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Question--Show Jumping, do they still switch horses?

My search says they do not. They used to have the top four riders each switch horses and ride the other three over the same course. It was an amazing test of a rider.

Did they stop just because it takes too long?

Lots of extra wear and tear on the horses, and lots of risk with very expensive livestock.


That was certainly the ultimate test and very cool to watch. I don’t know if they are doing it.

Here is one article on this:


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Wait, the article said they were removing the speed round. So what was that yesterday?

Also, who remembers the (Kentucky?) WEG rider who finished the course and then galloped around the ring waving both arms over his head, with the reins on the horse’s neck? On someone else’s horse.

I saw an interview with Mclain today where he said if he’d made it to the final 4 with Rothchild, that would have been the last time they did it :lol:


^ I saw that, too! :lol:

Though it was exciting to watch, I’m happy they’re not doing it anymore. I think these horses are already being tested enough with all this jumping. The right is just better be good enough on their own horses. :smiley:


I remember when Gail Greenough won it under the ride each other’s horses plan. While it was exciting to watch,
overall, considering risks, wear and tear on these special horses, it is a good decision…in a day when the riders do not always own the horses. It is not always about the public.


I still think that switching horses was awesome. I am not sure that it is as applicable today as it was before. However, watching someone else ride a very special horse is interesting. Today, it seems as though the best are wonderful with multiple riders in their careers. That wasn’t always the case.

I’d have liked to see someone else on Snowbound, or Aberali. Untouchable , perhaps would have been great, regardless. But, it would be interesting to see, today.

There are a few articles around about the final four change. I think part of it was that some of the horses didn’t get along well with the new rider - and while that’s great to see in terms of picking a world champion rider, it’s not so great for the horse to be facing a course like that with a rider that isn’t All That for him.

In addition, the person who gets the horse after it got a bad ride is at a significant disadvantage, and IIRC we’ve seen that happen.

Sometimes a less experienced rider has a Very Good Week on their own horse, and some of the other top horses are not very forgiving.

So it’s an amazing format, and I regret not getting to see it test the riders, but I do think it’s best for these top horses to drop it.

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Tell me more about Rothchild! Sounds like an interesting horse!

LOL I think I found a video that explains him well. what a character


He is a funny one. They have won a LOT together! Luckily, he mostly seemed to restrain his antics until
the end of the course, but there are many classic pictures of him in unusual positions over the years.

He he is being officially retired this weekend at the Gold Cup at Old Salem, right near Mclain’s farm in Brewster. :slight_smile:


Speaking of Rothchild’s retirement, this is what McLain has to say about it after he won the GP qualifier Friday on another horse at the Gold Cup:

On retiring Rothchild on Sunday:
“I’m just going to try not to let [Rothchild] kick me in the ring. I refuse to get on him in there. I know I will fall off if I do. He looks amazing. He is happier and healthier than ever. It’s nice to be able to retire him in such a good state. Obviously he had a brilliant career and he really was my buddy. That horse really defied the odds and did some incredible things and is probably pound-for-pound the best horse I have ever ridden because of the things he overcame. It’s sad to see his career end in one way, but it’s a great memory and he’s still healthy and happy so it won’t be so sad.”


It was a wise choice to stop with the top four swapping. Though it was one of my favorite show jumping things to watch. I do remember the crowd gasping for many of the jumps in KY when one of the top four rode Hickstead. I am certain it had to be awful for Eric to watch.

If I recall Eric and Hickstead were in the lead going in. Always wondered if Eric’s broken foot affected his ride on the other 3 horses (am sure Hickstead was jumping the moon for him regardless). Am conveniently forgetting the silver medal winner’s name as Phillipe Lejeune (the winner) found his silver medal winning mare a short time later in a squalid barn being used as a breeding mare. Too bad that Rodrigo had to place 4th in that scenario.