History of Show Jumping

Horses have an interesting history. While many other equestrian competitions have a deep history, jumping a bit newer. The first early shows were just at that turn of the century. Prior to that, there really had not been a need for horses to jump as there were very few fences. During the 1700’s fences started going up in England and horses that were following fox hounds grew a need to become jumpers. Once it was recognized the ability and athleticism that horses had, horse jumping started being considered a sport, not only to follow the fox hounds but on its own as well.

European training schools began teaching jumping and as saddles and stirrups progressed, it was further obvious the abilities of that the horses had as jumpers. An Italian instructor by the name of Captain Fiederico Caprillli was instrumental with his conceptual ideas & design s for a forward seat for jumpers that enhanced the overall agility and ability for the horse to jump.

Soon after, horse jumping competitions began with the first large international show jumping class at the Horse of the Year show in the early 1900’s. Te first riders were largely military but it wasn’t long before civilians began participating and competing. The first competitions often made divisions of military and civilian and scoring tended to be a bit unorganized and with little rationale. As progress continued, hunter jumpers and show jumping began to be scored in a more universal fashion, and the British Show Jumping Association was formed. Other countries still had their own rules but over time the Federation Equestre Internationale, FEI, helped bring universal scoring to competitions. By 1912 Show jumping became an Olympic sport.

Show jumping consists of jumping over a variety of obstacles including double and triple combinations with carried turns and many changes of direction. Texas in particular has many riders, young and old that take riding lessons in Texas with dreams of winning horse show jumping competitions. Those that do take Texas riding lessons will learn all parts of show jumping, including riding with the very forward English saddle that is used for the large freedom of movement that is necessary when jumping. Today, horse show jumping continues to be a growing sport and a thriving part of horse equitation.


Source by Laura Graves