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Part of a series of emails to our exhibitors in an effort to provide helpful information about their interaction with the show office and other staff at the show.  If you have a particular question you would like addressed, please feel free to make a suggestion.   Please note that every effort is made to ensure that all rule citations are current and correct as of the publishing date, however, USEF and other organizations continuously make rule changes throughout the year and with each new year. 

June 2010 Newsletter
Higher Learning - Schooling for Jumpers

The Jumper discipline for several years has adopted formal schooling guidelines. Because "clean" was the goal rather than style, horses were subjected to a wide variety of training techniques before entering the competition ring. As courses evolved from primarily touch classes to technical efforts, and as emphasis on horse safety and welfare increased, concern for appropriate methods of schooling evolved. Thirty years ago virtually every trainer at the show would carry a personal bamboo stick to the schooling area to use on their jumpers and hunters alike. Now, manual poling is forbidden for all horses at a hunter/jumper competition. JP103.1, HU Appendix A.1. At management's discretion, bamboo offsets may be permitted. Appendix A.20.
Management is to designate individuals to supervise schooling for each jumper area. JP103.2 The Senior Steward is responsible to ensure that all necessary equipment is available in the schooling area, including that standards are properly marked so that exhibitors can readily determine when a second rail is needed and/or the maximum height that can be jumped. JP103.3.
"Schooling over obstacles in any competition area is permitted only at the time designated by the Show Committee. All other schooling over obstacles is permitted only within clearly identified areas and only at times designated by the Show Committee. Schooling over obstacles in any other area of the competition ground or at any other time is prohibited." JP 103.4
Only one whip may be carried at any time; if jumping, the whip may not exceed 30". Whips that are weighted at the end are prohibited. JP 1112

Schooling areas for jumpers must contain a trotting fence, at least one vertical and one spread fence. JP 103.5. Equipment must include standards with safety cups or breakable jump cup pins. JP 103.5 Safety cups/breakable pins, should be used on the back rail of an oxer*, traditional cups may be available in the schooling area and may be used to hold lower rails. *Note: often an oxer is jumped in both directions, in that event, breakaways should be used on both top rails of the oxer.

Many of the standards for jumper schooling were adopted from FEI rules. There have been variations and over time the schooling rules have become more formalized. The official competition steward's decision OR the schooling supervisor's decision, after consultation with the Senior Steward , is final in matters regarding schooling fences, tack or equipment in the schooling area. JP 103.5

The basics:

Obstacles may be flagged; if flagged, they must be jumped in the correct direction. Steward and/or Schooling Supervisor shall decide if flags may be interchanged. Appendix A.3 As in the show ring, red flag is on the right, white is on the left when approaching the obstacle.

No one may hold a rail or touch a standard while it is being jumped. A.4

All rails must be either in a cup or both ends on the ground, except one end of a cross rail may rest on the ground. Rails must be able to fall easily (i.e. not jammed in). A.5

Rails placed on the edge of the cup (rather than in the cup), must be placed on the far side so it will easily fall. At an oxer, the back rail must be higher, even when the front rail is placed on the edge. A.6

Walk rails - may not be a cross rail, may not be a slant rail with both sides in cups, may not exceed 12", may not have a ground line, must be approached and departed in a direct line. A.7

No jump in the schooling area may be set above 1.6m in height or 1.8m in width. A. 8

Any jump 1.30m or higher must have two front rails in cups; the lower rail must be below 1.30m. A.9

An oxer may never have more than two rails on the back side. If an oxer is flagged to jump in one direction, then only one rail may be on the back side. If using two rails on the back of an oxer, the lowest rail must be the same height as the lowest rail on the front. A. 10

If using a ground rail, it must be placed directly below the front of the jump or no more than 1m in front of the jump. If there is a ground rail on the landing side, then there must be a ground rail on the take-off side and the back rail must be no further out than the front rail. If an oxer is flagged to jump in one direction, then only a front ground rail is permitted. A. 11

Placement rails: jump may not exceed 1.30m by 1.30m. Take off rail may be no closer than 2.50m, landing rail may be used only at a vertical and no closer than 3m. A. 12
(Placement rails are parallel to the obstacle and on the ground.)

Guide rails; may be used on the take-off side with end of rail adjacent to obstacle. If used on landing side, may be no closer than 3m. A. 13

Cross rail jump may not exceed 1.30m (measured at cup placement) unless it is below a vertical or is the front of an oxer. A.14

No Swedish oxers. A.15 - This obstacle is legal in the show ring as a competitor would be trying to avoid knocking it down; it is considered unsafe in the schooling area as it can be used as an offset and rails are easily tangled.

If using a liverpool in the schooling area, the front of the liverpool may not be behind the plane of the jump. The back of the liverpool may not be in front of the plane of the jump. If used at an oxer, the front of the liverpool may not be more than 1m in front of the place of the jump. An exhibitor may bring their own liverpool for schooling purposes and/or management may supply a liverpool in the schooling area. A.16

If an item (towel, blanket, etc.) is laid over the rail of an oxer, it must be on any front rail. If an item is laid over a rail at a vertical, it may be on any rail. A 17.

If the area permits, combinations may be built with "correct" distances. Bounce jumps may be built using only verticals and may not exceed 1.15m. A19

The overriding concern in the schooling area is for the safety of each exhibitor and the welfare of every horse. The decision to disallow an element or practice in the schooling area rests with the Schooling Supervisor, the Show Steward and Show Management. Just because something was allowed in one schooling area, does not make it OK in every schooling area. Using common sense and good sportsmanship should ensure that you are never called out in the schooling area. Who wants to go to the principal's office to be schooled?