Most performance showers are familiar with the classic Jumper class format. That is, each horse and rider pair competes over a course of ten to sixteen numbered obstacles. After the entire class has had a turn, those competitors who finished the course without jumping or time faults come back for a second round over a shortened course. The horse and rider with the fewest faults and the fastest time is declared the winner.
What a lot of those same performance showers probably don't know is this: that's not the only way to conduct a jumper class. In fact, Grand Prixes and Jumper Classics aside, that format--also known as Table II, Sec 2(a)--is not terribly common. Instead, your average Jumper class is far more likely to be run under Table II, Sec 2(b) rules.
Here's an excerpt from USEF rulebook:
b. Table II, Sec. 2 (b)--The first round and first jump-off, if any, are decided by adding together the faults incurred over the course and any penalties for exceeding the Time Allowed. If a competitor has gone clean in the first round, the competitor will, without leaving the ring, upon an audible signal, commence the designated jump-off course. A competitor with a clear round may dismount, and with assistance if necessary, adjust tack and/or equipment; however, upon the audible signal to begin his/her round, the competitor is responsible to adhering to the 45 seconds rule as per JP134.3. A competitor who leaves the arena after a clear round (before or after the tone) will be considered to have retired from the jump-off.
The $5,000 Open Jumper Stakes class which was held Saturday night at the National Western Stock Show was conducted under these rules. Here's a look at one competitor safely navigating the last fence of a clean first round.
After crossing through the timers, she steadied her horse to a walk and waited for the signal to begin the jump off.
Upon hearing the signal, she picked up a canter,
passed through the timers and galloped toward the first fence.
Of course not all riders choose to use the short amount of time between the rounds in the same way. Some will trot rather than walk.
Others will attempt to re-establish their steering...
If you are one of those performance showers who likes to use the same horse in every class, this is a great way to turn your slow moving or standing model into a jumper. Granted, you will probably still get beaten by a good cantering or jumping entry, but this is so much better than "waiting to start" or "entering the arena." At the very least, it indicates your model is talented enough to have jumped a clear first round!