Show Jumping 101: Terms to Know
Conor Swail (IRL). Photo by Catie Staszak Media, Inc.
We'll be honest. The sport of show jumping involves a unique vocabulary. There's an entirely new meaning to the words "school," "green,""lead," and "trip," to name just a small few.
For those new to the sport, we've compiled a glossary of sorts to explain the terms you'll likely here when taking in show jumping sport:
Time Allowed: The amount of time given to complete the course. If this time is exceeded, time faults are allotted. This time is set by the course designer, but he may decide to change it after watching the first three combinations jump
Did you know? The time fault rule for FEI competitions changed in 2022. Previously a time fault was added to a score for every four seconds over the time allowed. Now, it is a single time fault for every second over the time allowed.
Distance: The stride or point at which horse and rider leave the ground to jump a fence
Line: A sequence of fences set in a manner where the distances are related
Stride: The step of a horse.
Did you know? Four human steps make up one horse stride. Riders walk the course on foot before competing to measure out their plan.
Class A single event at a competition/horse show
Course: The collective series of fences set in a specific order over which horses/riders compete
Round/Trip: A single completion of the course by a horse/rider
Jump-off: A second round of competition over a shortened course over which all the clear rounds from the first round compete. The jump-off determines the winner in many formats
Grand Prix: A jump-off competition, often the most prestigious and lucrative event at a competition
Drag Break: When competition is temporarily paused to do arena maintenance
Warm-Up: Where horses/riders prepare in the moments before entering the arena to compete
Rub: When a horse lightly touches a rail, and the rail does not fall
Start list: The entries in a particular class
Format: The type of class; determines how results are formulated
Faults: Penalties incurred on course
Clear round: When a horse/rider completes the course without incurring any faults; the score is "0"
Scratch/Withdrawal: When a horse/rider withdraws before entering the arena for competitionRetireWhen a horse/rider elect not to complete the course
Off Course: When a horse/rider jump the course in the incorrect sequence
Refusal: When a horse does not jump a fence as intended. This can be a run-out (to the side of the fence) or a stop (at the base of the fence).
Elimination: When a horse/rider are forced to end their round prematurely
Disqualification: When a horse/rider are stripped of their placing after their round due to a rule violation
Mare: Female horse
Gelding: Castrated male horse
Stallion: A male horse that is in tact
Sire: The father of the horse
Dam: Mother of the horse
Types of Jumps on Course
Standard: The sides of the fence that hold up rails/poles and determine the heights of the fences VerticalA single uprgright fence with one set of standards
Oxer: A single fence that has height and width, with two sets of standards
Triple Bar: A single fence with three sets of standards set an increasing heights. Outside of the open water, this is the widest fence on course, set in the natural arc of the horse's jump
Combination: A series of 2 (double) to 3 (triple) fences set in close succession. All fences in the combination receive the same jump number and are designated by letters (i.e. 4a-b-c). There are one or two strides in between each fence in a combination
(Also: Combination - How the horse and rider are referenced in a collective manner; one entry)
Liverpool: A water tray set underneath or behind a fence.
Open water: A water element that tests width only and not height
Jump Cup: Plastic safety material that holds the rails upright on the standards