Amateur-Owner jumper riders can breathe a sigh of relief. Thanks to the Amateur Rider Association of America (AARA), U.S. Equestrian is mandating that fence heights are standard for the Amateur-Owner jumper divisions across all A-rated American competitions.
Ariane Stiegler, the founder of the AARA, felt that fence heights were varying too much in the Amateur-Owner jumper divisions. For example, a jump in the Medium Amateur-Owners is supposed to be set at 1.30m, yet some days the jumps would be set too small or a touch too big.
This inconsistency in height matters. It left riders frustrated, unsure of how to properly prepare for their division with no clear expectations. The Association set out to standardize division heights to guarantee a fair playing field, reduce the risk of injury, and minimize division scratches due to inconsistencies.
The new US Equestrian rule states that the Low Amateur-Owners are to be set at 1.20m with classics at 1.25m, the Medium Amateur-Owners at 1.30m with classics at 1.35m, and the High Amateur-Owners at 1.40m with classics at 1.45m. These heights will now be set consistently at every A rated show across the United States with no exceptions.
On March 1, 2017, the ARAA held a panel consisting of Ariane Stiegler, Michael Stone, Anne Kursinski, Kevin Babington, Peter Leone, David Distler and Anthony D’Ambrosio gathered to discuss the variability in course height and the rule change. The enforcement of this rule ensures that the expectations for horse and rider are clear and universal, allowing for better preparation.
For more information on the AARA, visit http://www.amateur-rider-association-of-america.org/