Horse riding clubs often have show jumping competitions which they organise themselves. For these smaller events you will find that show jumping rules can be altered to suit those competing. The official British Show Jumping Association competitions have to adhere to their BSJA rules. The Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) includes the rules for international competitions including the Olympics and many other show jumping competitions with teams from different countries.
If you would like to learn some more about show jumping rules then this article will tell you some more.
Show Jumping Rules – History
The show jumping rules book is updated each year, to ensure you are following the most recent rules it is a good idea to check the British Show Jumping Association website. Any amendments that are made to the show jumping rule book are published onto their website.
The first show jumping rule book was published in 1925 and was very basic. These rules awarded penalty points according to which leg hit the jump as the horse was jumping over. This idea was based on the values of horsemanship and riding treasured in hunting.
The modern day rule book has its advantages, no one expects you to know it inside out but it does help if you are familiar with it. If you are competing in show jumping then you will know the rules all you need the book for is to check on things you are unsure of and get the fine details exactly right.
What Is Included in Show Jumping Rules
As with any sport there are a lot of rules. Show jumping rules are more complicated than most because of the addition of the horse. There is also a lot of equipment involved in show jumping and all of this equipment has to be regulated.
Show jumping rules include the saddles, bridles and all other parts of tack. Clothing is a particularly important part of show jumping rules as there are very strict regulations on what can be worn. These restrictions will limit you to what sort of hat you wear and what safety standards they meet.
Show jumping rules also cover the actual sport rules such as what exactly constitutes a clear round, how to qualify, minimum and maximum heights of fences at each stage etc. The horse jumping rule book will also be able to tell you who can jump each particular stage. This takes into account the age and experience of the horse and rider.
National federations observe different types of classes and show jumping rules. However, the Federation Equestrian Internationale (FEI) is the most recognised show jumping governing body for international show jumping competitions.
Show jumping classes, which closely mirror the competitions, involve the completion of show jumping obstacle courses including spreads, verticals, double combinations and triple combinations. The obstacles will also involve a number of turns and changes in direction.
The goal is to achieve clean jumps over a fixed course, in a timely fashion. Faults will be incurred for all knockdowns, as well as any show of noncompliance or indiscipline, for example if the horse refuses to make the jump or stops just before a fence.
Each jumping penalty that is conceded for a refusal or knock-down will add four points to the opponents score. However, knock down penalties are incurred only if the knockdown affects the width or the height of the obstacle.
In the event that the horse clears the height of the jump, despite knocking down the top rail, and as long as the rails underneath the knocked-down rail are in tact, no penalty is conceded.
At open water show jumping courses, penalties are incurred if the hooves of the horse make contact with the water. But, if the rail is located across the centre of the water, then penalties will not be given if the horse lands in the water.
If a refusal results in the displacement of poles, flowers, gates and turf, four faults will be given for the refusal. An additional penalty will be incurred for time-wasted while the repairs are made to the obstacle.
Refusals that occur within a combination show jumping course are heavily penalised, in that they require the horse and rider to repeat the entire obstacle course.
Horses are granted a controlled amount of refusals before show jumping judges will issue a disqualification.
Straying off course will incur faults, and extended leave from the course could culminate into disqualification.
Competition rankings are dependent on the lowest amount of faults collected during the course. Horses and riders who do not accumulate any faults or penalties score a clear round.
Ties are settled via a final between the two tied entries. They must jump over a shortened and raised course in a timed race.
In the more advanced levels of show jumping competition, for example the international Grand Prix arena, the races take place on considerably more complex and technical circuits. These circuits involve sharper turns and much closer spaces between obstacles. The fences are higher and wider, giving horse and rider a much more superior challenge.