Jumping is the best known – and probably most readily understood – of all the FEI disciplines and is one of the three Olympic equestrian sports, along with Dressage and Eventing. As in all equestrian disciplines, men and women compete on equal terms in Jumping in both individual and team events.

Jumping is a spectacular mix of courage, control and technical ability that takes horse and rider over 10 to 13 “knockable” obstacles, some of which may be double or treble combinations, with penalties incurred for each obstacle knocked down or refused. Jumping has also produced some of equestrian sport’s most memorable Olympic moments.

At the World Equestrian Games, the Jumping event has a specific format, comprising three competitions plus a change-horse final for the top 4 riders. Two Championship titles are awarded: one for the Team Competition and one for the Individual Competition. Teams are made up of three or four riders and horses. If a nation is unable to enter a full team, it can enter one or two individual(s). 


There is very little written about horse jumping prior to the end of the 18th, beginning of the 19th century. Soldiers and English fox-hunters jumped their horses and cavaliers helped their horses to jump by pulling hard on the reins just before the obstacle. At the end of the 19th century, the French invented the principle of running reins to allow the horse to stretch its neck through the jump, with the rider sitting upright in the saddle. At the start of the 20th century, Frederico Caprilli, an Italian, invented the forward seat, which took the weight off the horse’s back and encouraged the rider to fold his or her torso forward and follow the movement of the horse during the jump.


Frédéric Morand, Manager of the Jumping discipline

Jumping has the advantage of being a discipline that is easy to understand. Even if spectators know nothing about the sport, they can see when a pole is knocked down and the clock shows which pair has done the fastest round. The spectators feel the excitement and can easily get involved in the action. There is suspense; feelings of joy, excitement, sadness. In Lexington, the EU team crumbled, it was really dramatic.

The level at the World Equestrian Games is very high, as there are 5 different courses over the week, with 120 jumps measuring 1.50m high: what a horse normally does in 1 month and a half !  The horses’ health and the riders’ mental strength must be in perfect shape. 

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