Conformation – The correctness of a horse’s bone structure, musculature, and its body proportions in relation to each other.
Division – A group of rules pertaining to a specific breed or discipline (i.e., Jumper, Saddlebred)
Dixon Oval – The main ring at Devon, named after F. Eugene “Fitz” Dixon.
Gambler’s Choice – A jumping event in which exhibitors choose their own course, with each fence cleared worth a given amount of points based on difficulty. The entry who accumulates the most points within a set time limit on course is the winner.
Grand Prix – The highest level of show jumping, the horse jumps a course of 10 to 16 obstacles, with heights up to 5 feet 3 inches and spreads of up to 6.5 feet.
Eventing – One of the three Olympic equestrian disciplines, is a formidable combination of Dressage, cross country and jumping done over a 3 day period with the same horse for each phase of competition. It is a true test of both horse and rider in all aspects of horsemanship and athleticism. Devon hosts a hybrid of the 3 day format, all in one night.
Exhibition – A recognized but unrated class or a demonstration.
Exhibitor – The owner or lessee of a horse entered in a class. In equitation classes, the exhibitor is the rider.
Faults – Grand Prix jumping is scored by faults, or penalties, accrued by horse and rider while they negotiate the course. Faults are assessed as follows:
- Knockdown: An obstacle is considered knocked down when a horse or rider, by contact, lowers any element that establishes the height of an obstacle. Each knockdown results in four faults.
- Refusal: When a horse stops before the fence or runs out to the side of the fence to avoid negotiating the obstacle it is called a refusal. The first refusal results in four faults, the second in elimination.
- Time Fault: Each second, or fraction thereof, over the time allowed results in one fault.
Fence – Another name for a jump, types of jumps commonly used at Devon include:
- Combination: Two or three jumps in a row, with no more than two strides between each.
- Oxer: Also known as a spread fence, consists of more than one vertical element taken as one jump.
- Vertical: A fence consisting of a single vertical element with no spread.
Groom – In coaching, a liveried attendant to assist with the horses. Variant: one responsible for the everyday care of a horse or responsible for the animal’s preparation for showing.
Hand – A hand is the unit used to measure horses. One hand is 4″. Horses are measured from the ground to the top of the withers.
Jump-Off – Generally horses that are tied for other than first place will remain tied and the prize money divided equally. Horses tied for first place after the first round must jump-off in a timed jump-off round. The winner of the class is the horse with the fewest faults and the fastest time.
Junior – A rider who has not reached his or her 18th birthday by December 1 of the competition year.
Local Classes – Classes with entry restricted to a territory local to the event as described in the prize list.
Off Course – A horse is considered off course if it deviates from the course as outlined on the posted diagram.
Open Classes – Are open to all competitors regardless of previous awards or points received in accordance with division rules.
Pair – Two horses or ponies driven side by side.
Pony – A pony is a horse that measures less than 14.2 hands. Show ponies fall into one of three size categories for competition: small – less than 12.2 hands, medium – over 12.2 but less than 13.2 hands, large -over 13.3 but less than 14.2 hands.
Qualifying – Devon is one of four “qualifying” shows in the United States, meaning that for most Hunter and Jumper classes a competitor must have accumulated enough points at recognized competitions, as determined by the USEF, to enter. The other three shows are the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, the Washington International Horse Show and the Alltech National Horse Show.
Reserve Champion – The first runner up in a collection of related classes.
Schooling – Practicing or training before the competition.
Section – A group of rules within a specific breed or discipline section that pertains to a type of class (i.e. Pony Jumper, Five Gaited Saddlebred.)
Stride – The amount of ground the horse covers in one “step” is called the horse’s stride. At the canter, the average single stride of a horse is 12 feet. The distances of the Grand Prix courses are set accordingly.
Tandem – Two horses or ponies, driven one in front of the other.
Time Allowed – A specified period of time to complete the course. If the time allowed is exceeded, time faults will be added to the horse’s score.
Tootler – The horn blower in a coaching competition, the tradition dates back to English mail coaches signaling their arrival.
Trainer – An adult who has responsibility for the care, training, custody or performance of a horse or horse/rider combination.
Turnout – A coach or carriage together with the horses, harness and attendants. Variable: to put a horse to pasture.
Unicorn – Three horses or ponies, driven one in front of two side by side.
USEF – The United States Equestrian Federation is the governing body for licensed horse shows.
Voluntary Withdrawal – A rider makes the decision not to continue on the course and leaves the ring, usually with a nod of the head or tip of the hat to the judge. A rider may decide to withdraw because of a problem with the horse or trouble negotiating the course, or because the rider knows he or she has too many faults to place in the ribbons.
Walking the Course – Because riders and horses may not practice on a jumper course before the competition, riders are permitted to walk the course and check the fences and distances by pacing off the strides. Walking the course allows the rider to decide the proper number of strides between fences to assure a smooth ride with the fewest faults.
Wheeler Ring – The smaller of the two competition rings at Devon.
Whip – The driver of a coach or carriage.