Here is a tale about the tape. The tape is merely figurative because these days the racing officials no longer need these to measure who won the latest instalment of the Kentucky derby. If tape is used, it is merely ceremonial. But jockeys, riders, and their horses, as well as their audiences love it. It is what they all came to the race meet or showjumping affair for. Along with the skill of horse and rider, the audience wishes to remain teased a little with the pomp and ceremony.
That being said, the design layout of the showjumping or obstacle course has responded to this. From the vantage point of your seat, the course looks quite attractive. But no matter how skilled, experienced and resilient the horses and their riders are, the obstacles on the course remain as daunting as ever. All horse jump cups, horse jumps and fences have to be carefully negotiated by horse and rider.
Extremely carefully, because as every horse and its rider should know, the consequences of a collision are quite traumatic. Worst case scenario is that the horse would have to be put down and the rider is out of action for many months. Fortunately, such incidents will be few and far between at organized events, as well as on the training grounds. Speaking of which, horse and rider train extremely hard to achieve the high standards required to enter the country’s prestigious horse and rider events.
And there has been a call made by equine vets and horse trainers to switch to wood jumps, cups and fences. The plastic needs to be phased out. The wood versions are less threatening and physically, they do less damage to the horse’s limbs should it make contact with an obstacle.