What’s the deal?
Originating from fox hunting, riders must get their horses to jump over a series of obstacles in a closed course within a time limit, as clean as they can. By clean, we don’t mean not getting dirt on your jodhpurs. We mean that horses can’t knock off rails or hit the water, or else they acquire penalty points called faults. The fewer faults you have, the higher you are in the standings.
The jumping event consists of five rounds for individuals, narrowing the field down to 20 riders for the final round. The lowest total score wins. Scores from round 2 and 3 also count for the team competition, and the team winners are determined from these two rounds.
Men and women compete against each other. Individual scores also contribute to the team competition.
Why should I watch?
Getting a horse to jump is really difficult, and it takes a lot of athleticism on both the rider and horse to make it happen. When it’s perfect, it’s absolutely majestic, and you’ll quickly be routing for horses not to get faults. The jumping event is also really challenging because the course is pretty compact, meaning everyone has to up their game to get over the jumps.
Potential drinking game:
When a horse knocks a gate or rail, but it doesn’t fall down, drink.
The perfect snack:
The International Equestrian Federation’s got you covered for the ins and outs of jumping.
Want a different angle on the sport? Try your hand at officiating instead.