What is Show Jumping (or Jumpers)?

show jumper horse

          Show jumping is also known as stadium jumping, open jumping, and jumpers. This English riding discipline is commonly found throughout the world at many horse shows, including the Olympics. The overall intent for jumpers is to complete a course of fences and obstacles, within an allotted time frame, with the least amount of faults. Showing jumping is recognized by the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) and the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI).  So if you looking for a challenge in the jumping world with a bit of speed, you have found the perfect sport in show jumping.


          Many different breeds of horses have shown successfully in the show jumping arena. The most commonly seen breeds of horses include the thoroughbred and warmblood. Typically, the jumper is a tall horse over 16 hands high. However, the height of a horse does not correlate with their jumping ability. Horses and ponies as small as 14 hands have shown successfully in the show jumping arena, even at the Olympic level. Overall, a jumper must have the scope and courage to jump large fences and the athletic ability to maneuver sharp turns and speed. 


          Show jumping fences are typically very brightly colored. Sometimes the designs of the fences can be very elaborate. There are several different types of fences that are used in the jumper arena.  The most common fence in the jumper ring is the vertical. This jump consists of poles that are placed directly above one another. The oxer fence is also commonly seen. This jump consist of two verticals close together to make the fences wider. Thus the fence now has a spread. Other fences include the triple bar, cross rail, wall, hogsback, filler, combination, fan, open water, liverpool, and the less common joker. Depending on the level these fences can be as low as 2’6” (for those just starting out) and 8’1” (for the world record in the Puissance). 


          There are several different types of show jumping competitions. The first type of competition is the Grand Prix. This is the highest level of competition that runs under the FEI rules. The jumping course typically contains 10-16 fences up to 5’3” and spreads up to 6’7”. Another type of competition is the Puissance, which is a high-jump competition. Then there is gambler’s choice, where the competitor chooses their own course and accumulates points based on the points awarded for certain fences. Other competitions include the speed derby, Calcutta, Maiden, Match Race, Touch class, and faults converted. 


          Unlike the hunter arena where you are judged subjectivity on the picture of the ideal ride, in the show jumping arena you are judged on time and the accumulation of faults. You can accumulate faults from knock downs, refusals, and time faults. 


          The jumper horse and rider adhere to an English style of dress. The saddle is typically a close contact saddle, which aids in the rider’s jump position. Square saddle pads are used so that you can advertise or show support with breed logos. Bridles and bits vary greatly. Boot and wraps are also seen to help protect the horse’s legs from rubs. Martingales are also common, many riders use the running martingale. Rider's attire can be similar to the hunter ring or less formal. Instead of a show shirt and hunt coat, the jumper rider may wear a polo shirt. At FEI levels the dress code is more strict.


          So if you like SPEED and Jumping, you have found the perfect match in the equestrian sport of show jumping. Check out our Jumping Saddles at SaddleOnline.com!