Jumping and the Grassroots

The grassroots of the sport can help restore community involvement and maintain sustainable social support. Show jumping is especially suited to grassroots enterprise, because it has several unique qualities to help grow and serve public interest and participation.

 

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Here are key strengths of show jumping as a grassroots sport:

 

1) Horses are well-adapted to human civilization, and have proven to thrive in a modern, mechanized, technological society. It is possible to preserve horsemanship in the modern age and in our future.

2) Though still a young sport (younger than baseball, football or basketball) show jumping already has a solid record of attracting both participants and the public. The potential has already been proven.

3) Upholding the horse’s welfare and safety is the central tenant of good horsemanship. As the treatment of animals becomes an increasingly important social issue, equestrian activities can play an authentic role in growing awareness of humane treatment and care.

4) The nature of jumping encourages education and effort to provide the best possible horse care, training and riding. In fact, the basic trust-based challenge of show jumping elevates quality horse care to a necessity in order to participate.

5) Leadership and character development have been the hallmark of equestrian excellence throughout civilization. The ancient practice birthed positive moral codes of both sportsmanship and chivalry, and molded our social traditions of honor, fairness and respect. These fundamental ethical standards are upheld by the horse’s nature—they are not incidental, malleable, or transitory.

6) Sequential instruction and testing is a fundamental part of horsemanship. As the language of the sport attests (riding schools have instructors, competition is held in classes, etc.), equestrian sport is part of a larger educational picture. A horse and rider’s skill level can be reliably measured and tested, making it possible to enjoy a meaningful and universal educational experience.

7) Jumping (and horsemanship generally) is one of the most universal of activities, available to men and women of all ages, backgrounds and skill levels.

8 Jumping skill can be measured through fence height and other objective testing elements, making it possible to conduct impartially-scored competitive events. (A jump’s height is the same anywhere). A simple score-keeping system can allow the grassroots’ vital independence and individuality to thrive within a fair and logical framework.

9) Jumping and other arena activities have modest space requirements that can accommodate the restricted dimensions of a modern urban environment.

10) The challenge of show jumping is modular, as each participant competes in a self-contained round. Individual classes can be of any size, and scheduling can be adapted as needed. Such flexibility is allows for adaptation to the modern time constraints of today’s grassroots participants and supporters.

11) Because class conditions are shared by all entrants, competitive spaces do not have to be restrictively standardized … safety and suitability are the only absolute demands. Since a wide variety of environments and terrain is one of the basic challenges of show jumping, the requirements for suitable grassroots facilities can be reasonable and accommodating.