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AKPaintLover 07-07-2008 12:55 AM

How high can a horse jump?
I was just wondering what is the maximum show jumping height that a horse can do on a regular basis and stay sound long term?

What is the average break down age of a show jumper?

What causes show jumpers to break down?

I live in AK, so I only read about "A circuit"...what exactly is that, and what height are those jumps?

What is "stadium jumping", what heights are those, and how long do those horses usually last?

What precautions should be taken to keep a jumping horse sound?

What factors make a show jumping horse cost:

There was a judge breifly talking about jumping at our last show, and it just got me curious.
:) :)

Supermane 07-07-2008 01:24 AM

show jumping, stadium jumping and jumpers are all the same thing.

As far as jumpers breaking down it manly has to do with the huge amount of stress put on their legs, that's why wearing jumping boots with a lot of support are so vital.

I don't do jumpers so I don't know much about how long they last, sorry.

As far as pricing goes a lot factors into. Show experience and level, training, conformation and of course naturally ability. A horse with good bascule and nice tidy style over the jumps is desired. A horse with a more hallow back over jumps won't be able to lift their legs as high.
^^Go down and look at the ideal conformation of a show jumper.

"For jumpers, the emphasis should be on hindquarters with a good length from the hip bone to the point of the buttock for power off the ground. I look for correct angles from hip to buttocks to stifle to hip. This triangle should have sides of similar lengths. A long, more level quarter equals more rrear-wheel drive. The length from stifle to hock should be similar to the length from the point of the hock to the ground. Longer-backed horses often have more scope."
--Julie Winkel

The A circuit just refers to a pretty high level show. Basically there are local shows, C shows, B shows, and A shows in the hunter/jumper world. The competition is usually better, they are usually more crowded, and of course, a lot more expensive.

upnover 07-07-2008 09:39 PM

What Supermane said is right on.

But just to add....
A lot of what you're asking doesn't have a black and white answer, it's more of a case by case basis. Lots of horses that have conformational faults can't hold up to the rigors of the high level jumpers. (But again, you see some very successful jumpers with crazy conformational faults stay sound!) It's a lot like the elite gymnists or football players. Some can do it, some bodies fall apart before they reach the upper levels. There are a lot of precautions people can take to help their horses last longer. Good nutrition, certain supplements, maybe injections, of course good farrier work, proper exercise, not starting a horse over fences too early. etc. Basically good horsemanship! We have a Selle Francais gelding at our barn who's 18 and easily and soundly does the 3"9. He's not on any kind of injections or supplements either.

"Stadium" is just form of riding. I have feeling you're talking about "grand prix" (which is the highest levels of jumpers). I think GP starts around 4"3 or 4"6? If I remember correctly the higher the prize money, the higher the fences.

Training, talent, and performance are generally what factor in the cost of a horse.

hotreddun 07-08-2008 10:42 AM

Found this on a website about the Grand Prix American Invitational this year...

Obstacles: Height 1.60 meters (5'3"), spreads to 1.72 meters (5'6") not including water jump. Speed: 400 m/min.

I'm assuming that is pretty typical of that high level of jumping.

There are also "jump-offs" that I have seen. More like stunts than competition but I believe they regularly jump to 7 feet in those.

Different factors account for "break-down." I've seen a Quarter Horse break down at age 6 because they started jumping her at age 2...way to early. And in comparison the last FEI world champion was an 18 year old stallion...Cavalor Cumano.

Precautions...don't start to young. Don't jump to much. Realize your horse's limitations...just because "a horse" can jump 7 feet doesn't mean "your horse" can jump 7 feet.

Price...wins, talent, conformation, breeding...and sadly what barn the horse lives at. A crappy horse from a famous barn can cost you double what a good horse from an unknown barn will. :?

AKPaintLover 07-09-2008 04:36 AM


Originally Posted by hotreddun
Found this on a website about the Grand Prix American Invitational this year...

Obstacles: Height 1.60 meters (5'3"), spreads to 1.72 meters (5'6") not including water jump. Speed: 400 m/min.

So...with all the best care, and age precautions taken, how often can a horse jump (and train for) this sort of level, and how long does a horse doing this last before breaking down? A season? A couple of years? Many, many years?

I always have all these weird questions, especially about should have heard me at the last show..."and how do faults work" :) I love watching jumping, and think it is really interesting...I love it after I get done with my WP and other western classes, and just get to hang out, watch, and help the jumping. Just as I get to thinking about it, I wonder if high level jumping and horse breakdowns it something like horse racing?

I know I am clueless, but what if fei?

And wow, 7' jumps! That is certainly craziness!! I think realizing a horse's limitation would be important (even for much smaller heights). How do you realize limitations on horses that have a lot of you just look for those that make it seem effortless?

Okay, I will quit jabbering...just a neat topic for me. :)

upnover 07-09-2008 09:27 AM

Isn't it crazy how high the jumps can get?! You won't see an entire course of jumps at 7 ft though, that's mainly something they do in like, a Puissance. (if you want to see something really cool, look up Puissance on youtube!) Basically everyone jumps a jump and they keep raising it until no one can jump it anymore! The last person to jump it without knocking off the top wins.
And just a bit of extra info... the jumpers start off at level 0 (or "Puddlejumpers") which is 2'9 at rated shows. They go up in 3 in increments until level 9 which is 5'0. All "grand prix" means is that there is a bigger purse for winning (i think they start off at $10,000?). The more money you can win, the higher the jumps will be. So the $10,000 GPs are only like, Level 7 or 8? I'm not certain about that though.

It is very important to know a horse's physical AND mental limitations. A horse that physically can't jump the big stuff is going to knock down a lot of rails. That will be your biggest clue that your horse doesn't have it. :) But people have to be responsible enough to know when a horse gets nervous jumping things that are higher then what they're comfortable with and make sure they're confident at the smaller stuff before moving them up higher.
I don't think some of your questions have a set answer. When you're training a horse, you start off smaller and work your way up. You just keep going up until you hit your horse's maximum height. Some horses can last YEARS at the upper levels. Some don't jump as well after a few years. A horse should be able to last longer then a season though. Most horses won't get to the GP level and just break down. Most of them will break down along the way. Which is another reason why they're so expensive, they're sound enough to get there. (And by breakdown I don't mean just fall apart, it's more, can't stay sound when he's jumped over 5') I think there are much fewer breakdowns then racehorses (I think, but no statistics). They start racing horses at a crazy young age. I mean, most of those horses are supposed to be at their peak at like, what, 3? Most jumpers start being ridden around 3ish (and there's not as much of a hurry). Because it takes so much time to train a top level horse you're not going to see any top jumpers that are only 3. So they have a little more time to develop.

FEI stands for Federation Equestre Internationale. It's the international governing body for competitive riding. Basically makes up the rules and makes sure people follow them! You may have heard of USEF, same thing but just for the US.

Keep the questions coming! I agree, i think talking about jumping is VERY fun! :) (hence the novelesque posts...) And what better way to get your answers then to ask on here?

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