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​5 Tips to Starting Show Jumping


First of all, why get into show jumping? Beyond the beautiful red rosette wall and a magical horse leaping over it, is a combination of athleticism, power, focus, good body control, trust and accuracy by the human and the horse. It is challenging and fun and has many different levels of opportunity.

Second, what exactly is show jumping? Show jumping is a race against the clock while trying to have no faults (like knocking down a rail). If you have the fastest time and no faults, you win! As easy as that, right? Not so much. Here are a few tricks to getting you started (on the right hoof) with show jumping!

1. Get the gear!

You don’t need to start out with a matching saddle pad and ears, but a good pair of grip breeches, a back protector (or air jacket), and a GP or jumping saddle will provide you with security and be something you’re glad you have!

2. Start small

We are referring to your goals. By setting small, achievable goals, you are setting yourself up for success. Going to a group lesson will allow you to learn and watch from others. Don’t make a big competition your initial goal. Start small with learning and attending clinics and then sign up for a small competition. We suggest signing up for a local, unaffiliated show that is low pressure and inexpensive to enter!

3. Find a barn and do lessons regularly

An instructor knows what you will see in competition and can design specific exercises to help you practice. We suggest practicing combinations and one or two stride doubles as well as dog legs.

4. Lease or buy a horse

If you want to lease a horse, we suggest leasing an experienced Showjumper. If your only option is to lease out an average horse, then you may be better off buying. You don’t want to lease a horse to improve YOUR riding and then end up spending all your time training the horse.

5. Have confidence

The minute you lose confidence, so will your horse. You need that trust in order to lead the horse into the right direction and have the horse take you over the fence. If you get nervous, so will your horse.

If you really want to stick with show jumping, make sure you are having fun! The minute the competition becomes too much, take a step back. 

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