Saturday, 11 June 2011

Equestrian Jumping - Rules & Penalties

Rules have evolved since then, with different national federations having different classes and rules.The international governing body for most major show jumping competitions is the Federation Equestrian Internationale (FEI). The rules used in Olympic Equestrian competitions are the international rules as set out by the FEI. The two most common types of penalties are jumping penalties and time penalties.

General Rules
  1. A ground jury consisting of various judges and officials and qualified according to FEI standards inspects the course and judges the competition.
  2. Horses must be at least 9 years old for Olympic competition.
  3. A bell is used to communicate with the competitor and is used to signal various events such as when they may enter the arena, a halt or continue in case of an interruption, or to indicate the rider is eliminated.
  4. Red or white flags are used to mark obstacles or mandatory turns.
  5. Jumps generally are categorized as spreads, verticals or water jumps. Jumps may be set up in combinations.
Faults and Penalties
  1. Jumping Penalties: Jumping penalties are assessed for refusals and knockdowns, with each refusal or knockdown adding four faults to a competitor's score.
  2. Penalties for knockdowns are imposed only when the knockdown changes the height or width of the jump. If a horse or rider knocks down a bottom or middle rail while still clearing the height of the obstacle, providing the rails are directly underneath the top rail, they receive no penalties. Penalties are assessed at the open water when any of the horse's feet touch the water or white tape marking its boundary. If a rail is set over the middle of the water, faults are not accumulated for landing in the water.
  3. Refusals: Refusals now are penalized four faults, up from three. Within the last several years, the FEI has decreased the number of refusals resulting in elimination from three to two, and this rule has trickled down from the top levels of FEI competition to all levels of horse shows
  4. A refusal that results in the destruction of the integrity of a jump (running into the fence instead of jumping it, displacing poles, gates, flowers, or large clumps of turf or dirt) will not receive four faults for the knockdown, but instead the four faults for a refusal and an additional penalty while the timer is stopped for the repair or replacement of the jump. A refusal inside a combination (a series of two or more fences with one or two strides between each element) must re-jump the entire combination.
  5. Time Penalties: In the past, a common timing rule was a 1/4 second penalty for each second or fraction of a second over the time allowed. Since the early 2000s, this rule was changed by the FEI so that each second or fraction of a second over the time allowed would result in 1 time penalty (e.g. with a time allowed of 72 seconds, a time of 73.09 seconds would result in 2 time faults).
  6. Combinations: A refusal at any of the jumps in combination results in the horse having to repeat the entire set of obstacles, not just the element refused. Therefore, if each of the three fences in a triple combination were knocked down, the rider would receive 12 faults (4 per fence, instead of 4 faults for the entire obstacle.

Equestrian Jumping - Courses

Jumper classes are held over a course of show jumping obstacles, including verticals, spreads, double and triple combinations, usually with many turns and changes of direction. The intent is to jump cleanly over a set course within an allotted time. Time faults are assessed for exceeding the time allowance. Jumping faults are incurred for knockdowns and blatant disobedience, such as refusals (when the horse stops before a fence or "runs out") and it affects the time required to complete the course. Horses are allowed a limited number of refusals before being disqualified. A refusal may lead to a rider exceeding the time allowed on course. In most competitions, riders are allowed to walk the initial course, but not the jump-off course (usually the same course with missing jumps, e.g., 1, 3, 5, 7, 8 instead of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9) before competition to plan their ride. Walking the course before the event is a chance for the rider to walk the lines he or she will have to ride, in order to decide how many strides the horse will need to take between each jump and from which angle. The more higher levels of competition, such as "A" rated shows in the United States, or the international "Grand Prix" circuit, present more technical and complex courses. Not only is the height and width ("spread") of an obstacle increased to present a greater challenge, technical difficulty also increases with tighter turns and shorter or unusual distances between fences. Horses sometimes also have to jump fences from an angle rather than straight on. Unlike show hunter classes, which reward calmness and style, jumper classes require boldness, scope, power, accuracy, and control; speed also is a factor, especially in jump-off courses and speed classes (when time counts even in the first round). A jumper must jump big, bravely, and fast, but also must be careful and accurate to avoid knockdowns and must be balanced and rideable in order to rate and turn accurately. In a jump-off, a rider must balance the need to go as fast as possible and turn as tightly as possible against the horse's ability to jump cleanly with good scope.

Equestrian Jumping - Types of Competition & Horses

Various Types of Show Jumping Competitions include:

Grand Prix is  the highest level of show jumping. Run under International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) rules, the horse jumps a course of 10 to 16 obstacles, with heights and spreads of up to 6.5 feet (2.0 m).

Puissance is the high-jump competition in the equestrian sport of show jumping. It consists of a short course of fences, ending in the final puissance wall. After the completion of the course, the horse and rider pairs that went clear move on to the next round, where the puissance is raised.

