09 Dec. 2021

Education and safety are essential in course design: Show jumping seminar with Chris Barnard Recap

Photo USEA / Nancy Knight.

As a precursor to the 2021 USEA annual meeting and convention, esteemed course designer Chris Barnard gave 25 attendees an in-depth dive into show jumping course design at the jumping seminar. obstacles on Wednesday 8 December. The seminar began in the classroom at the Hyatt Regency Albuquerque in Albuquerque, New Mexico, before gaining hands-on experience at Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Posse with assistance from the Watermelon Mountain Pony Club. Everyone was invited to attend, from course designers and licensed officials to competitors looking to get a glimpse of the impact of design on their course.

“I want to pass on the knowledge that I have acquired to people,” Barnard said at the start of the clinic. “With horses, it’s so educational. You can watch and learn with any part of the sport. The more you watch, the more you get. I want to cover all the basics of what course designers do, what my job entails, and provide the information that I have learned from doing this for 20 years and giving it to you.

To kick off the day’s educational seminar, Barnard and participants began by reviewing the applicable rules of the USEF Rules for the Eventing and deepening their impact on the decisions he makes with each course he creates. Together, they described arena requirements, course specifications and measurements, permitted obstacles, combination regulations, time allowed designations, and more. After combing through the rules set for a proper design of a show jumping course, he explained in detail how he takes the requirements of each level into account in his design.

“Why do the questions I ask in a lesson?” Barnard asked the group the question. “This is why we are here, to learn how I organize things for the horse and the rider and to decipher what each question is so that the officials understand what I am asking and the riders understand what is going on in my brain.”

Did you know that each level has different regulations for maximum course length, speed, effort, height and spread for oxers and triple bars?

For example, at the Advanced level, as defined by the USEF Rules for the Eventing, the course must include either a double or triple combination OR three doubles with a maximum height set at 1.25 m. In comparison, a Beginner Novice test should be inviting and simple, can only include a double combination consisting of a single oxer, the maximum height being set at 0.80m.

Barnard then discussed the distances and factors that require shorter distances versus longer distances and the science behind a horse’s jumping arc on verticals, oxers and triple bars. After going through their course design checklist, it was time to put their new or improved knowledge to the test.

For the second part of the course, participants took to the outdoors to create a hands-on class with Chris Barnard. Photo USEA / Nancy Knight.

Thanks to the Watermelon Mountain Pony Club, the jump and demonstration riders were on site and ready for action at Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Posse. As Barnard walked into the clinic with lessons prepared, he was happy his participants were excited to build a team track from scratch.

“We went over there and traced a few jumps from the start like I was doing this on a piece of paper, that’s what I would have done,” Barnard said after the seminar. “We had six or seven jumps which was perfectly adequate and we got to watch how he was moving at two different heights so you could see the difference on the same course at a different height. “

Participants had the opportunity to help build the course for a 1.0m and 1.20m course, as well as watch the runners run their track as Barnard explained in more detail how the course was designed. that they had created would have an impact on the runners’ plan. .

“We built a very simple course with a few associated distances and we got to watch them go by,” said Barnard. “The course was very straightforward, but we could see if it was that way. One might wonder if the distances or the course itself were straightforward?

Barnard shared his two main takeaways that he hoped his attendees absorbed:

“First of all, everything I build is educational, even in a living room. I hope when the riders do the jumps or the coaches go around the course they learn something from this class. Barnard’s goal was for seminar attendees to come away with the knowledge they needed to put together an educational and appropriate course design for the shows they are designing for, their students, or themselves. Materials such as The Basics of Show Jumping Course Design for Eventing and other resources are available on the USEA website to prepare you for success in creating a show jumping course. ‘educational obstacles.

Barnard felt that his first point was directly related to his second. “The security aspect is huge,” he shared. “We talked about safety cups and appropriate course levels and helping trainers understand what is going to be in a lower or higher level course. If runners have more knowledge of what is going to be on a course, they can be prepared for that level, especially as they progress. the USEF Rules for the Eventing are a great starting point for learning what is allowed and what is not allowed in various courses across the levels. Put Barnard’s suggestion to the test by preparing for what you’ll see at the home salon during your workouts.

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About the USEA Annual Meeting and Convention

The USEA Annual Meeting and Convention takes place every December and brings together a large group of dedicated USEA members and supporters to discuss, learn, and enjoy being surrounded by other event enthusiasts. The USEA hosts several seminars in addition to committee meetings, open forums and tons of fun! The 2021 USEA Annual Meeting and Convention will be held at the Hyatt Regency Albuquerque in Albuquerque, New Mexico, December 9-12, 2021. Click here for more information on the USEA’s Annual Meeting and Convention USEA.

The USEA would like to thank the sponsors of the USEA Annual Meeting and Convention: Adequan, Bates Saddles, Gallops Saddlery, Mountain Horse USA, Nunn Finer, Nutrena, Parker Equine Insurance, RevitaVet, Rebecca Farm, SmartPak Equine, Standlee Premium Western Forage, DG Stackhouse & Ellis Saddles, Sunsprite Warmbloods, World Equestrian Brands, Area X and Saratoga Horseworks.