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"Did you know...."

June/July 2010 edition

"Did you know...."

Click here for 2010 Archives


Horse Jumping History, Competition Courses and Eventing Shows

Jumping began early in France, when cross country races combined running with jumping and ran literally across the country in forerunners of today's speed derby. Although the races were fun for participants, they didn't make great observer sports, since the crowd would have had to follow the horses on their fifty or hundred kilometer runs. It didn't take long for the French to realize that horseback jumping in an arena both satisfied spectators and made money for everyone else. 

The British took up the call to jumping when, in the 18th Century, the Enclosures Act resulted in a landed class that owned fields which had previously been open. Typical of landed gentry, they fenced off their fields and then had to learn to jump fences when engaged in fox hunting. Jumping became a sport in its own right, and in 1907 was introduced as a competitive sport in England. Today, jumping is an equestrian sport in Grand Prix held worldwide and with its own place in the Olympics. Some things have changed: most recently, fox hunting has been banned in England. Earlier than that, experts in jumping discovered that the typical English riding saddle, with its long stirrups, inhibited the movement of a jumping horse. A new saddle, with shorter stirrups and a forward seat was introduced to enable horses to center their gravity properly with a person riding. 

(excerpt from an article in Horses and Horse Information. For full article please see

http://www.horses-and-horse-information.com/articles/horseshowjumping.shtml )


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