Junior jumping in the olden days

Gamebird

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I'm re-reading some of my old pony books (have no internet other than phone atm and am at a bit of a loose end ;) ) and am curious about the heights of the jumping classes. In most of them the novice class is over 3ft and the open is 3'9. Jump-offs weren't against the clock but all about clears so there may have been 3 or 4 JOs to find a winner with the fences reaching 4'6 or so in the last round.

We'd find this enormous nowadays. Imagine kids taking their novice pony to a show and having to start at 1m. And the next class up being around 1.20. I appreciate that there were only 7 or 8 fences to jump and there was no technicality to the courses at all but did ordinary ponies really jump those heights in the 50s/60s?
 

frazzled

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Also in the Jill books she takes her ponies into the ring and shows them the jumps instead of a course walk. Can you imagine the chaos, health and safety would have kittens!!!!!
 

humblepie

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I won the open jumping at our local show, aged 10 on my 13.2 pony over a 4' track. Had I think won the 13.2, been second in the 14.2, then won the open with the only clear. Got a big write up in the local paper as the trophy was presented by Sir Gordon Richards (as in very famous jockey). That was 1971. Not technology minded or would post a photo!

From memory then (so not 50s or 60s but possibly late 60s early 70s most of the classes did go to jump off against the clock straight away but there would be a few with one jump off not against then clock then against the clock.

No timing equipment, just the stop watch. Father always used to have his own stop watch just to check. You knew when it was close as there would be a delay in annoucing the time as the judge decided whether to go for an equal time or put that person first or second!
 
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Baggybreeches

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My mum and uncle are adamant that the classes they jumped in were 3ft6 to 4ft6 at the local shows. But I suppose it boils down to the old 'watering down of standards' argument. Will try to dig out some old pictures of my mum and Uncle Allan (who is about 10 years younger than Mum) jumping on ponies.
 

measles

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When I first jumped BS as a child ponies went straight in at Newcomers which was 1m and no one thought anything of it. I jumped that and the JC (and went DC for 4th :D) at my first ever affiliated show and the JC was 1.15 in the first round and 1.25 in the second. I distinctly remember those few seconds airborne in the jump off thinking how odd it was to have time to think rationally while off the ground!
 

Jesstickle

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My Mother tells me that when she jumped JC in her yoof she regularly jumped 1.20 on her 13.3 pony. I've always thought she was exaggerating but perhaps not :eek:

That would have been late 60s early 70s sort of time too :)
 

TarrSteps

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I can't say for the UK (other than Pony Books!) but a generation or two before me, Working Hunters started with First Year Green at 3'6". By the time I was competing there were Pre Greens at 3', now there are at least two classes before that.

The only catch is that a lot of the people who started when the initial classes were bigger were still actively riding in my memory. . .why weren't they better?!?!? ;)

In all seriousness though, I'm not sure everyone was so much more wonderful, there were just fewer people doing it.
 
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In the 70's I had a 12.2 - I was a small teenager & the 'under 14.2 class for riders 16 yrs & under' was a bit too much for us as started at 2ft 9 to 3ft.
We did have a crack but the spreads/distances were a bit much for him :( Was easier when I borrowed a friends 14hh pony & we managed to scrape a few ribbons :)

Novice was around 3ft.
Local jumping always started at about 3ft 3 to 3ft 6.
Jump-offs were always against the stop-watch & the jumps were up at least a hole (3 inches) or 2 holes (6 inches).
Hence the local jumping went up to around 3ft 9 to 4ft for jump-off

The open jumping was always nailbiting - starting at 3ft 9 & ending up well over 4 ft to 4ft 6 in jump off.
 

Jesstickle

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I should add that my mother does NOT use the terminology 1.20 of course. She always seems very disappointed when I say I'm jumping 1.05 and then I tell her how big that is in feet. I clearly am not as brave as her ;)
 

Orangehorse

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I have got a picture of jumping a JC round and the fence looks pretty big to me, although I can't remember the height.

In the national show jumping competitions the 14.2 jumping could get really high, presumably there wasn't a timed jump-off.
 

Ditchjumper2

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When I was a kid jumping there was no 2'3" we started at 2'9" and I can remember having 2 jump offs as it was not timed. Open classes were 3'9" and this was unaffiliated. However, then there was no British Novice etc.
 

Wheels

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Also in the Jill books she takes her ponies into the ring and shows them the jumps instead of a course walk. Can you imagine the chaos, health and safety would have kittens!!!!!
That's how it is still done in the novice classes in NI.

I am from England originally and used to jump BSJA many moons ago, when I moved to Northern Ireland and went to my first few shows I got a bit of a shock when I was walking the course on foot while the majority of other competitors were walking it on horseback.

I have been here many years but still walk the course on my own two feet!
 

HeresHoping

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Back in the day...when I was oh, so much younger and so much braver.

Restricted Division 1 - 2'6" first round, 2'9" second round, third round 3'.
Restricted Division 2 - 2'9" first round, followed by 3' and 3'3"

Restricted to those ponies who had never been placed in top 3 in a JC competition. Win 3 Restricteds and you were no longer eligible.

JC - three round competition, with 3rd round a jump off against the clock. First round, 3'3", second round, 3'6", third round, 3'9".

JA - (moved to when won 3 JCs), first round, 3'6", second round, 3'9", third round, 4' (1.20).

Championships - eligible to both JC and JA ponies - first round, 3'9", occasionally 4'. So last jump off against the clock was either 4'3" or 4'6". There's a picture of me on my albums having won a junior championship - if you look at the course builders in the distance, the jumps are up to their chests. Solid wooden poles, too. Last round, 4'6". She was a 14.2hh pony, though.

