How to win a jump-off: 6 tips from the top

It can often mean make or break in a showjumping class, but the question is: how do you win a jump-off?

Here’s some helpful pointers from Irish international showjumper, David Simpson, who trained and produced young horses for Shane Breen for seven years, won the Queen’s Cup at Hickstead in 2016 and the Olympia Puissance in 2014.

1. On average a horse’s stride takes half a second, so always make a plan that takes the shortest route. This may sound obvious but sometimes it looks faster to gallop a longer distance, but if this means going two strides wider on the next line, you will be adding a second onto your time.

2. Keep it smooth — smooth is always faster.

3. Know your horse’s weaknesses and strengths, this will help you figure out which part of the course will be better suited for you to go faster.

4. Always start in a good rhythm — there is always half a second to be saved between going through the start and taking off for the first fence.

5. Know your competition. People can surprise you, but if you judge how your competitors normally go in a jump off, it can save you from taking unnecessary risks.

6. Finally, and in my opinion key for your horse and ensuring consistent results, make a plan for the best round your horse can do and execute it. You might not win every time, but it will mean your horse will still be on top form the next day. It is much better to be consistently in the top placings than to ride frantically for the win and spend the next five rounds bringing your horse back jumping nicely.

Now you’ve got that advice in mind, take a look at these showjumping competitions available to enter where you can go for that winning jump-off round…

Unaffiliated showjumping

Date: 6 April
Venue: Underwood Events, Hull
Details: “This event features a range of classes from 65-105cm. These are also Trailblazers qualifiers.”

Enter now

Open showjumping show

Date: 6 April
Venue: Inchcoonans Competition & Livery Yard, Errol
Details: “This competition has classes from a 45cm clear round up to 1.10m, plus some Trailblazers qualifiers.”
Enter now

Junior British Showjumping

Date: 7 April
Venue: Badgworth Arena Equestrian Centre, Axbridge
Details: “This affiliated event features a range of classes from 11-and-under, up to 1.15m.”
Enter now

Unaffiliated showjumping

Date: 7 April
Venue: Rectory Farm Arena, Cirencester
Details: “This event offers classes ranging from 55cm to 1.10m.”
Enter now

Evening showjumping

Date: 11 April
Venue: Leamside Equestrian, Houghton Le Spring
Details: “This show features a clear round plus classes ranging between 40cm and 1m with a range of qualifiers and rosettes for all competitors.”
Enter now

Unaffiliated showjumping

Date: 14 April
Venue: Cholderton Equestrian Centre, Salisbury
Details: “This competition has classes from 70-100cm and even has Retraining of Racehorses qualifiers.”
Enter now

Visit equo.co.uk for full competition and training listings