Saturday, March 19, 2011

FAQ, Part 5

Are double-vented jackets required on the "A" circuit?
No, they are not, but jackets designed for the hunter and jumper rings do tend to be double-vented. Single-vented jackets tend to be designed for the dressage ring. Dressage jackets usually have metallic buttons that might not stand out in a good way in the conservative hunter ring. Dressage jackets are also cut differently and might be a bit more difficult to jump in. There is certainly no rule against using a single-vented jacket.

Does your horse need boots in the jumpers?
Not necessarily. Some horses jump better without boots and are shown with naked legs, even at the top levels. Boots tend to be used for protection, in case a horse accidentally strikes the back of a front leg or interferes. They are often used as a precaution, not because the horse needs boots, but just in case something happens. There is no rule that horses must compete in boots in the jumper ring.

What are the rules for shirt colour in equitation classes?
The classic shirt colour for equitation classes is white. There is no rule, however, that requires this in the Equine Canada rule book (or in the USEF rule book, as far as I am aware).

How do you reverse in a hunter under saddle class?
You should make a small half-circle when asked to reverse. This can be done in one of two ways. The first possibility is to turn to the inside and keep turning in that direction until you reach the track on the new rein, and change the bend. The other is to turn to the inside, and then change the bend and turn back the other way in order to spend more time on the new bend. 

The more correct method is the second, since it gives you a better chance to establish the new bend and flexion. The proper term for this second diagram is a half turn in reverse, while the first would just be a half turn.

Why not bang hunter tails?
There is no rule against banging the tail of a hunter ("banging" means cutting the tail bluntly), and I have seen several hunters win with their tails banged. Those hunters who do show with a banged tail usually still have quite a long tail compared to your average jumper. The natural tail would probably be considered a more traditional look, and might add to the smooth image of a hunter, while the banged tail might draw the eye away from the horse. A natural tail can sometimes look quite thin, however, and banging can give the appearance of more thickness. While the natural look is more common, you certainly wouldn't get thrown out of the ring for banging a tail.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

FAQ, Part 4

Are german martingales legal in jumpers?
No. A german martingale is considered to be a restrictive device and is therefore not allowed to be used in the jumper ring. The running martingale allows much more freedom because it can move freely along the reins. The german martingale cannot release beyond where it is set.

Can you wear a black jacket in hunter show ring?
Yes, you can. A navy jacket is more classic, but black jackets are allowed. They tend to give a stiffer appearance to the rider than a coloured jacket would, and many black jackets are designed and cut for the dressage world. An easy way to check whether a jacket would be suitable for the hunter ring is to look at the buttons and the back vents. In the hunter ring, the buttons will blend in with the jacket colour, whereas metallic buttons are often seen on dressage jackets. Dressage jackets also have a single back vent compared to the double vents on a hunter jacket, and a dressage jacket will also usually have two buttons in the back as well.

How many seconds from the bell ringing to jumping first fence?
You have 45 seconds from the moment the bell rings until you will have to cross the start line for a jumper class. Beyond 45 seconds, the timers will start counting the time of your round.

How much stride do you need for the hunter ring?
Most hunter courses are set for a 12-foot stride. Some novice classes will use shorter striding (closer to 11 feet), while the bigger divisions can use as much as a 13-foot stride.

How to get a 12 foot hunter stride?
You need to lengthen your horse's stride rather than just going faster. Speeding around the course to get the proper striding will bring your score down. Lengthening the stride is something that needs to be worked on at home with your coach, well ahead of the horse shows.

What happens if I wear my hair in a show bow at a hunter show?
You won't die, but you will be out of fashion. The show bow is a very dressage-y look, while hunters tend to tuck their hair under the helmet. The extra decorations on a show bow will draw extra attention to your unusual choice of hair style. A tight bun contained in a neutral hair net or a braid tucked into your shirt would be more appropriate if you choose not to wear your hair under your helmet.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

What Happens If I Fall Off Right After the Bell?

Disclaimer: With the current focus on concussions, it's possible that this rule could be overridden. Because it is a rare occurrence, I have not witnessed such a fall for several years now and therefore cannot say how it is currently being enforced.

Imagine that you have trotted into the jumper ring to begin your round, the bell sounds, and then your horse spooks at the photographer standing behind a jump! You lose your balance and gracefully fly through the air, landing on your feet beside your incredulous horse. What happens now?

Based on Equine Canada rules, you can get back on if you fall off after the bell, but before crossing the start line. You may get back on to complete the course, provided you get back on in time! Disobediences that occur within those 45 seconds after the bell do not count towards your score. If you don't get through the timers within 45 seconds of the bell, the clock will start on your round and you will likely collect time faults unless you can make up that time. You must have jumped the first jump on course within the first 45 seconds after the time of your round has started (if you have not crossed the start line within 45 seconds of the bell, the time will start).

Here's the EC rule regarding falls just after the bell:

[...] The bell is used:
1.2. to give the signal to start and to activate a forty five (45) seconds countdown shown in the time equipment in the scoreboard or in another display beside the arena.
The forty five (45) seconds countdown sets the time that the Athlete can spare before commencing his round. The Ground Jury has the right to interrupt the forty five (45)-seconds countdown if unforeseen circumstances occur. Incidents such as, but not limited to, disobedience and falls, occurring between the signal to start and the moment the Athlete crosses the starting line in the correct direction, are not penalized.

The USEF has a similar rule in place.

If you fall off while in the ring before starting a hunter round, you will be eliminated and not allowed to continue because a hunter performance starts from the moment you enter the ring and ends only when you leave the ring.  Falling off at any point therefore constitutes a fall during your round, which necessitates elimination.

Remember that in Canada, if you fall off during a round, you may not re-mount in the ring at risk of being disqualified from all other classes in the ring that day. The USEF allows the rider to re-mount but does not permit a courtesy fence.