If the Kentucky Derby is the most exciting two minutes in sports, then Grand Prix Show Jumping has to be the most exciting 75 seconds (give or take a few seconds). There is nothing quite as exhilarating as sitting in a coliseum filled with people, elbow to elbow, breath held, muscles tensed and watching incredibly beautiful horses and talented riders execute a challenging jump course in the Grand Prix. The excitement and the tension are palatable. It is an amazing phenomenon that for the few seconds that horse and rider are navigating the obstacles with power, speed and precision the packed arena is practically silent. One could potentially hear the proverbial pin drop.
Show jumping, Grand Prix Show Jumping in particular is a fascinating sport that depends on the athleticism, speed, power and not to be counted out... heart of the horse. Riders must also be athletic and cunning, possessing both talent and skill. At the highest competition level these athletic partners must negotiate a technically challenging course with many turns and changes in direction comprised of brightly colored jumps with various combinations. There can be up to sixteen obstacles; the heights can be more than five feet tall and six feet wide. Regardless of gender or age and without regard to style or equitation, form or movement the horse and rider are judged solely on the speed and accuracy of which they complete the course. Those that finish the initial course clean, meaning no faults by way of rails down or refusal and finish within the allotted time will proceed to the next round... the jump off. If possible, the jump off is even more exciting than the qualifying round. Horse and rider are faced with a new shorter more challenging course, one that they do not have an opportunity to walk first and are given even fewer seconds to finish clean. The fastest clean finish (no penalties) determines the winner. And, to the victor go the spoils - usually in the way of a substantial monetary prize, ribbon, trophy and the crowd pleaser - the victory gallop!
Grand Prix Show Jumping competitions are held throughout the United States and internationally with the pinnacle of all show jumping being the Olympics. The Jump for the Children Horse Show offers a fabulous Grand Prix awarding a purse of $50,000. This event attracts national and international professional riders.
Rules for Show Jumping:
-Horse and rider must jump the course as set forth by the course designer.
-Riders must complete the course within the allotted time.
-Penalty points are used to score faults.
-A clean/clear round means horse and rider has completed the course without any faults or time penalties.
-Time faults occur when horse and rider exceed the time allowed.
-Refusing to jump an obstacle or horse and rider knocking down a rail incurs a fault and equals four points for each occurrence.
-Disqualification occurs if the horse refuses to jump an obstacle for a second time or if the rider goes off course or in the case of a fall of horse or rider.