Show jumping enjoys its place, both nationally and internationally, as one of the most popular and perhaps most recognizable equestrian events, aside from Thoroughbred horse racing. At its highest competitive level, show jumping is recognized as one of the three Olympic equestrian disciplines alongside both dressage and eventing. Essentially, what pole vaulting, high jump and hurdles are to track and field, show jumping is to equestrian sport.
Spectator friendly and easy to understand, the object for the show jumper is to negotiate a series of obstacles, where emphasis is placed on height and width, and to do so without lowering the height (knocking down) or refusing to jump any of the obstacles. The time taken to complete the course is also a factor. The show jumping course tests a horse’s athleticism, agility and tractability while simultaneously testing a rider’s precision, accuracy and responsiveness. While its actual origins remain somewhat unclear, competitive show jumping has nonetheless enjoyed immense popularity worldwide since the early 1900s, and the discipline continues to enjoy growth and prosperity. In today’s show ring, horses and ponies of all sizes and breeds compete in classes representing varying levels of challenge. Likewise, classes exist for virtually every level of rider from the novice amateur to the seasoned international professional.