Shows specializes in English
Saddle Hunter/Jumper events. A Hunter/Jumper "show" does not fit the traditional
definition of the word "show". Most of us are use to going to a show that begins
at a certain time and runs for a couple of hours. In the Hunter/Jumper world a
"show" begins on a certain day and ends days later!
A Hunter/Jumper show consists of dozens of show
segments known as Classes. There are three major class categories -- Jumpers,
Hunters, and Equitation. Classes are further subdivided by rider age/experience,
ponies/horses, and other criteria The show schedule lists the time and date of each
class, although the times are approximate since the numbers of entrants in each
class is highly variable. Depending on the number of entrants a Class may be
broken into several Sections. (See the end of this page for a
glossary of horse show terms.)
The three major class categories
are defined as follows:
Jumper Classes, what counts is how
“faultless” and ultimately how fast!
One of the most exciting moments
in sports for the spectators to watch is when the Jumpers go into action at a
horse show. The sight of a great horse and rider combination competing over a
demanding course communicates a great thrill. However, to derive the full
measure of enjoyment from these events, the spectator should grasp the basics of
The Jumper is the “athlete” of
the show. His task is solely to jump, regardless of style or manner, and his
score is based entirely on his performance alone. Scoring is based on a point
system for “faults” in jumping [knocking a rail down or a refusal] or exceeding
the specified time limit.
The winner is the horse with the
lowest number of faults. “Time” is also a factor in deciding the outcome of an
event. In the case of a tie after the first round [:Clean,” or equal number of
faults], jump-offs are held over a shortened, and usually raised course, and the
competitors must compete against the clock.
Designing Jumper Courses is an
art form, with no two courses created the same. A diagram of each course
indicated the direction and sequence in which each obstacle must be taken. Each
jump is numbered and flags are placed to indicate the direction the obstacle is
to be taken - the red flag is on the right and the white flag is on the left.
Working Hunter Classes, judge the horse
for manner and pace; a smooth comfortable ride.
The Working Hunter is
representative of the type of horse used in the sport of Fox Hunting. He should
possess manners, jumping ability, style, pace, and quality. The judges are
looking for the horse that would be the most agreeable mount to “ride to
hounds.” The number on the rider refers to the horse.
Ideally, the Working Hunter must
be able to demonstrate his ability to furnish the rider with a smooth,
comfortable, and safe ride, clearing all the obstacles in stride with a minimum
of effort and a rate of speed he can maintain during a day in the hunt field.
The Working Hunter Courses are
designed to offer a reasonable facsimile for the conditions a Working Hunter
would meet on a hunt. Therefore, it goes without saying that the horsed, not the
riders, are being judged in the Working Hunter classes.
In judging the Working Hunter
classes, scoring is not based on the same mathematical process as the Jumpers.
While judges will penalize a horse for a refusal or knock down of an obstacle,
they may not fault for rubbing a rail, unless it is the fault of mediocre
jumping. Penalties may also be assessed for poor or unsafe jumping.
Hunt Seat Equitation
Equitation Classes, it is the Rider’s
form, skill, and handling that is being judged.
In today’s Hunt Seat Equitation,
it is the Rider and not the horse who is being judged. The actions of the horse
are important only as they reflect on the horsemanship of the Rider. Thus, it is
possible for a Rider whose horse “acts up” to be placed among the winners,
because in the judge’s opinion, the Rider met the problem skillfully.
Conversely, a seemingly good Rider may mean nothing more than a placed horse
carrying an unwitting passenger!
The Rider is always being judged
in Horsemanship Classes whether the class calls for jumping or whether it is run
“on the flat.” In judging Equitation Classes, the scoring is not based on the
same mathematical process as the Jumpers. Judges are looking for style of
riding, skill and accuracy, judgement in the use of the aids [suppleness of
hands, seat, and legs]; a general impression of complete, quiet control.
In the description of Equitation
Classes there is reference to “test.” This refers to the tests of Horsemanship
which have been established by the American Horse Shows Association for the
Recognized Horse Shows and is published in the AHSA Rule Book. Equitation judges
choose from these individual tests [1 – 19] in judging Horsemanship.
Equitation Courses are designed to offer the challenge of skill and judgement.
The jumps may be representative of those often seen in Show Jumping.
The winners of the AHSA Medal
Classes and the ASPCA [American Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals]
Horsemanship Classes are qualified for the National Finals in the Fall at
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and at the National Horse Show in West Palm Beach,
Glossary Of Terms
The sanctioning body of equestrian events in the United States
– A mini-event within the horse show. Each Class is restricted to horses/riders
meeting certain criteria (ponies, horses, riders in specific age groups,
hunters, jumpers, equitation, etc.)
- When a horse completes the prescribed course within the time allowed, without
incurring jumping faults. When more than one horse has a “clean round” a
- Grand prix jumping is scored by faults-or penalties accrued by horse and rider
while they negotiate the course.
is determined as follows:
First disobedience - (refusal to jump fence) 4 faults
Second disobedience - 4 faults or disqualification at lever 5 or above
Third disobedience - elimination
Knockdown of an obstacle, standard or wing(touches do not count) - 4 faults
Any foot in Liverpool, water or ditch, or on marker or tape on landing side of
water - 4 faults
Fall of horse or rider - elimination
Exceeding the time limit allowed to complete the course -1 fault per second
Off course - elimination
- The different paces at which the horse travels are walk, trot, canter and
gallop, and varying speeds of each
- Generally horses that are tied for other than first place will remain tied and
the prize money divided equally. Horses tied for first place after the first
round much jump-off in a timed jump-off round. The winner of the class is the
horse with the fewest faults and the fastest time.
- The jumping order or starting order is determined in a drawing before the
event so that each has an equal chance of attaining a favorable position. Riders
near the end of the starting order have the advantage or seeing how the first
riders complete the course.
- An obstacle is considered knocked down when a horse or rider, by contact,
lowers any element which establishes the height of an obstacle.
- Equestrian entertainment and marketing organization which promotes grand prix
show jumping nationwide.
- A horse is considered off course if it deviates from the course as outlined on
the posted diagram. (See Faults)
- The wooden poles used on obstacles are called rails and must be a minimum of
six feet in length and four inches in diameter. Rails usually measure about 12
feet on the average fence.
- When a horse stops before the fence or runs out to the side of the fence to
avoid negotiating the obstacle it is called a refusal. The refusal is scored as
- Practicing or training before the
- Consists of more than one vertical element taken as one jump.
- The amount of ground the horse covers in one “step” is called the horses
stride. At the canter the average single stride of a horse is 12 feet. The
distances of the grand prix courses are set accordingly.
- A specified period of time to complete the course. If the time allowed is
exceeded, time faults will be added to the horse’s score.
- A fence consisting of a single
vertical element with no spread.
- A rider makes the decision not to continue on the course and leave the ring,
usually with a nod of the heard or tip of the hat to the judge. A rider may
decide to withdraw because of a problem with the horse or trouble negotiating
the course, or because the rider knows he or she has too many faults to place in
Walking the Course
- Because riders and horses may not practice on a jumper course before the
competition, riders are permitted to walk the course and check the fences and
distances by pacing off the strides. Walking the course allows the rider to
decided the proper number of strides between fences to assure a smooth ride with
the fewest faults.
- A shallow ditch from six inches to one foot deep filled with water. A water
jump is 16 feet wide by 10 to 14 feet in spread.