In show jumping, cavaletti are stacked in a manner that allows them to stand up if lightly hit with a hoof or leg but will give way if knocked down. Standards have squared edges to prevent them from presenting sharp corners that could injure horses or riders.
Paint protects wood and keeps it from rotting quickly. If you notice white stains on your school jumps, it is time to reapply the coat of paint.
Ascending and Square Oxers
Adding fillers to your jumps can help your horse see the ground line of the fence. They can also help the horse avoid running out (going around the jump rather than over it). You may use colorful fillers, planks, or even old carpets. These can help desensitize your horse to the obstacles they might encounter at competition.
A cross rail is a jump that has two standards, with one side resting on the other. It encourages the horse to jump in the center of the jump and is often used as a starter fence for spread or combination jumps.
A Swedish oxer has one set of top poles higher than the other, creating an X shape when seen from the front. This is a formidable oxer used in the highest jumping levels. It is not to be confused with a descending oxer, which is forbidden in the sport because of safety concerns.
A table jump has two vertical posts and a crossbar, with cups to hold the bar at different heights. It is an easy and economical way to build a jump for practice and training. Paint the wooden surfaces white to help your horse see it better.
Standing before a jump or blocking others from using it when you’re not riding is not polite. It also causes horses to be tense when passing over the obstacle.
It’s helpful to remember how much your horse works when deciding how far to set your jumps from one another. Your horse will work harder in deep sand, so it may need to go further between jumps than in shallow sand. If you need to, you can use soccer or collapsible cones by the leap to mark a clear path of travel. Like the wall caddy, this helps riders track where their horse is going as they approach a jump and can reduce tripping hazards for the competitors and spectators.
In jumper competitions, some course designers create combinations of obstacles. For example, a Coffin or Normandy bank may have two verticals close together, requiring the horse to take a bounce stride between them. The horse that jumps a combination with the fewest faults is the winner.
Show jumping obstacles are designed to test a horse’s speed and accuracy over them. Knocked or fallen rails incur time penalties that hurt a rider’s score. Cross-country obstacles, on the other hand, are solid and mimic natural elements you’d find on a forest trail or during a fox hunt.
Often, jumps are made of long wooden poles that rest in “cups” attached to the standards. When using a power drill to make the holes, always use a level to ensure the hole is perfectly centered. Also, make sure that each “cup” is sanded so it doesn’t have sharp corners. This will prevent your horse from injuring itself when it misses a jump.
The first step in building your training jump is to set 2 standards 6 ft (1.8 m) apart. Next, place one end of a length of PVC pipe in each jump cup to create a training bar.
The PVC is light enough that, should your horse miss the jump, it won’t injure itself. PVC pipes are also inexpensive and easy to work with. They’re a popular schooling tool, but you should only use them as part of your overall jumping program for short periods.
Showjumper Javan Dalman designs build, competes with his eye-catching jumps, and teaches jumping to riders at all levels. We talked with him about caring for and maintaining jumps, new design trends, and safety issues in the ring.