The art ofjumping horses, over the centuries, has been refined and standardized to a highdegree, but the outdoor origin of this exacting sport is nonetheless stillclearly visible in every course and every obstacle on it.
The jumpinghorses themselves fall into two general categories: the hunter and the jumper.A hunter is usually a Thoroughbred used in the field with hounds, judged inshows not only for his performance, but also on his way of going, which shouldbe safe, steady and comfortable for the rider. His manners, conformation andsubstance—and sometimes his rider's appointments-are also considered.
A jumper, on theother hand, can be any breed of horse. His appearance, method of approach, andcomfort to the rider are not considered. He is scored purely on performanceover the course.
The course,which changes from class to class, indicates the order in which certain typesof obstacles must be met, and if the rider fails to keep the horse on thecorrect course he is disqualified. The type of obstacle varies, but is based ona horse's ability to jump a vertical element such as a gate, a wide, flatelement such as a ditch or stream and a combination of high and wide elementssuch as a Liverpool (see opposite page).
October 31, 1955
The course shownon the right is the one that will be used in the Jumper Stake, the National'sChampionship class for this division. It will also very likely be used inInternational events although the International courses are not posted until anhour before the class. The colors of the obstacles also vary, but can be red,gray, white, green or combinations of all these colors, depending on theobstacle itself. Thus in color too they imitate a natural barrier, as well asenhancing the decorative aspect of the ring and creating a psychological hazardfor the rider. To the horse, the colors are indifferent—as nearly as can bedetermined, he sees them all in gradations of gray, as he is nearlycolor-blind. But no matter in what color he sees them, they are going to lookbig.
SOME PROMISINGYOUNGSTERS AND THE HOPEFUL U.S. TEAM
A special kindof interest and a very special type of heartbreak centers around the juniorriders division, past proving ground for equestrian team members. Final classesin a number of important horsemanship events for these passionately dedicatedyoung competitors are traditionally held at the National.
This year'schampionship trophy of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty toAnimals will be competed for with fierceness by the young riders pictured atleft, Pamela Phillips (see cover) and by more than a score of other fineamateurs under 18 who have qualified. To enter the Maclay, as the class isgenerally known in honor of the late Alfred B. Maclay who donated the trophy, arider must win an ASPCA event at a recognized show in the course of the year.These winners then meet in New York and there the big win is decided. The classis judged on horsemanship only over eight obstacles, and the horse's jumpingfaults are not counted.
The forgivenessof jumping faults occurs only in horsemanship events. In the open jumpingclasses the faults are scored by the rules of the American Horse ShowsAssociation. Generally speaking—depending on the type of class—a horse isfaulted when he touches the obstacle, when he knocks down an obstacle and whenhe refuses to jump or runs out. Points are scored against the horse for theseand other faults, and the animal with the lowest score wins the class.
Internationalcompetitions, on the other hand, are judged by the code laid down by theFederation Equestre Internationale (F.E.I.), which guides all Internationalcompetitions and the Olympic equestrian events. Time limits are also set forthe course, and they can be the deciding factor in an award.
The New YorkNational and the Toronto, Canada show in mid-November, will be an excellentchance before the Olympic Games for the U.S. Equestrian Team (right) to provethemselves in action against foreign teams. They still must clinch theirpositions, of course, in the final Olympic trials to be held at Tryon, N.C.next spring. But the present International competitions will have some bearingon those trials—and in New York next week the team will be riding on itsmettle.
NEW MEMBER Hugh Wiley, 28, competed with team in Europe last summer on Coq de Guerre (left) and Nautical.
OLD MEMBER Charles Dennehy Jr., 23, was on 1954 team, in Mexico for Pan-American Games in spring. He holds Altmeister (left) and Pill Box.
NEW COACH Bertalan de Nemethy, Hungarian Cavalry School graduate, is acquainted with European obstacles.