And yup, it wasn't uncommon for a 12.3 hh pony to be jumping JA. Nippy little ******s, they did far better turns than some of the bigger ponies.
 

ester

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was there less affiliated on at the time? less transport therefore those locally who these days would only do BS would have been doing the local shows (+actually some prize money maybe?)

Having seen the 14.2 grand prixers at a pony premier jumping off over 1.50 I'm not sure why anyone would want a horse :p
 

Rowreach

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Also in the Jill books she takes her ponies into the ring and shows them the jumps instead of a course walk. Can you imagine the chaos, health and safety would have kittens!!!!!
lol that's very common over here :eek:

Yes courses were much bigger in the olden days, and JOs went on and on and on ... is anyone old enough to remember the lathes (small thin strips of wood) which were put on top of the poles (you got faults for knocking lathes even if the pole stayed up)?
 

Mickeymoo

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We jumped 4ft in unaff what they called intermediate and class on a 14.2. We always complained as they put the jumps down for horses as they weren't at the standard the 14.2's were.

I also jumped 5ft in a higher and higher and retired at that as the ground was hard. Wouldn't do that now on my 16h. :eek:
 

TarrSteps

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Again, I don't know what it was like here but in my dim and distant youth in Canada we had far fewer opportunities to show "Recongised" (the equivalent of Affiliated) so unrecognised/schooling shows tended to draw a bigger, more serious crowd. Our local schooling show was populated by eventers practicing their show jumping so it was not unusual for classes to get into the 4' range. Now there are more events (so people do less other shows), more combined shows specifically for eventers, and more classes available at Recognised shows so eventers don't go to those shows now. Ditto, sjers, who used to take their young horses to shows like that but now take them to lower classes offered at larger shows because they are going there anyway.

When is was a kid in B.C - you don't know from off the beaten path - everyone went to everything because there were so few opportunities! It was not unusual to see a horse do the Open jumpers and then finish off the day in the tent pegging!
 

LizzieJ

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I found an old schedule the other day for our hunt show in 1989. 12.2 jumping 2'9-3', 13.2 3'-3'3, 14.2 3'3-3'6, novice (not to have won £25) 3'3, open has no height stated but it used to start at around 3'6-3'9. There was a clear round ring that also had a couple of lead rein classes to 2'3. I used to be able to hack to a local show at least once a week from May - September and several hunter trials were also in hacking distance, the smallest class was 2'9 for them. Affiliated mainly started at NC, british novice didn't require affiliation until regional rounds - lots of our local shows had qualifiers (ponies). Pony Club also didn't have this nov/int/open - it was done on ages so once you reached seniors you had to jump 3'6 eventing and bigger SJ if you got past the first rounds, lots of us still had 13.2s at open and they all coped fine!

These days I can barely find an unaff show running anything over 3' :(
 

dieseldog

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There were just so many local shows, like LizzieJ said, you could hack to one nearly every weekend. I was talking about this to Siennamum the other day and we used to happily jump 3'9 opens on 14h ponies. There was no need to go BSJA as the local scene was so good. It was busy, competitive and with decent classes - you didn't outgrow unaffiliated so much as you do now.

Now however I am a wimp! I blame owning a horse and not a pony anymore :rolleyes:
 

ArcticFox

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I always thought they were bigger when I was on ponies. I have a photo somewhere winning my first SJ competition on a 12.2 pony (aged 6) and the fences look pretty big to me!

will try and dig it out.
 

tinap

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My friends mother (in her 70's) was telling us that you used to take your horse into the ring to walk the course. She is slightly batty so we always thought she was imagining it- seems we may have been wrong!!
 

humblepie

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We did mainly unaffiliated and as others have said there were lots of good unaffilated village shows. Very little by way of fillers, square poles quite common. We did venture occasionally into affiliated but there weren't any small pony classes so the 13.2 would have to jump JC or JA Opens.
 

Lanky Loll

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I used to jump the pony open on my little 11.3 :eek: the smallest they used to start was 3'6" some were over 4". BUT he did hold the pony high jump record with a former jockey - some brave soul apparently cleared 5"2 on him :eek::eek:, he was a living legend :D and when I did eventually venture to an affiliated show (W&W) we got accosted by lots of seniors that I worshipped as a child asking if it was really him :D
Now... I'm trying to pluck up the courage to do a 90cm class on my 17hh TB... how times change :eek:
Local jumping definitely used to be bigger and a better standard even in the 80's early 90's than it is today :( Did some course building a couple of years ago built the pony open at about 2'9" and had people complaining and trying to take the juimps down when they walked the course :rolleyes:
 

claracanter

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Yes, and don't forget back in those days everything was made of wood and very heavy and the cups were metal, no plastic lightweight health and safety if you came a cropper!
 

humblepie

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And no crash hats just an old velvet hat with a piece of elastic under the string. I can remember my hat was a bit big so was padded out with material under the lining so it didn't slip.


LL - good to catch up the other night. 90 cms - I can't even do a cross pole!
 

Lanky Loll

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And no crash hats just an old velvet hat with a piece of elastic under the string. I can remember my hat was a bit big so was padded out with material under the lining so it didn't slip.


LL - good to catch up the other night. 90 cms - I can't even do a cross pole!
Lovely to see you too :) I have a huge yellow streak these days not helped by now being pregnant so jumping's rather on hold for the mo until after August!
 

siennamum

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I have a few brilliant pictures, which I can't upload because they are proofs, but one I can show, is me aged approx 8 or 9, on a 4 year old who was doing one of her 1st SJ rounds, and jumping about 2ft 9, which even then I would have thought was pretty insignificant, and yet now I feel is quite big enough thank you!
I think this was Brixworth show, c 1970/71, note the hat held on with elastic, probs 2nd hand, saddle doesn't begin to fit, and bit which is hanging out the side of ponies mouth.
 
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