Horse jumping is a kind of Equestrian sport that is popular in countries like the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia.  Within this equestrian sport, there are two types of riding; English and Western riding. The English riding has three different event types in the Olympics; cross country, show jumping and dressage.

Show jumping with horses is also called open jumping and stadium jumping. Any major horse sports show around the world will have some form of jumping included because of the attractiveness and excitement the sport brings.

Listed below are 5 of the most interesting facts about horse jumping that might get you on the edge of your seat. When next you visit a show jumping sport be mindful to pay close attention to these interesting facts about the sport.

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Showing Jumping Involves Different Range Of Classes, Scored In A Fun Way

Horse jumping sports has three different types of classes:

  • Hunter Class
  • Seat Equitation Class
  • And Jumper Class

Hunter jumping classes are scored by the way the horse meets a predefined set of manners and style. This scoring system is subjective and quite different from jumper classes that depend solely on a numerical value. This numerical score is arrived at by judging the horse’s attempt to clear an obstacle and finish the course in the allotted time.

Interestingly, jumper classes are much more complex than hunter classes because the rider and horse are not judged based on style or manners.

Equitation classes, on the other hand, score the ability of the rider only. This is why the class is often referred to as “hunt seat”.

Dress Codes Are Different

Dressing is part of the scoring sheet of Hunter jump classes. Although emphasis is made on dresses, hunter bits, spurs, and martingales are closely regulated to avoid abuse. Jumper classes are not scored by turnout so you would normally see them wear less conservative attire while caring and grooming their horses. As long as jumper class riders stay within the scoring rules they will do just fine.

Olympic Horse Jumping

As mentioned before there are two types of Equestrian horse riding; English and Western. Only English forms are present at the Olympic events. All forms of western riding are excluded.


Coming out first with horse jumping classes is defined by how well the rider can navigate his horse around the many obstacles to finish at the least possible time. A fault or mistake could occur if the horse knocks down an obstacle or fence or if the horse blatantly refuses to follow orders.

Faults attract a penalty of 4 points maximum. Faults can also occur if the horse rider exceeds the time allotted to complete the course, and for every exceeded second, 4 points are deducted.

Once a rider completes a course without faults, he proceeds to the next stage which is called a jump-off. The course of the jump-off is usually shorter and needs to be completed with lesser time than the formal.

Eventing: Three Horse Events In One

Eventing is an interesting part of horse sports show that combines Dressage, Show jumping and cross country. During dressage, the horses do not jump but must be very obedient to their riders. They have to be obedient if they must complete the sequence of events set before them.  Letters and numbers are usually laid on tracks or somewhere visible that shows where movements should happen.

The addition of cross country to the eventing sport makes this Equestrian sport unique. The horses are made to gallop through obstacles that will not fall easily. These obstacles could be waters, logs of wood or stone walls. Just as the name suggests, the cross country sport is long and will take more time to complete.

Although horse jumping as a sport became popular in the 1900s in England, it was already in existence in Paris by 1866. 15 years later it made its way to England and other European countries where it was first recognized as a lepping competition.  The all popular Grand Prix show jumping originated in France and was introduced to the Olympic Games in 1912.

Here you have it. Some fun facts about horse jumping as a sport. If you are a newbie to this sport my guess is that you found these facts amusing. When next you visit or watch a horse show jumping, keep an eye on these facts.

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