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A general overview of

Show Jumping

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Show Jumping
From Wikipedia,

Show jumping is a form of competition in which horses are jumped
over a course of fences, low walls, and other obstacles (e.g.,
water-filled ditches or troughs). Show jumping is a competitive
sport consisting of many elements. The course is pre-arranged;
the event may be timed or untimed event. It is scored by a judge
or panel of judges.

Show Jumping Courses

There are four types of jumping disciplines: Hunter, Equitation,
Jumper (show jumping), and Stadium Jumping Courses (with combined
three day eventing). In a Hunter style course, courses are
designed for a smooth, flowing performance of the horse. A rider
should demonstrate an even pace over fences simulating those
found in the natural hunting field. In competition, a horse is
judged on its performance, manners, and way of going. An even,
steady pace, consistently good takeoff distances, good jumping
style, long, low movement, and overall smoothness and ease of
performance are paramount. If a horse ticks, or touches, the
fence he is jumping with his fore or hind legs, a fault is added
to the score.

Hunter courses may be in a ring or over an outside course. There
are usually eight fences, simple verticles and spreads of a
moderate size. Typical hunter fences are natural rails, gates,
walls, coops, brush, and logs. A typical hunter course includes a
one or two stride in-and-out (combination) and ascending oxers;
triple bars and square oxers are prohibited. Because fences are
set at standard distances that are based on the 12 foot stride,
riders do not walk the course before competition, but ride it off
their eye.

Equitation courses are designed to test the skills of the rider.
In an equitation class, the rider is judged on his own and his
horse's performance over the course, including correct takeoff
distance, accurate lines and turns, form and style, and
maintenance of an even pace over the entire course. The rider
must be both smooth and effective, with aids as subtle as
possible. Equitation courses may be held over hunter or jumper
style obstacles, including verticles and spreads of to 3'6", one
or more combinations and at least two changes of direction.
Course designers include tests of technical ability (related
distances, bending lines, and combinations, precision (narrow
fences), and control (ability to lengthen and shorten strides
smoothly, to ride a specific line, and to turn accurately). The
horse is expected to be on the correct lead in all turns, so
ability to land in the correct lead and execute a smooth flying
change is important.

Jumper, or show jumping, courses are held over a course of show
jumping obstacles, including verticles, spreads, double and
triple combinations, and many turns and changes of direction. The
purpose is to jump cleanly over a twisting course within a time
allowed; jumping faults are incurred for knockdowns only (as
compared to ticks), disobedience, and time faults for exceeding
time allowance. Tied entries jump over a raised and shortened
course; if entries are tied in the jumpoff, the fastest time
wins. Riders walk both course and the jumpoff course before
competition, to plan their ride.

Jumper courses are highly technical, requiring boldness, scope,
power, accuracy, and control; speed is also a factor, especially
in jumpoff course and speed classes (in which time counts in the
first round). A jumper must jump big, bravely, and fast, but he
must also be careful and accurate to avoid knockdowns, and must
be balanced and rideable in order to rate and turn accurately. A
jumper rider must ride the best line to each fence, saving ground
with well-planned turns and lines, and must adjust his horse's
stride for each fence and distance, while avoiding knockdowns. In
a jumpoff, he must balance the need to go as fast as possible and
turn as tight as he can, against his horse's ability to jump

Three Day Eventing courses are the last part of eventing, in
which Dressage, Cross-Country, and Show Jumping is tested. -The
above 'Courses' not directly quoted but was taken from the United
States Pony Club Manual of Horsemanship-

The horses are allowed a certain number of refusals to take a
jump or other obstacle, but fault points are added to their score
for each one. Until recently, it was 3 faults, but was changed to
4 faults by the FEI (Federation Equestrian Internationale) as it
was decided that it is better for the horse to attempt the jump
rather than to refuse it and should therefore not be penalized
less for a more severe fault. If they take more than the time
allowed for the course, they earn 1/4 fault for each extra
second. For every pole that is knocked down, 4 faults are earned.

The final rankings are based on the lowest number of points
accumulated. In case of a draw, the horse with the fastest time
ranks higher.

The history of show jumping

Show jumping is a relatively new equestrian sport. Until the
Enclosures Acts which came into force in England in the
eighteenth century there had been no need for a horse to jump
fences as there had been none. But with this act of parliament
came new challenges for those followers of fox hounds. The
enclosures act brought fencing and boundaries to many parts of
the country as common ground was dispersed amongst the wealthy
landowners. This meant that those wishing to pursue their sport
now needed horses which were capable of jumping these obstacles.

In the early shows held in France there was a parade of
competitors who then took off across country for the jumping.
This sport was, however, not popular with spectators as they
could not watch the jumping. Soon after the introduction of these
parades fences began to appear in the arena. This became known as
‘Lepping’. Fifteen years later, ‘Lepping’ competitions were
brought to Britain and by 1900 most of the more important shows
had ‘Lepping’ classes although they rarely attracted more than 20
competitors. The ladies, riding side-saddle, had their own

At this time, the principal cavalry schools of Europe at Pinerolo
and Tor-di-Quinto in Italy, the French school in Saumur and the
Spanish school in Vienna preferred to use a backward seat when
jumping for safety purposes with long length stirrups. Whilst the
Italian Instructor Captain Fiederico Caprilli heavily influenced
the forward seat with his ideas that the forward position would
not impede the balance of the horse negotiating obstacles. It is
this latter style which is commonly used today.

The first big showjumping class to be held in England was in the
Horse of the Year Show at Olympia in 1907. Most of the
competitors were servicemen and it became clear at this
competition and in the subsequent years that there was no
uniformity of rules for the sport. Judges marked on their own
opinions. Some marked according to the severity of the obstacle
and others marked according to style. Before 1907 there were no
penalties for a refusal and the competitor was sometimes asked to
miss the fence to please the spectators. The first courses were
built with little imagination many consisting of only a straight
bar fence and a water jump. A meeting was arranged in 1923 to
rectify it and this led to the formation of the BSJA in 1925.

Original scoring tariff

The original list of faults introduced in 1925 was as follows:

Refusing or Bolting at any fence:

1st: 2 faults
2nd: 3 faults
3rd: Debarment
Fall of Horse or Rider or both: 4 faults

Horse touches a fence without knocking it down: ˝ fault

Horse upsets fence with:

Fore limbs: 4 faults
Hind limbs: 2 faults
Water jump:

Fore leg in: 2 faults
Hind leg in: 1 fault
Upsetting or removing the water fence: ˝ fault

The differences between the number of faults a horse received
depending upon which limb hit the fence was a remnant from the
origins in hunting whereby it was more dangerous for a horse to
hit a jump with his forefoot as he was more likely to tip up.

Water jumps were at least 15 feet (5 metres) wide although the
water had often drained out of them before the last competitor
jumped them. High jumping would start with a pole at around 5
foot but this was later abandoned as many horses went under the
pole. It was for this reason that more poles were added and
fillers came into use. In the early days time penalties did not
count and competitors were not penalized until 1917.

Showjumping was first incorporated into the Olympic Games
in 1912 and has thrived ever since its popularity due in part
as its suitability as a spectator sport which can be viewed on television.

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