• Prixview Staff

SJ101: Your Show Jumping Glossary


Paul O'Shea. Photo by Catie Staszak Media, Inc.


If you're new to the sport of show jumping and listen to broadcast, there are likely a few terms that fall into the category of jargon: very industry specific and very difficult for others to understand.


Want to impress your equestrian peers next time you see them and talk strategy for this week's Prixview fantasy games? We've compiled a starter glossary of terms and phrases:


Add: When an extra stride (or more) is added in a related distance or line of fences on course


Behind the leg: When a horse is hesitant to go forward


Careful: A horse that noticeably doesn't want to touch a fence; this horse will typically "back off" or size up a fence. It can also refer to a particularly tall and delicate fence


Deep: When a distance to the fence is too close to the fence. This can also be referred to as a horse being "underneath" the fence


Delicate: Another term for a careful fence; a jump that is set in flat cups or is exceptionally light or falls down with little force


Direct: A type of approach to a fence in which the rider minimizes the space between fences; the opposite of a wide approach


Distance: The point of takeoff to a fence, "seen" and executed by the rider and communicated to the horse through the rider's aids


Doesn't get across: When a horse clears the height but does not clear the width of a fence. This can refer to fences like oxers, triple bars or the open water


Flat: When a horse does not jump in an arc but rather jumps straight ahead and into the fence, often resulting in a rail


Fresh: When a horse exhibits excessive energy and is not responding as well to a rider's aids; this can involve "playing" after a fence, including bucking or kicking out


Hang: When a horse suspends in the air, often resulting in its front legs to drop low toward a rail or is not even with its knees, resulting in one leg to hang below the other


Inside: When a rider takes a shorter turn, cutting inside anothe fence or barrier on course, to save time


Leave-Out: When one less (or fewer) stride is done when there is a related distance or line of fences on course


Long: When a distance to the fence is too far from the jump, resulting in a tremendous effort required by the horse to clear it


Miscommunication: When horse and rider are not in agreement or sync with reference to the distance to a fence. This may also be called a "miss" or "missed distance"


Rub: When a horse touches a pole, but it does not fall down


Scope: The act of a horse jumping with great height and effort over a fence; cleaing a fence easily and by a noticeable margin


Slice: When a horse jumps a fence on an extreme angle, either right to left or left to right, to save time


Spooky: When a horse peeks at a fence or exhibits a strong desire to avoid a fence or back off or away from it


Strung Out: A horse whose stride becomes long and difficult to collect or manage


Track: The rider's execution of his/her plan for his/her path between fences around the course


Learn more about show jumping here.