Any horse lover knows the basics of equine care and breeding, but the sport of horse jumping has an interesting history. From a time when horses ran wild in many parts of the world to the modern day competitions, equestrian jumping is a sport that closely resembles its roots. Here are some little known facts about its origin.
It seems people have been interested in horse racing for centuries, and cross-country racing was popular in eighteenth century France. This was a problem for spectators, though, since they would only be able to view a quick portion of each race. The French decided to appease the audiences and turned to arenas and jumping.
In England, jumping started for a different reason. The British used horses for fox hunting, but quickly found that fenced off yards made it difficult to pursue prey. The solution was jumping, which became a sport in England in the early nineteen hundreds.
Although the general idea of the sport hasn’t changed in centuries, the equipment has been improved for the safety and comfort of both the horses and riders. Saddles have become lighter, with shorter straps and a better center of gravity for the horse. The best horse jump cups now come without pins and are incredibly long-lasting.
Equestrian events have long been a part of the summer Olympic games. Equestrian jumping was introduced to the games in the early nineteen hundreds, but the most competent jumpers were usually military members. Towards the second half of the twentieth century, with the declining use of horses in the military, more civilians dominated the sport.
Equestrian jumping is as fun to watch now as it was centuries ago. Although it had largely functional roots in Europe, people learned that it could be an entertaining spectator sport. Modern day participants can enter any number of competitions, and even hope for a gold medal on the Olympic stage.