Discipline: Show Jumping
Show Jumping, or “Grand Prix”, after the French words for “richest or largest prize”, began in Paris in 1866. By 1906, Grand Prix jumping had been proposed as a permanent part of the Olympic Games. For this competition, the horses must negotiate a course of 15-20 obstacles, with “faults” (penalty points) assigned for reducing the height of a fence, not clearing the water, or exceeding the time allowed. Course designers provide challenging courses, of colorful and creative obstacles ranging in height from 4’ to 5’6”, in similar widths, with carefully calculated distances. Riders must determine how best to get around these courses with their horse, hoping for that elusive “clear round”- in the fastest time. According to Champ Hough, a hunter jumper trainer of National prominence, in the 1950’s and 60’s, many of the best show jumpers in the country were American Saddlebreds- usually passed off as another breed, or stated to be of unknown origin. The Saddlebred, with fabulously powerful hindquarters, front end flexiblility and “can do” attitude is still out there- and still usually anonymous.