or bridle.

Can I use rubber reins with a running martingale?
(also, Do you need rubber reins for a running martingale?)
You can use rubber reins with a running martingale in the jumper ring. The material that the reins are made of does not affect how a running martingale will work. Make sure that whichever reins you use have stoppers on them to avoid the martingale rings getting caught in the bit area (if your reins don't have them, rubber stoppers are available that can be coaxed on).

Can you have a martingale when entering shows?
(also, Can you show hunters with a martingale?, Length of running martingale?, Standing martingale purpose?, Why and when to use standing martingale?)
It depends. In the jumper ring, a running martingale is permitted at all levels while a standing martingale is permitted at the lower levels (1.15m and under). Restrictive devices such as the German martingale are never allowed when jumping. In the hunter ring, a standing martingale can be used over fences (running martingales are also technically allowed but are not seen), but not in any under saddle or flat class. For more about martingale use, see here and here.

Can you wear anything in a jumper ring?
No. Jumper attire can be more casual than hunter attire, but there are still rules in place. On very hot days, or during the week at some shows, polo shirts can be worn instead of formal attire. For a full explanation of jumper attire, see here.

What does crossing your path mean?
Crossing your path between two jumps counts as a disobedience. Crossing your path is essentially circling while on course, except that it can be any size or shape. This rule also keeps riders on the track desired by the course designer because it forces you to go directly to each jump without coming around from another direction to get a different approach, as shown by the diagrams below (the first is the correct line while the other shows crossing the path). 

Knowing how this rule works can keep you from having a penalty if you start to go off course and need to correct yourself, as you can see in this next diagram. The first picture would result in four faults for crossing the path, while the second would result in zero additional faults (except for the extra time taken).

Describe how to execute a correct courtesy circle before a jump
In the hunter ring, there is usually a clear space left at either end of the ring. If you choose to circle (only once) at the beginning or end of your course, you should use these clear spaces beyond the jumps. Try to fill most of that space (unless the ring is abnormally large) with your circle. Proceed directly to and from your circle without wandering around and crossing your path to avoid being penalized with an extra circle.

Rubber reins for hunters?
Rubber reins are never allowed in the hunter ring unless the weather is terrible and you have the permission of the steward. Reins must be made entirely of leather. The reins that are made to look like leather by using leather on the outside and rubber on the inside are illegal in the hunter ring.


  1. Came here through COTH--learning a lot! Thanks for writing this.
    Any tips for memorizing a hunter course? Big anxiety factor for me.

    Or, maybe write about dealing with the anxiety about memorizing a course! lol

  2. You're in luck! FAQ Part 2, which will be posted in a couple of days, has a section on memorizing hunter courses.