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Know the Show Jump Course for Newcomers

Are you ready to attend your first event, but would you like to try riding at home? After all, practice makes perfect. First, you must perform a series of jumps in a row from home to perform well in the show rings. Know the Show Jump Course for Newcomers

This guide will assist you in making a safe and enjoyable show jumping course suitable for any size of the arena. We’ll also talk about the different kinds of jumps and other types of jump courses, such as the hunter course or an Equitation course.

Show Jumps 101

Vertical jumps consist of at least one pole (or planks) placed directly over each one. The leap is not spread width.

The term “oxer” is an umbrella term that refers to two vertical jumps placed adjacent to one another to create a larger leap. The space between these two jumps can be referred to as the spread.

Traditional Oxers feature a rear bar slightly taller than the front bar. This is sometimes referred to as an ascending Oxer. Box/Square Oxers come with both bars of equal height. Descending Oxers have the second bar lower than the previous.

Swedish Oxers create an X from the sky. Think about it like a large, elevated, and long cross-rail.

Hogsback jumps are made up of three bars, with the tallest in the middle. Triple Bars are made up of three bars instead the standard two. A Liverpool can be described as a jump with water underneath it. Wall jumps look like massive walls made of brick (or rock!) wall. But don’t worry, it isn’t solid. The bricks are constructed of soft substances like foam, which can be easily knocked over and break easily in the event of hitting. The jump is very popular among participants in the Puissance competition.


A jumper course consists of how many jumps?

Although a course for jumping will be different at each show generally, it includes a minimum of eight jumps and up to 16 jumps. Olympic courses typically have between 12 and 14 jumps, with the maximum number being 17.


What is your method for counting fence strides?

My trainer once informed me that perhaps the most significant aspect of jumping is the preparation between the jump and afterward. The ability to safely use ground poles (set at the distance of the jumps) or cross-rails is crucial before you begin climbing up. That being said, how do you efficiently get between the jumps? First, count your strides!

The stride length of an average horse’s stride is twelve feet, and when you consider the landing and taking off, you can add the additional twelve feet. Therefore, a 3-stride combination would total you 48 feet from the start (takeoff) to the final (landing).


If you’re taking strides in your course, you could count the ‘downbeat’ stride (so when the inside leg is pushed ahead). I always count ‘1,2’ when I am on course to keep the pace of my horse. You can track strides in between jumps with ease.


Once you’ve learned to count strides and alter the length of your leaps, making fun combinations like the bounce is possible! A bounce jump doesn’t contain any strides between the landing of the jump and the takeoff for the subsequent. Be sure to verify your distance multiple times. I suggest using a tape measure to ensure that you are at the correct length (12 inches).

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Is it a good idea to build jumps at home?

Before you build an obstacle course, you need to make the jumps! There are various methods to build safe jumps that will last for an extended period.

  • The most convenient alternative is to purchase the jump standard or block. This set of State Line Tack is capable of stacking, allowing you to create cabalettas and even build up height:
  • If you’re looking for a more traditional standard for jumping one, you can purchase this model at Schneider Saddlery.

DIY Jumps

If you’re a crafter and have the right power tools, you can create your jump standards of 4×4″ and 2×4″s or 2×6″s to make the base. You’ll need a cutting saw or chop saw and a drill that has a bit large enough to drill holes through the 4×4 to make space for the jump cups to be placed. For rails, you can use lightweight PVC pipes that are cut to size or take with the traditional method of using landscaping timbers from Lowe’s or your local home and garden retailer. If you are using timber, you could also paint the poles in fun colors.


Pro-Tip: When you paint your homemade jumps, use oil-based paint over latex to get longer-lasting results. Also, we recommend spending the extra money on exterior finish paint- it will stand up against wear and tear and won’t get as brittle in the sunlight.

Course Design

After you’ve got your jumps and know how to count and measure your distances, it’s time to create a course! There are plenty of incredible books and programs available that can help you design the first class.


Common Show Jumping Course Layouts

Equitation courses may have special courses that may consist of trot jumping, rollbacks, or perhaps a stop within the course.

A course for Jumpers (which can be timed) will include outlines (i.e., the set of jumps that are near the rail of an arena’s long sides) as well as the diagonal Line (i.e., the jumps are arranged along one side of the circle) as well as rollbacks (i.e., jump, followed by a turn that leads to a new jump) as well as the extremely exciting Triple combination of jumps.

A triple-jump is similar to what it is: three jumps in one Line. One jump will be less distance in comparison to the second. A triple combo might be a vertical that has five strides leading to the next vertical and three strides to the Oxer.

What is the best app for designing jump courses?

  1. Course Tool is a unique course design tool that can be utilized on your mobile and computer. The app’s official name will be Course Design – Premium ($5.99). There’s also a free version.
  2. This New Zealand-based Strides program, which is based in New Zealand, offers a variety of options for subscriptions ranging from a single day to the full year. Also, they have a free distance calculator that you can access on their site!
  3. The Jump Off Pro Application provides various tools to help you design your courses, including the possibility of sharing your course with others and an innovative way to show the course. It’s also the most highly rated option on the App Store.


In your opinion, what is the best course for 4 jumps?


If you’re using the space of a small arena and want to have a four-jump course, then a four-jump is a good option. I suggest one jump from the outside and an oxer with a long approach on the diagonal, and an inside line that has two jumps. Make sure you have ground or filler poles on each side of that fence. This will allow you to leap the fences in both directions.


Is there a place where you can find ideas for show jump courses?

Susan Tinder’s Jump Course Design manual is an excellent source of ideas for designing courses ranging from friendly to difficult! It also contains courses from the previous Medal/Maclay finals on the internet. My favorite method to get courses is to go to horse shows, observe, and make notes of the events. I learn many things from watching the various disciplines, including Hunter Derbies to Power and Speed showjumping events. There are many innovative course concepts you can attempt at your own home.


Arena Consideration

Good footing is an absolute requirement for any course that has a jump. You may hurt your horse if your footing isn’t deep enough or hard. Always ensure a firm footing and no holes before setting up a course for jumping.


What is the best way to set up jumps if you have a small arena?

If you are in a smaller arena, set up your track or course to use the whole area. Jumps can be placed directly on the rails of the arena. You can also improve your flatwork by advancing through on the quarter-line (halfway from the railway to the middle of the circle). Do you have efficient lead changes? Be sure to include tracks that work on the issue. If you create four jumps inside an area, you can make the “clover” exercise, where you take turns and switch off the lead. Then, you can make an all-four leaf clover along your track!

Parting Thoughts


Remember that the most important aspect of jumping is safety for both yourself and your horse! Be sure to check your footings as well as your jumping. Double-check your distances. Make sure you use safe jump cups, as rails won’t be thrown off. Always wear a helmet and enjoy yourself!

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