Show jumping takes place in nearly every country around the globe. It also enjoys the status of an Olympic sport. This equestrian sport now boasts easily understandable rules, although in the past points were given for style, and deducted for minor offences such as touching the fence rail without actually knocking it down. The simple rules instituted 50-odd years ago have made show jumping easy to follow, which allows first-time spectators to enjoy the sport as much as seasoned fans.
The penalties are as follows:
Show Jumping Penalties
Knockdown – 4 faults.
Foot in the Water – 4 faults.
First Refusal (Disobedience) – 3 faults.
Second Refusal – Elimination.
Fall of Horse or Rider or Both – Elimination.
Show jumping events are also timed. A certain amount of time is allotted for the completion of the course, and extra time spent will lead to further penalties. Time is also used to help determine the winner when there is a tie in the number of faults. The fastest round wins.
Most show jumping events require the horses and riders to prove they can clear the big fences before they are tested against the clock.
Some show jumping events are speed competitions, where the competitors must complete the course as quickly and cleanly as possible. In this type of competition, time (e.g. 10 seconds) is added for every fence knocked down. The winner is the competitor who has taken the least time over the course.
One competition, the Puissance, has no time element. Instead, the fences get bigger and bigger, although after every round they get fewer and fewer. The final round has two fences, and the big wall can be higher than seven feet. The winner, of course, is the team that can clear the highest fence.
Canada boasts one of the top two show jumping venues in the world in Calgary, Alberta. Spruce Meadows boasts of incredible facilities and prize money. Aachen, Germany is the other top venue.