When fox hunting became a more fashionable sport in the 18th century, competitive horse jumping first started to develop. Due to fences around enclosed properties, horses and their riders required training so they were able to clear the fences and get to the foxes.
Today, the objective of jumping is to complete a course with no mistakes. Each course tests skill, precision, and training. This winner of a competition is the horse and rider who clear the course fastest with the least amount of penalties. Penalties are given when any part of an obstacle is knocked down or when a horse refuses to make a jump.
Ali Levy, a sophomore at the University of Oregon, has been riding horses since she was 8 years old. While competing at a horse show, she takes at least three classes a day, in which she must memorize a ten-jump course and is expected to execute it perfectly.
“Long story short, I have to do it flawlessly and still look good,” Levy says.
While she attends school during her off-season, Levy rides at least once a week. When it becomes closer to a show, she trains for five hours a day, six days a week.
“I love this sport because it takes me away from my busy life for a few hours. It is nice to leave campus for a while to spend some time relaxing,” says Levy.
Levy intends to join the club team at University of Oregon in the future and is excited to compete on the team because of the many horses she will have the opportunity to ride.
“I really enjoy riding different horses because it makes me better,” she says.