8 reasons why showjumping trumps dressage

  • We each have our favourite discipline — and each has its own charms, as well as its drawbacks. Here a showjumper argues for her sport over dressage — but do you agree?

    1. Judging

    The fence either stays up or it doesn’t, and you’re either the fastest or you’re not. It’s not down to anyone’s opinion, you’ve either won or you haven’t. Job done.

    2. Learning the course

    No one expects you to know where you’re going before you get to the show, then you get the chance to walk your course while you’re there. Of course, you’re not allowed to have anyone standing by the ring shouting out said course as you go round — not officially, anyway…

    3. Martingales

    If your horse is “feeling well” at this time of year, or decides to perform an impromptu piaffe at an inopportune moment, it’s nice to have something to hang on to. Plus of course all the official benefits of a martingale…

    4. Plaiting

    Showjumping class starts at 9am? No problem. A good brush the night before then a once-over in the morning and you’re all set, without having to get up at the crack of dawn to spend hours creating beautiful (or not, as the case may be) plaits, made even more difficult if your horse is rather on its toes.

    5. Style

    You just have to clear the fences, there’s no penalty for the way you or your horse looks as you’re doing it. Which is sometimes a very good thing.

    6. Boots

    Stained legs? No problem! Tendon and fetlock boots can cover a multitude of sins. And no, we don’t really mean this one. Probably.

    7. Hairnets

    Is there anything more frustrating than looking for a hairnet at the last minute before you leave the house for a competition? And then finding it has a huge hole in it when you locate it? Thank goodness that’s one less thing to worry about when it comes to showjumping. Let that hair hang out…

    Continued below…

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    8. The jumps

    The feeling you get when you get the perfect shot to that big oxer. Can any half-pass, however perfect, even try to compete?

    Don’t miss this week’s showjumping special issue of Horse & Hound magazine (30 March 2017), where we find out how Scott Brash’s Ursula became a showjumping superstar 

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