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Helmet cam view of a cross-country equestrian jumping competition

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Cross-country jumping is an equestrian sport that can challenge a horse and rider pair’s speed, endurance, confidence, and jumping ability. Typically one of three horse trials in a three-day competition, which also includes stadium jumping and dressage, the team jumps over two to three dozen obstacles on a 4.5 to 6 kilometer (2.8 to 3.7 mile) long course.


In the helmet cam video above, professional rider Elisa Wallace rides Johnny, officially named Simply Priceless, in the CIC 3 Star division of the 2017 Ocala Jockey Club Three Day Event in Ocala, Florida. The footage provides a six and a half minute glimpse into what it’s like to ride and jump in a competition. From Wikipedia:

“Cross-country courses for eventing are held outdoors through fields and wooded areas. The terrain is unique for each course, which usually incorporates the course into the natural terrain of the area, and therefore events in certain parts of the world may be held on mostly flat land, while others are over very strenuous hills.”

obstacle jumping under trees
jumping into water

“Good course designers will use the terrain to either help the inexperienced horse and rider at the lower levels to prepare for an obstacle, or to make an obstacle more difficult for the experienced competitors. For example, the designer may place a fence at the opening of a wooded area, resulting in a lighting difference between the takeoff and landing side. This requires careful riding and a confident horse. Designers may make an obstacle more difficult by placing it along the side of a steep hill, at the top of a mound (so the horse can not see the landing until he is about to take off, testing bravery), or use the natural trees and ditches to force riders to take slightly more difficult lines to their fences.”

jumping over a lemon obstacle

“A good course designer will be able to incorporate the obstacles into the landscape so that they seem natural, yet still fairly test the horse and provide the horse an option to run-out if the rider makes a mistake. Most designers use accuracy fences, such as skinnies (fences with a narrow face) and corners, to make the rider’s job more difficult, while still being very ‘horse-friendly.'”

cross country jumping
Follow Elisa Wallace on Instagram and YouTube.

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