Hello hello and a warm welcome to our first interview on our blog. Here you will learn more about show jumping, aluminium jumps, and training for your horse.
We are extremely excited to introduce a very special guest for this interview. It was a great pleasure for us to have a conversation with the successful and super nice Austrian show jumper Jennifer Jaritz. We had an awesome chat where we heard more about the life of a show jumper and we can also provide you with more insights into the world of elite show jumping.
Source: Jennifer Jaritz
Together with Jennifer, we discussed extremely interesting topics such as her journey in equestrian sports, dealing with fear or nervousness during competitions, advertising, sponsor jumps, sponsorship, and the influence of the audience.
1. Jennifer and her experiences in equestrian sports
ReiterWelt: Just briefly, tell us who you are and what you do.
Jennifer Jaritz: Okay, my name is Jennifer. I'm 23 years old. I have been involved in equestrian sports for about 15 years, and intensely since I graduated from high school seven years ago. I have been actively competing in high-level sports for about two years now.
R: Is there an optimal age to start jumping or riding in general?
I believe it strongly depends on the support from the family. It's not good for the body to start too early. I think between eight and ten years old is a good age to begin. Although I sat on a horse at the age of four or five, it wasn't proper riding, more like pony leading. The purpose was to establish contact with horses and overcome the fear associated with them.
R: How did you actually get into equestrian sports?
Through my mother. She always wanted to have her own horse but didn't have the opportunity back then. When I expressed my desire to start with equestrian sports, she was naturally thrilled and immediately supported me. My father had no previous experience with horses, but we were able to quickly get him interested, and he enthusiastically got involved.
R: At what age did you start participating in competitions?
That was a while ago. I had already dabbled a bit before turning 15, but I started participating in international competitions when I was 15 or 16.
Source: Jennifer Jaritz
R: Is that the age when girls and boys generally start this sport seriously?
I would actually say that I started quite late. When you consider show jumping at a higher level, such as the European Championships for juniors or Nations Cups in the age categories below, you should start earlier. I believe that around the age of 14, it's possible to establish a foothold in international sports. The earlier you start, the better. For me, it was actually quite late. I didn't recognize the intensity back then as I do today.
2. The roles of sponsors and networks in show jumping
R: How important are sponsors and networks for entering this sport? Can you tell us about your journey?
Sponsors are very important as they provide financial support. There are different types of sponsorship. Some sponsor specific products, while others provide a budget. I'm fortunate that my parents sponsor me through their company. Additionally, effective management behind the scenes is of great importance.
R: How important are advertisements at competitions to finance the sport?
Advertisements are very important as they support sponsorship. A sponsor, for example, can set up sponsor jumps or banners. They can also determine where sponsor jumps are placed or in which direction they face. Advertising is their feedback for being present at the competition. When a speaker mentions the sponsor at a specific jump or competition, the listeners usually don't notice it. That's why they look at the posters and horse jumps. Therefore, in my opinion, advertisements are very important.
R: What influence do sponsor jumps or advertisements have on the motivation of the horse and rider?
That's difficult to say because it varies from horse to horse. Some horses react very attentively to horse jumps and enjoy them. They take pride in them and give their best to jump over them. On the other hand, other horses are more fearful and insecure. They react negatively to sponsor jumps or get distracted. It really depends on the individual. As a rider, you need to understand the horse's needs and reactions and respond accordingly.
3. Difficulties and distractions at competitions
R: What are other factors, in your opinion, that influence the difficulty or motivation during competitions?
Jennifer Jaritz: Definitely the weather. Many horses don't like it when it's raining or when the wind is strong. The larger the horse jump, the more susceptible they are to wobbling when the wind blows or when it's heavily raining and the jumps are covered in dirt. Another decisive factor for me is how busy a competition is, how many competitors, for example.
R: What about the audience? Does it influence you?
The audience rarely influences me, I must say. At large indoor events, you simply feel the difference in the atmosphere. Of course, it's ten times better to ride in front of a large audience compared to just a hundred people. And what I also find is that the horses are different too. They notice it. Is there a small audience or a larger one?
R: So it's more about show or nervousness?
Exactly. Some horses thrive on it, they absolutely love it when they sense a large audience, a great atmosphere, and they give 100% because they're just in that feeling. And others become more nervous, as you said. It really depends on the horse's personality and age.
R: What are typical distractions you have experienced that can distract you or your horse?
Sometimes it's unintended distractions, for example, caused by the course team, but unintentionally. They often stand in inconvenient places. Especially for my young horses, that's very challenging because they're not used to it. In the last few tournaments, we had problems when the sun was low, casting large shadows, causing many horses to hesitate to enter those shadows.
R: How do you prepare your horse for something like that?
Yes, that's always a challenge, I find. We don't have such opportunities at home. What I do when entering the course is to go to the horse jump that I think could be difficult and show that the shadow doesn't matter. Most of the time, it's not a problem then.
R: Which horse jumps have stood out in your memory so far?
One sponsor jump that I liked was a tulip. It had vibrant colors like pink, green, and white. That has stayed in my memory. There's also a tournament with horse jumps shaped like wolves. That has stayed in my memory more negatively because many horses don't like it. In general, horse jumps with vivid colors are more memorable to me.
R: Is it common in youth competitions for sponsors to present their own horse jumps?
We have also been to some youth and junior tournaments, even smaller ones. There are indeed special sponsor jumps, but they are more from smaller brands, not so grandiose ones. But they are definitely present.
4. Trends and future developments
R. Do you think sponsor jumps can promote the development of show jumping?
Yes, definitely. As far as I know, the horse jumps are provided to the organizer. It's also good for the organizer to have not only advertising on posters but also a sponsor jump on the course that riders become even more aware of.
R: What do you think companies and sponsors can do to further promote show jumping at the local and eventually national level?
It's a difficult topic. Nowadays, there are unfortunately very few small national tournaments. It has really declined for us because organizers can no longer afford it. Financial support is essential, in my opinion, but many organizers struggle with financing a tournament, especially for smaller events.
R: Do you believe the trend will lean towards more extravagant sponsor jumps and new ideas? Or will they follow a certain line?
I do think that there will be more partially extravagant and unique jumps emerging, keeping up with the times. People will post them more and continue to promote them.
R: Is there anything else you would like to say?
I just want to say that I really support sponsor jumps. I think they're great. There should be even more of them to better represent the sponsor's brand at the competition. Perhaps not just one jump, but two or three jump that can be photographed from both sides. For example, a vertical jump and an oxer, showing both sides of the sponsor jump. A tournament can only survive if it has sponsors. That's why I think it's a good idea to integrate them in this way.
Source: Jennifer Jaritz
In conclusion, sponsor jumps play a significant role in show jumping. They provide financial support, promote the sponsor's brand, and contribute to the excitement and diversity of the sport.
Jennifer also made it clear that the relationship between horse and rider, as well as the ability to focus on the course, are crucial for success. By skillfully integrating advertising and sponsor jumps, show jumping can continue to thrive and evolve.
At this point, we would like to once again thank Jennifer Jaritz for taking the time for this interview and wish her continued success in show jumping and, above all, lots of fun.
We would be delighted if you could also give Jennifer a follow or like, as she made this entire interview possible! You can do so on Jennifer's Instagram.
We appreciate every contact and feel free to share this blog!