It’s run just like a regular horse jumping show, only in horseless horse jumping it’s the humans who have to make it through the obstacle course without knocking down too many hurdles.
If you’ve always dreamed of imitating a 1,000-pound horse in front of a live audience, there’s no better way to do it than signing up for a horseless horse jumping event. As wacky as it sounds, this kind of show is becoming increasingly popular, with numerous equestrian contests featuring the event on their schedule. Around 20 horseless shows are organized every year in Europe, Central America, USA and Canada, with the number of contestants ranging from 40 to 130. Some of the participants have been training for this kind of contests since early childhood, using a broom as a horse and jumping over sticks in an improvised course, and I guess they never got over it. Others are just looking to have some fun, and everyone of them agrees it’s a very pleasant activity to take part in. Impersonating a show jumping course is for a good cause, as JustWorld International, the nonprofit organization who stages these events, donates all the proceeds to fund projects for poor children around the world.
Phil Rozon, a Canadian jumper judge, who also officiates at horseless jumping events says contestants are judged just like horses. The fastest time around the obstacle course wins, but penalties are incurred for each knocked-down hurdle, and factors like placing according to speed are also taken into consideration. Just like in real horse jumping contests ribbons are awarded through at least sixth place. Participants range from as young as 3-year-old to grownups, but the most competitive jumpers are aged 9 and 15. Some of them actually train for the event, and to have more chances of winning and add a touch of authenticity to the spectacle they even wear horse boots.
Photo: Starting Gate
Asked why she thinks so many people take part in horseless horse jumping events every time they’re organized, JustWorld International founder, former elite show jumper Jessica Newman, said “It’s just fun to be a horse”.
Photo: Linn Turecamo