Welcome to Equo's first essential guide. These articles aim to introduce the different disciplines across the equestrian sport.

What is showjumping?

Showjumping is a competitive discipline within the equestrian sport that tests both the horse and rider’s accuracy and ability. Horse and rider combinations are required to navigate their way around a course of (usually coloured) numbered fences within an arena. These fences can be knocked down if they are hit, unlike solid cross-country fences. The height of the fences and the difficulty of the course varies with the level of competition.

British Showjumping is the official governing body for the sport and advises the rules and best practice under which affiliated competitions operate. In contrast, unaffiliated competitions do not adhere to British Showjumping regulations and often run at a lower, more relaxed level, as they tend not to qualify for bigger events within the sport.

There are many different types of showjumps, including verticals, spreads, double and triple combinations and more. These jumps are arranged in a course that requires technical turns, therefore testing the rider’s skill in navigating over the fences within an allocated time.

Penalties, more commonly known as faults within the sport, are given for errors throughout the course. These faults are acquired when a horse knocks down, refuses, or runs out at a fence. Four faults are given when a fence is knocked down or refused. Elimination can occur if the rider falls or dismounts, has two or more refusals, or takes an error of course. Time-faults also occur if the combination exceeds the allocated time.

Showjumping competitions can run in one or two phases. In a single phase competition the rider will jump a certain amount of jumps, and if clear (meaning that no faults have been acquired) they will progress to the second half of the jumps, which is timed. Usually the fastest, clear combination will win. If no combinations jumped clear the pair with the fewest faults will win, however this is down to the judge’s discretion. In a two-phase competition riders will leave the arena after the first round of jumps and, if clear, will re-enter for a jump off. This jump off consists of selected timed fences.

Showjumping competitions can take place in both indoor and outdoor arenas, on a surface or on grass. There is no dedicated showjumping season as the sport can be enjoyed all year round.

Be sure to view Equo’s upcoming showjumping events. 

Lauren Timbo competing at Great Yorshire Show