Show Jumping

What is show jumping?


Show jumping is an equestrian event where each horse-rider combination must clear a number (on average 15 to 20) of obstacles on a set course and within a specified time.

The ultimate goal for each combination is a clear round. Faults or penalties are collected:

  1. if the horse refuses to jump an obstacle
  2. when it brings down the highest element of an obstacle
  3. when the combination exceeds the time allowed.

History of show jumping

Show jumping is a relatively new equestrian discipline. In the late 18th century jumping obstacles or fences became a feature of the sport of fox hunting.

An act of parliament in the UK stated that those whishing to pursue the sport of fox hunting needed horses which were capable of jumping fences. Others suggest that show jumping started off in Paris in 1866. 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 was originally called ‘lepping’. Later on this was also brought to Britain and by 1900 most horse shows had ‘lepping’ classes. At this time most riders used a backward seat during show jumping competitions. It was the Italian instructor Captain Fiederico Caprilli who introduced the forward position as we know it today in show jumping. The main advantage of this forward position was and is that it does not impede the balance of the horse when jumping fences.

In the early 1900’s there was no uniformity of rules for show jumping and courses were built with little imagination. This was changed in 1925 with the formation of the BSJA (British Show Jumping Association). A similar evolution occured in the USA leading to the American Horse Shows Association today know as the USEF (United States Equestrian Federation).

This article is kindly provided by the Jumping.EU


Equestrian involves a multiple of disciplines. For more information on each discipline, please click on the icons below.

  • Dressage

  • Endurance

  • Eventing

  • Jumping


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