If you are planning on doing some horse jumping it is important to get your horse to take off at the correct ‘spot’.
Terminology In Horse Show Jumping
The Long Spot – When jumping, taking off to early or far from the base of the fence is called a “long spot”. Whether you are horse jumping in the hunter ring (being judged on the form and technique of the horse) or in the Show Jumping arena getting to the right spot is important.
Taking off too soon and getting a long sport will result in:
the horse having to make more of an effort to get over the fence. Taking off too soon will require the horse to make more of an effort to get to the other side of the fence. If it is a big or technical fence it could cause a knock down or fall of the rider.
The rider being left behind, which in turn may cause the horse to have bad form or knock down a fence jumping.
The Chip – Or getting in too close.
Chipping in or getting a teeny tiny stride in front of the fence will result in:
The rider being ahead of the horse and weighting the horses front end. This prevents the ability of the horse from being light on his front end and being able to lift his front end up.
Getting in too close does not allow the horse enough time to lift his legs out of the way and may result in a knock down.
5 Factors that Determine Your Take Off Spot When Show Jumping
Your horse should take off approximately the height of the jump away from the fence. So if you were jumping a 3′ fence then your horse should take off approximately 3 feet away from it.
There are five main factors that determine where your take off is for the jump:
- The height of the jump. The take off point should be approximately the height of the jump away from the fence.
- HOw long your horse’s stride is. The longer and faster your horse, the father out from the base of the jump the horse will take off. If your horse has a short stride your horse will get deeper to the fence and take off closer to the base of the jump. If you have alonger stride then the horse will take off farther away from the base of the jump.
- Jumping from sand or grass. The type and depth of footing will determine the take off spot. If there is deep footing the horse will get closer to the base. Deep sand versus hard footing or grass are all considerations on the take off spot.
- The Type of jump. Horses will jump further from the base of a vertical and get closer to the base of an oxer.
- Location of the jump in the course. For example, riding a line from a vertical to an oxer is longer than riding from an oxer to a vertical. This is because of the arc the horse makes when jumping. The horse will physically land further into the line when jumping the oxer first so this will give him less usable space between fence.
If you see a tight distance coming don’t abandon your horse. Sit up, keep your eyes up and keep the energy coming from behind with a closed leg. Sitting up will help the horse to use his hindquarters and be able to lift up its front end out of the way. Keeping him balance and able to use his hindquarters will allow him to jump from a deep distance.