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Horse Events Offer Something to Jump About

September 30, 1993|ANNE LOUISE BANNON

For something that has such a hoity-toity reputation, the sport of stadium horse jumping is actually pretty easy to understand.

And what a coincidence that this should come to mind, because the $40,000 Samsung Grand Prix of Flintridge horse-jumping event at the Flintridge Riding Club just happens to be Sunday.

"The most wonderful thing about it, anyone can follow along," said rider and trainer Susan H. Hutchison.

After all, as she explained, there are only about four things that can happen. The horse either takes the jump, or refuses, and then it clears the obstacle without knocking anything over, or it doesn't.

At the end, all the entries who get a clear round (a round of between 14 to 17 jumps without knocking anything down or refusals) participate in a jump-off. The rider who gets the fewest faults (things knocked over) with the fastest time wins. That's it.

At her last show, she took fourth place because, "I was two seconds faster (than the winning horses), but I had four faults."

There are only two kinds of jumps, vertical ones, which range between 4 feet, 6 inches and 5 feet, 3 inches, and spread jumps, which are about six feet wide.

Of course, that royal reputation may have something to do with the money involved in jumping. Hutchison, who rides other peoples' horses in competition, said a good jumping horse can cost as much as $1 million.

"The prize money goes to the owners of the horse that I show," she said.

The horse jumping will follow four days of other horse show events at the club, which start today.

The horse jumping starts at 2 p.m. at the club, 4625 Oak Grove Ave., La Canada Flintridge. Admission is free. Information: (818) 952-1233.

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