Participating in equestrian sports is not an inexpensive hobby. With that fact firmly in mind, it can be tempting to try to cut costs whenever possible. While some things are okay to do it yourself, you should never attempt to cut costs at the expense of safety.
Any equestrian event that uses jumps, whether it is hunters, jumpers, or eventing, should use quality jump materials. Professionally designed equipment creates a more professional appearance. It is also much safer for both horse and rider.
Purchasing horse jump cups from a reliable manufacturer is one example of putting safety first. Professional jump cups are designed to hold the rails of the fence in place if the horse knocks it lightly but to fall if the horse hits it hard. This is important because a fence that is knocked over too easily can create a horse that becomes lazy and not very careful with his front end. These features can create safety issues as the jumps get taller, wider or more substantial.
On the other side of the coin, you don’t want a fence that will not come down if it is hit. Solid fences can cause ssafety issues as well. Poles that stay up or take a heavy hit to come down can trip the horse, causing him to stumble, trip, fall or even flip over the jump.
While both of these are extreme examples of what can happen if you use horse jump cups that are not made for the job, there are other, more common reasons to use professional cups as well. Hanging lightweight pvc pipes on nails or balancing them on cones or barrels does not encourage proper jumping form in the horse or create a professional environment for the rider. Poles secured in this way will fall inconsistently and cause frustration for the rider. Constantly having to reset fences simply because you don’t have the proper equipment makes it difficult to focus on your riding. Horse jump cups are a relatively small investment to make and will extend the life of your jump poles and standards by protecting them from excessive wear.