Monday, October 5, 2009

Jumper Courses For Open Shows

A few posts ago, someone asked about jumper courses for an open show. Here are 2 courses showing optional jump offs if they are needed depending on the rule used for that class. I also don't know if the show has timers or uses a marker and stopwatch so I didn't go moving the start/finish lines in the jump offs. The only fence that I would say should require an oxer (I know it uses more standards but ...), on course A, fence 8b and I would also make fence 2 a narrow. Set jumps 4, 5 and 6 with at least 5 strides and also 5 strides at least between fence 10 and 11.

This course shows the jumps still in the same position and slight movement for the start finish unless you just use the width of the ring with timers or markers & stopwatch. There is an option for a jump off depending on what rule you use for this course. This course also uses the jumps going in the same direction as course A except for fence 10 is jumped in the opposite direction. That is an invaluable time saver when setting up a course. With only one jump needing to be a 2 way directional, it's obvious that it would be a simple vertical.

Now, I am not a jumper course designer and these are only suggested courses based on a long history of experience in the jumper ring and also from building courses at a bazillion horse shows. With non sanctioned, schooling shows, you can modify things to fit your course or ring requirements. If your ring dimensions are more square or more narrow, or have a low spot, whatever, make sure you adjust the course to maximize the space you have to set up. Also take in consideration what standards, poles, panels, post standards for oxers, etc, you have to use for a course. After you set up a course, walk it. Walk it again and check all the lines approaching and departing a fence. Then have someone ride it before opening the course to your exhibitors. Get feedback and make any adjustments you need to before allowing exhibitors on the course. I also firmly believe that a jumper course should be opened for walking and then also opened to schooling riders' with supervision of course. At sanctioned USEF shows, you can only walk the jumper courses and they are never allowed to be schooled while mounted. But, we're talking about open, schooling, non sanctioned shows. There is a difference and trying to push rated show rules onto exhibitors that may not ever go to a rated show, is a bit much. Give everyone a fighting chance to school at your open schooling show and things will be much safer and more fun.
My intention with these courses is to show that a course (1) can be built with little or no movement of the start - finish lines between courses; (2) to show that you can have variety between courses without moving jumps; (3) to show you can have variety with very few fences needing to be jumped in both directions.
I may even post some hunter courses coming up soon as I am really getting tired of the same old figure 8. It seems that there are many good intentioned volunteers working for local clubs, 4H, etc, that use the same old outside, inside, outside, inside figure 8 hunter course most likely because that's the only one they know or think they can use. As a rider you should get a little bit of challenge, even at a schooling show.


  1. First thing, I love this blog! I think its a great thing to have a perspective of a judge. Would you ever be open to doing critiques of submited photos/videos? Similar to the George Morris section in Practical Horseman. I think it would be great way to see from a judges perspective what is being marked down for in whatever disipline! I've found that some trainers loose touch with what they're seeing and what the judge is seeing.

    Secondly, thank you for commenting on the outside/inside/outside/inside of hunters. Boredom what why I quit showing them. If kids showing 2'3"+ cant handle more creative courses, they're trainer has missed something. Also thanks for the tips on jumper course design. After a few rather scary schooling show courses, I've quit going to shows without a good course designer. Which are often more money and farther away. Half debating to email your post to my favorite schooling show organizer. I'd love to attend with much safer courses like the one you posted.

    Again, LOVE the blog!


I am just one judge with one judge's opinion. Almost all of the classes I judge are based on the rules of USEF & AQHA. Judging a horse show is very subjective to the interpretation of the rules. Please keep this in mind when commenting.