Equestrian Sport: A look at jumping now and then

4 min.

Once upon a time, equestrian sport was very different from now – or was it? Do you remember the time when the riding helmet sat loosely on your head without a chin strap? Or when it was quite normal to ride with bandages on a jumping course? Here we take a look at how times have changed within the discipline of jumping. You may be suprised.

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With a smile on your face, you can quickly conclude that the riding style as well as the approach to the horse’s and rider’s need for equipment was simpler in the past than it is now. Whether the way of riding itself has changed can probably be argued. The equestrian technique today may have evolved in line with the experience gained in equestrian sports. But the riders ”I-can-do-this” and the horses’ temperaments are clearly the same. Look at the videos we have found for you. And then judge for yourself and maybe get a little laugh along the way.

1920s:

Terrain jump in Germany

Let’s start in the 1920s. Back then it was apparently not entirely uncommon to give his horse a slap with the whip in the back on his way across a jump. Fortunately, that riding style is rarely seen in equestrian sport today. Nevertheless, what is fun to see is how the obstacles are pretty much similar to those used in eventing and hunting today.

1930s:

Dublin Horse Show in Ireland

In this video from 1939, it is remarkable that the rider wears a hat rather than a helmet, and that the equipment in general is at a minimum compared to today. The video is recorded in black and white. It can therefore be a little difficult to watch, but try to notice how little equipment both riders and horses are wearing.

1960s:

Equestrian Jumping in the UK

Looking back at equestrian sport and more precisely jumping let us go to the 1960s. Back then neither the surface nor the leg protection seemed to be very modern. However, martingale and lambcover on the noseband were diligently used. It is also worth noticing the horses. Many of them are a lot heavier than the athletic ones seen today.

1970s:

Horse of the Year Show in the UK

Another entertaining video is from a jump off in 1977, where a handsome rider starts to argue with the judges. Could this happen in 2021? Maybe…. When it comes to the equipment however, the horse here has a pair of front leg gaiters on, but bites and nosebands are undeniably simpler than what you often see today.

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1990s:

Jump off in the US

Here you can enjoy a revisit to the 1990s: You can clearly see the missing chin strap on the riding helmets. If you also look at the stirrups, they look more like something that belongs on a dressage track than on a jumping course. Safety was apparently not prioritized. Fortunately that has changed.

2000s:

Athens Olympics

Of course, we also have to look back at the 00s. Here it is a ride from the Olympics in Athens in 2004. Still a little has happened, if you compare it with todays look and methods in equestrian sport. The horse is similar to the ones we know, but try to take a look at the rider’s helmet.

There are plenty of nostalgic videos like these online – especially on YouTube. We just picked a small selection for you. If you have become curious, then have fun surging for more.

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