Jumping, Leaping Horses!

Horses seem built for jumping with their long, lean legs and powerful bodies. The sight of a horse jumping over an obstacle with mane flying and muscles rippling makes the mythical Pegasus seem almost real! Jumping horses look natural; however, competitive jumping is a fairly recent addition to equestrian sports.

It all began in England in the 18th century. Landowners began to put up fences on their property because of a law called the Enclosures Act. Gentlemen who had always enjoyed hunting realized that they had even more fun when they had to jump these new obstacles in order to follow those clever red foxes. Sometimes the fences were over five feet tall!

Horses seemed to love this new part of their cross-country adventures. They leapt with pricked ears forward and tails streaming briskly in the wind. Spectators loved this new sport almost as much as the hunters and the horses. Word spread fast: jumping is a fantastic sport! Soon horse-lovers in other countries began to train their horses to jump. By the beginning of the twentieth century, jumping had become a popular sport.

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