What You Need to Know to Master the Spruce Meadows Masters
Not sure how show jumping works, what it costs or what to wear? We’ve got you covered
Eric Lamaze and Powerplay jumping in the 2013 “Masters” tournament
Photograph courtesy Spruce Meadows Media Services
Show jumping is one of those sports that can seem intimidating if you’ve never been before, so here are some pointers to get you prepared for Spruce Meadows’ Masters competition taking place from September 10 to 14.
What is show jumping?
In show jumping, horses and their riders must jump over obstacles on a course in a set order within a given amount of time. Horses that fail to clear jumps or exceed the time limit receive “faults.” Total faults, in combination with time taken to complete the course, determine the winner in most competitions. The exception is speed competitions, where faults are converted into additional time, making it the only consideration.
The must-know lingo
Penalties consist of two main categories:
Time penalties occur when a rider exceeds the time limit.
Jumping penalties occur when a rider knocks a rail down or a horse refuses to jump.
A jumping penalty results in four faults, and time penalties result in one fault per second over the course time.
A clear (or clean) round is when a horse completes a course on time and without faults.
When two or more horses have the same number of faults after the first round and compete in a tiebreaker, that’s called a jump-off.
The history of show jumping
Spruce Meadows first opened in 1975. The Masters was one of two inaugural tournaments held the following year. It was also one of 100 officially sanctioned Fdration Equestre Internationale tournaments at the time.
What to wear
While there’s no official dress code for attending the Masters, appropriate weather wear and comfortable shoes come highly recommended, as much of the facility is outdoors and there’s plenty of ground to cover on foot. Nothing puts a damper on enjoying a show like watching it soaked by rain.
Seating at Spruce Meadows
In keeping with Spruce Meadows’ tradition of affordable admittance, $5 rush seating includes admission and access to first-come, first-served general seating in the international ring. Reserved seating, which ranges from $30 to $450, gets you a guaranteed spot in a specific location at the ring for the day.
The coveted prizes
The Masters features 19 show jumping events with a total of $2,747,800 in prize money, not including the Telus Battle of the Breeds. This includes the world-famous CP International Grand Prix’s $1.5 million in prizes, the richest Grand Prix in the world.
(18011 Spruce Meadows Way S.W., 403-974-4200, sprucemeadows.com)