Monday, January 17, 2011

Options for jumpers

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...
and brakes.
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!


  1. This is a really good point - I had forgotten they do that (it's been a long time since I've shown!). Also, I think people don't realize that a lot of natural obstacles are used in jumpers, even for novice classes, such as banks, grobs, and ditches. It is one way to turn your cross country set-up into a jumper entry fairly quick.

  2. This is neat, I don't remember any classes being this way when I used to ride jumpers. (Twenty years ago.) Does anyone know how long these rules have been an option?

  3. All I know for certain is that this format has been in common use since at least 1991. This is a much more efficient and time effective way to hold a jumper class. Each horse goes once and is done. There's no need to warm up twice (which often happens if you have an early clear round in a big class) and it's much easier for riders with multiple mounts.

    There are several different jumper class formats listed in the USEF rulebook but if you spend a lot of time hanging around the jumper ring at big A shows, this is the one you'll see the most often.

  4. I started doing the jumpers in 1990. The "2-2-b" classes were pretty much all we did. The format is easier on the horses and the riders with multiple mounts. Go in, go 'round, you're done!

    The "power and speed" class (table III?) is similar, but you do not stop between rounds. If you are clear, the whistle is blown and you carry on to the first jump of the jump off.

  5. Hey, saw all three greys again tonight in the big GP. They did not win :) (Karen Cudmore's daughter - one withOUT the hair braid won on one of her mom's horses.)

  6. Hey Jennifer! Just wanted to say Happy birthday :) Hope you enjoy it!!!