How many of you have tolerant, non-horsey fans at competitions or just at the yard? Last weekend Otis’s devoted chauffeur had to build a course of show jumps for us. Whilst warming up I instructed him about building jumps, but I thought that you almost need an instruction book for beginner course builders – there’s a lot that we equestrian’s take for granted.
- The posts at the side of the jump are called jump stands, if they’re trapezium shaped, they’re called wings.
- Poles are the things we jump over. They come in different lengths, so watch out when picking the poles to create a jump. Wooden ones can be quite heavy, and plastic ones lighter – don’t get a shock picking up a wet wooden pole. Planks are the flat poles, usually resembling a plank of wood.
- The things that the pole rests on are called cups. There are special quick-release cups for the back pole of spreads.
- A cross pole has one pole resting on the ground, the other in the cup, with a small gap between the poles.It’s usually the first jump we jump when we ride.
- An upright fence is a horizontal pole resting on the cups. There should be a pole on the floor, called a ground line. It either goes directly under the jump or slightly in front.
- A spread, or oxer, is a jump with two sets of poles and wings. The front pole should never be higher than the back pole.
- Those bright things that go under the jumps are called fillers.
- If you’re measuring the jump it’s important to measure the centre of the fence.
- Doubles are two jumps with either one stride or two strides between. If you have a refusal over the second you have to jump both aspects again.
- A pole 3-4 yards away from a jump is called a placing pole, because it places the horse in the right place to take off.
I could go on, and on. And I haven’t even started talking about distances between combinations or dog legs …