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Eventing: cross country jumpingRead more

Eventing: cross country jumping

Cross country jumping is a test of endurance, skill and agility following a prescribed course through forest and fields. The horse and rider are required to negotiate natural obstacles like logs, ditches, streams, banks, hills, and fences. The course may be over 2 miles (4000m), although at the lower levels the distance and pace will be much less. Cross country is often part of a three day event or horse trial that may include stadium jumping and dressage. What is the Goal?: The goal of cross country jumping is to jump a clear round with no penalties for disobediences, falls,or rider errors. An optimum time is posted and competitors must complete within this time window. While the goal of some competitors may be a ribbon, many compete for the thrill of completing. Equipment You'll Need: You will need: Forward seat or all purpose (preferably close contact) English saddle. A humane bit and leather bridle. Synthetic tack may not be allowed--local rules vary. Crash vest Medical arm band. A shirt with sleeves. ASTM Helmet. (Skull Caps preferred--no brim.) Leg protection for the horse. Crop and/or spurs. Tall boots or all leather half chaps and boots--local rules vary. Watch with large face or readout. At lower levels, these may not be allowed. Leg protection for the horse. All equipment must be in excellent condition. What to Expect: Before you begin you will be given an 'order of go'. Horses may be checked for soundness before and/or after you ride. You will be signaled to start, usually in a start box, and you choose your pace according to the optimum time. When you finish you will remove your horse's tack, cool him out using cool water, sponges and a sweat scraper and present for inspection (local rules will vary). The ideal score is '0', meaning no penalties or time faults. Preparing Your Horse: Cross country jumping is also known by some as endurance riding. Fitness is a very important element, not only to compete successfully, but safely. A tired horse or rider can mean obstacles are negotiated poorly, resulting in stumbles or falls. Tired muscles can become strained. If you are riding most days of the week doing flat work and jumping your horse will likely be fit for the lowest levels. You may want to add in conditioning over the same sort of distance and terrain you will be facing. Start slowly building up speed and distance. Your horse must be controllable in open areas and a confident jumper. Preparing Yourself: Rider fitness is as important as horse fitness. Don't rely on someone else to condition your horse. You must put in hours of schooling with your horse on the flat and over fences to ensure your horse is absolutely obedient. Schooling over a cross country course with a coach will help you learn pacing and how to safely negotiate the course. The Benefits: Cross country jumping is a physical and mental challenge for horse and rider. It is a great confidence builder to successfully complete a cross country course. From: http://horses.about.com/od/horsesportsexplained/p/gocrosscountryj.htm

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The greatest moments of Olympic equestrian eventsRead more

The greatest moments of Olympic equestrian events

While the medal presentations are always a highlight there are sometimes events that occur, or horses and riders that go beyond the expectations.

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Getting ready for your first riding classRead more

Getting ready for your first riding class

This article assumes you've already made that difficult decision and are scheduling your first lesson. Barns generally have one of two policies regarding beginners. Some barns start all beginners off in private lessons. Others put beginners together in small groups. Both approaches can work equally well. However, if given the choice, it is often best to have your first lesson be a one on one with the instructor.

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Horse polo: exclusive sport for real athletesRead more

Horse polo: exclusive sport for real athletes

Imagine a ball hit so hard that it is coming at you at a speed of 110 miles per hour! The ball is moving so fast you can hardly see it. Your job is to stay at a gallop, get your horse in line with this flash of white and either pass it ahead to a teammate or carry the ball down the field for an attempt at a goal. This is polo as played by some of the greatest athletes in the world.

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An Introduction to Dressage RidingRead more

An Introduction to Dressage Riding

What is Dressage? Many people have seen Olympic or Grand Prix level dressage on television. The horses seem to do intricate maneuvers as the rider sits almost motionless. But, dressage isn't just fancy moves with hard to pronounce names! Every time we train our horses to carry us with more ease, and respond to subtle aids, we are training them in basic dressage. Dressage is teaching a horse to be supple, balanced and responsive. A kur is a dressage test ridden to music. You are given a set of required elements and create your own test to instrumental music you choose. Some tests can be ridden in pairs or teams.

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