About Show Jumping

Show jumping is a beautiful, fast, and exciting sport that has the ability to capture a broad audience because of the

incredible effort and heart of the horses involved.


People of all ages can appreciate the beautiful, athletic horses in partnership with their riders soaring over towering jumps. At the highest levels of the sport, horse and rider combinations jump over obstacles over five feet high and six feet wide.

Rules of Show Jumping

Horses and riders must jump a course of obstacles in a predetermined order created by a course designer. The courses consist of eight to fourteen jumps, and vary with each day of competition. Horses and riders must also complete the course within a certain time allowed, usually around 75 seconds.


Show jumping is judged objectively on speed and execution, scored upon the basis of faults (penalties) incurred. Faults include knocking down rails or elements of a jump, refusals to jump an obstacle, and taking longer than the time allowed to complete the course.


Faults are as follows:

  • Pole knockdown=4 faults

  • Foot in water (open water jump)=4 faults

  • First refusal to jump an obstacle=4 faults

  • Second refusal=Elimination

  • Fall of horse or rider=Elimination

  • Time fault=1 fault for every second over the time allowed


A horse and rider go “clear” if they do not have any faults. They then advance into the jump-off, which is a shorter version of the original course. Here, time is of the essence! Typically, the pair that goes double clear with the fastest jump-off wins the class.

Rich Military History


Show jumping stems from military traditions in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Competitive horse jumping grew out of the cavalry exercises military riders performed with their horses. Until the mid-1940’s, the United States equestrian teams were only open to military personnel. The sport evolved drastically after World War II and began to more closely resemble the types of competitions seen today. Today, the sport is dominated by civilian riders, both amateurs and professionals alike, rather than members of the military. Show jumping, as one of the three equestrian sports at the Olympics, is the only Olympic sport in which men and women compete against each other.


To honor the tradition and history surrounding the sport, The International produces this event as a tribute to our military families, providing special opportunities for members of our military currently assigned to Offutt Air Force Base and our

veterans. We honor those who serve our country and allow us the freedom to take what was once a military discipline and turn it into an Olympic sport. 

© 2016 by Omaha Equestrian Foundation

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Omaha, NE 68102