By Jenny Richardson BHSAI
Are you interested in competitive showjumping this Autumn and Winter? The indoor showjumping season runs mainly through the winter months, starting at the end of September through until April, and most venues will run affiliated and unaffiliated competitions. Check your local indoor arena and see what they have to offer; clear round and unaffiliated competitions will start from 50 – 60 cm up to around 1.10. Show centre schedules will be clear on the rules and qualifications each class has to offer, and most will host their own in-house championships at the end of the season; they will also hold qualifying classes for National Championships, such as the Trailblazers Final, where you have first and second round competitions before gaining a ‘ticket’ to the final. If you are doing well at local venues and would like to go to a championship show, Trailblazers is an excellent starting block before you decide to join British Showjumping and become affiliated. Don’t restrict yourself to any one choice, mix and match to your own requirements!
The affiliated circuit has so much to offer, with classes from 85cm. If you are interested in contesting the Amateur classes, you will need to do First Round competitions – which run all year round – where the first six qualify to enter Second Rounds. Once you are qualified, the following Autumn, British showjumping will contact you informing you of the dates and venues of Second Round Shows. There will be various choices of venue, one of which at least will be within a reasonable distance of your base. This time you will need to come in the top twelve to reach the Finals held at Aintree, Liverpool.
Another great Winter Championship Show is the Blue Chip Finals held at Hartbury College Gloucestershire, in April. These qualifiers start in October and run until February, with amateur and novice horse classes all the way up the grades, with the top eight in each qualifier taking a direct ticket to the Championships – they are very popular indeed. As showjumping runs all year round, it is often the case that you qualify for Summer Finals in the Winter, and vice versa. Many people use the Winter months to collect their four British Novice and Discovery double clears, ready for the Second Rounds of those classes the following Summer.
If you have never been to an indoor competition before, or if you have a new horse, it is advisable to hire your local arena and meet a friend or trainer to practise, this way you can start low, and build yourself up to a course at a height with which you are happy. Before appearing at your first show, it is a good idea to be jumping slightly higher in training than you will be in competition, so that any first day nerves are settled and confidence is increased. Feeling prepared and well practised will increase your chances of success on competition days.
If you need jumping practice, consider a training break at a leading venue. Jenny Richardson BHSAI is Equestrian Centre Business Manager at Ireland’s Castle Leslie Estate, a venue that offers luxurious equestrian riding holidays and training breaks in the heart of Ireland. The team welcomes riders of all abilities and age groups and offers expert show jumping and flatwork tuition, gentle hacks and exhilarating cross-country rides over an extensive XC course. Visit www.castleleslie.com