Six-Bar riders jump six fences set in a straight line. In most places, fences are placed at equal distances apart, the first fence is the lowest and each subsequent fence is higher than the one before. Horses either are penalized or eliminated from competition if they knock down a rail.

Gambler's choice/accumulator is an event where exhibitors choose their own course, with each fence cleared worth a given amount of points based on difficulty. The entry who accumulates the most points within a set time limit on course is the winner.

Calcutta is a jumping event where spectators bet on which horse will win by means of an auction where the highest bidder has the exclusive bet on a given horse. Although the exact mechanism varies by region and culture, as a rule, the spectator who bets on the winner collects all money bet and then splits the purse with the owner of the winning horse.

Maiden, novice, and limit is Jumping classes limited to horses with fewer than one, three, or six wins. Fences are usually lower and time limits more generous.

Match race or double slalom
is two identical courses are set up in a split arena, and two horses jump over the courses in a timed competition.

Touch class is a class held much as a normal show jumping class, except that if the horse touches the jump it is considered four faults.

Faults converted is a class in which any faults are converted into seconds on the clock, usually at the rate of 1 second per fault.

A show jumper must have the scope and courage to jump large fences as well as the athletic ability to handle the sharp turns and bursts of speed necessary to navigate the most difficult courses. Many breeds of horses have been successful show jumpers, and even some grade horses of uncertain breeding have been champions. Ponies also compete in show jumping competitions in many countries, usually in classes limited to youth riders, defined as those under the age of 16 or 18 years, depending on the sanctioning organization. Pony-sized horses may, on occasion, compete in open competition with adult riders.

Equestrian Jumping - Types

A showjump fence that consists of poles directly above each other with no spread or width, to jump.

Vertical (or upright) - A showjump fence that consists of poles directly above each other with no spread or width, to jump.

Oxer - Basically the oxer showjump has two verticals placed reasonably close together to make the jump wider.
  1. Square oxer (sometimes known as Box Oxer): both top poles are of an equal height
  2. Ascending oxer (usually called a Ramped Oxer): the furthest pole is higher than the first
  3. Descending oxer (usually called an Offset Oxer): the furthest pole is lower than the closest
  4. Swedish oxer: the poles slant in opposite directions, so that they appear to form an "X" shape when seen head on.
    Triple Bar - The tripple bar has three poles placed across to produce a wide spread or oxer.

    Cross Rail - not commonly used in sanctioned horse shows, and sometimes called a "cross-pole," two poles crossed with one end of each pole being on the ground and on jump standards so that the center is lower than the sides

    Wall - This type of showjump is usually made to look like a brick wall, however the "bricks" are constructed of a lightweight material and fall easily when knocked by the horse.

    Hogsback – a type of spread fence with three rails where the tallest pole is in the center

    Combination – usually two or three jumps in a row, with no more than two strides between each. two jumps in a row are called double combinations, and three jumps in a row are called triple combinations

    Fan: the rails on one side of the fence are spread out by standards, making the fence take the shape of a fan when viewed from above

    Open Water - A wide ditch of water. The water can be open or have a jump at the entrance or exit.

    Liverpool - A liverpool showjump is simply a ditch of water placed under a vertical or an oxer.

    Joker – a tricky fence comprising only a rustic (or unpainted) rail and two wings wherein the lack of filler makes it difficult for a horse to judge their proximity to the fence as well as the fence's height, making it a tricky obstacle usually found only in the upper divisions, and illegal in some competitions

    At international level competitions that are governed by FEI rules, fence heights begin at 1.50 metres (4 ft 11 in).

    Friday, 10 June 2011

    Equestrian Jumping - Debut in Olympics

    Equestrian made its Summer Olympics debut at the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris, France. At the 1900 Summer Olympics, five equestrian events were contested. Only three are currently considered Olympic by the International Olympic Committee including "Jumping". In 1900, Show jumping allowed both military and non-military riders (and their mounts) to compete, excluding military school horses. Today, it is open to both sexes on any horse. This is perhaps the most commonly known of the equestrian events. The competitions themselves will vary in style but generally the horse and rider must follow a specified route around the arena and jump specific obstacles in sequence. The rails of the obstacles are not solid and if contact is made by the horse the rails will fall. The objective and judging relate to the horse and rider being able to jump the set course without upsetting any of the obstacles and sometimes also in a specified time frame. The course was 850 meters long with 22 jumps, including a double jump and a triple jump as well as a 4-meter water jump. 45 competitors entered, though only 37 competed. Some information is known on 10 of the competitors, though of the rest all that can be deduced from the nationalities of the entrants is that, of the remaining unknowns that did compete, at most 1 was a Russian, up to 3 were Italian, at least 3 and up to 9 were Belgian, and between 14 and 20 were French.