This article should be merged with show-jumping.

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). The horses are allowed a certain number of refusals, but 3 fault points are added to their score for each one. 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 Showjumping Showjumping is a relativly new equine sport. Until the enclosures act which came into force in England in the eighteenth century there had been no need for a horse to jump fencesa 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 amoungst the wealthy landowners. This meant that those wishing otoo pursue their sport now needed horses which were capable of jumping these obstacles.

In the early shows held France there was a parade of competitors who then took off across country for the jumping. This sport was hoever 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 classes.

At this time, the principle 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 some times asked to miss the fence to please the spectators. The first courses were built with litlle 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.

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 remnat 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 penalised 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.

Some of the great show jumping horses in history are:

  • Big Ben
  • Snowball