Friday Thrills and Spills from World Equestrian Brands: The History of the Water Complex

There are many ways to tackle a water complex. Louise Harwood and Mr Potts demonstrate one of the more unusual choices. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

The humble water jump: omnipresent on cross country courses around the world, it lies in wait, ready to scare the living daylights out of those who tackle it.

There are two distinct types of Water Jump Fear. Type one is the classic “my horse is absolutely not going to go in this and if there’s a drop into it then I’m going to be the solo spoon in the cereal bowl” fear. Type two is a slightly rarer, but no less valid fear, held by those lucky owners of one of a select group of horses known as ‘waterbabies’. The puddle-jumping types have dolphin somewhere within five generations on their pedigree, and for their riders, the niggling terror is that the bloody thing won’t LEAVE the water jump. Worst-case scenario? The gleeful stop, drop, and roll. Why do we do this sport, again?

Silly question. We do itĀ becauseĀ of the madness, not in spite of it. Those who paved the way for us to enjoy it in its modern iterations did it for precisely the same reason, and often with many more bumps, bruises, and great pub anecdotes to show for it.

Your Friday video this week looks at the evolution of the water complex, from its horse-swallowing beginnings to today’s much more sympathetic designing. Fortunately, our collective knowledge and expertise has grown throughout the decades to create a much more rewarding experience for both horse and rider, as these seriously tolerant waterbabies demonstrate. No points to the rider who decides to just let his horse be the feral swamp crocodile he obviously aspires to be.