03 December 2016

A Question about Stadium Jumping

  Fortunately, a television station in my area has begun showing the Longines FEI Grand Prix show (stadium) jumping.

   I've seen many of the 14 (or so) competitions from around the world.

   I don't know much about show jumping. It's fun to watch, but I haven't paid as much attention to it as other horse sports. I understand the scoring, the jump offs, etc, but I've only jumped a few times in my life...and the last time, the horse and I parted ways. I remember thinking oh, how odd the world looks and then boom...I'm on the back in the arena with a puzzled horse looking down at me. I am the type who doesn't let go the reins. Yes, I got back aboard...but my friends said maybe you're not cut out to be a jumper when you come off over a little bitty jump like that.

   I realized then that no matter how much I dreamt of eventing, I would never be a jumper.
    As I've watched the 2016 Longines competitions,  I've begun to notice something about the horses that I'm asking anyone out there to clarify for me. 

  Several of the horses in the competitions are wearing the red warning ribbon on their tail that indicates they are kickers.

   In all my time hanging around barns, dressage tests, endurance rides, three day events, shows in general to include the World Equestrian Games (admittedly, I couldn't get tickets to the show jumping) I have seldom seen a red tail ribbon.
 In all my years of massaging horses, only once did I run into a bitch mare who tried to kick me.
   Yet in this series of competitions, with big BIG names, like Pessoa, Ward, etc...I'm counting at least SIX horses wearing the "kicker' warning ribbon. 

   Six, in this case, is a statistically significant amount. 

  I'm wondering then, is kicking a by product of high stakes stadium jumping? Does the horse jump because he's a kicker? Or is he a kicker because he jumps?

  I would definitely like some feedback.



Pretty Pittie said...

My comment is not going to be at all helpful but I did want to say I've noticed the same thing. I've also noticed that going on body language it seems like a lot of stadium jumpers really are not happy horses. Not all of them but I do see a lot pinned ears, unhappy expressions and wringing tails.

Khutulan said...

Actually, your comment was VERY helpful, as it validated from another set of eyes what I have been seeing. They DO look unhappy. I see the wringing tails, the pinned ears, the sour looks. Too. Not to say ALL of them are that way, no, some appear to be absolutely gung ho about jumping. But so many red ribboned tails tells me something is going on and it's not pretty.
thank you for your comment!