Show jumping is a sport for horses and riders which tests the horses ability to jump over a course of fences at a pre determined pace. Show Jumping is one of the three Olympic equestrian disciplines, with Eventing and Dressage.
If a horse knocks a fence they incur four faults. If they refuse at a fence they incur four faults. If a horse refuses to attempt to jump a particular fence three times, they are eliminated.
Riders are normally required to jump around the course within a set time. If they fail to do this they incur time faults at a rate of 0.25 point per second over the time. There are also specified speed classes where if riders finish on equality of faults the rider with the fastest time wins the class. If the horse or the competitor falls, they are eliminated.
The most common class is a called a Grand Prix where riders jump a standard round with the aim of achieving the lowest number of faults. If a number of riders finish with zero or an equality of faults, they jump off over a shortened course against the clock.
Courses vary in the level of difficulty and are generally graded according to the height of the fences being jumped. The height can vary for 80 cm for ponies up to 1.60 m for international championships. National Grand Prix’s would generally be a 1.40/1.50 m classes.
One of the most high profile competitions is the Puissance where riders attempt to jump a high wall that gets progressively higher after each round.
International Show Jumping
International Shows are overseen by the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) and are graded according to the level of prize money on offer. The highest level show is a ‘5 star’ show, there are also 2 star, 3 star and 4 star shows. Ireland only has one 5 star show which is the Dublin Horse Show.
The Irish team selection is overseen by Horse Sport Ireland with an input from Showjumping Ireland. The Irish Senior Showjumping High Performance Director is Rodrigo Pessoa. James Kernan is the Team Manager for Children On Horses, Juniors and Young Riders and Gary Marshall is the Pony Team Manager.
National Show Jumping
The sport is administered in Ireland by the Show Jumping Association of Ireland. To find out more about getting involved in Show Jumping at national level contact Showjumping Ireland or visit their website for more information.