Jumping (known as ‘Showjumping in the United Kingdom) takes place in an arena, around a course of approximately 15 fences.
Rider and horse are considered a team and it takes years of structured training for the team to be able to perform at the highest level required across the combined skills required. These skills include the need for not only agility but also speed, precision, endurance and aptitude to name just a few if they are to clear the obstacles within the time allowed. In each of the three Equestrian events – Dressage, Jumping and Eventing – the aim is to create a harmonious partnership between horse and rider.
In Jumping, the rider’s horsemanship and the horse’s freedom, energy, skill and obedience are tested over a series of about 15 obstacles, including parallel rails, triple bars, water jumps and simulated stone walls within a specified time period. Their aim is to perform a ‘clear’ round, avoiding penalty points due to a fence knock-down, a refusal or passing of the designated time to complete the course.
Jumping courses are now highly technical, requiring boldness, scope, power, accuracy and control from both horse and rider. The fences are designed so that if the horse hits them as they jump them, part or all of the fence will knock down and the rider will be penalised with ‘faults’.
Faults are also awarded if the rider does not complete the course within a set time. The winner is the rider with the fewest faults; if there is a draw, the result is decided by jumping a shortened course as fast as possible without knocking fences down (“against the clock”).
The Team medal is decided over three rounds by four riders and the Individual medals over five rounds.