Which Horse Jumping Style is Right for You? A blog about the various styles of horse jumping. I have been dreaming about this for a long time but mainly because I know a ton about horse jumping, talked to passionate riders and trainers, attended the U.S Nationals (the most competitive horse show in the world), and can tell a lot of interesting stories.

  • Reading time:6 mins read
  • Post comments:0 Comments


The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) has a system that divides the different styles of horse jumping into three levels: 1, 2 and 3. Each level is further divided into divisions based on age and experience. This means that there are seven total divisions for each style of jumping in the 1st level – hunt and jumper; six for the 2nd level – eventing, dressage and show hunters/jumpers; six for the 3rd level – eventing, dressage and show hunters/jumpers; five for the 4th level – eventing, dressage and show hunters/jumpers.

There are some differences between these divisions but as you advance through each one your focus will shift towards improving your horse’s athleticism rather than specific movements like collecting or lengthening its stride while jumping. In fact training at this point becomes much more focused on developing proper balance between rider and horse rather than skill building specifically around jumping techniques like piaffe or passage (similar to how ballet dancers practice footwork without worrying about tutus).

Show Jumping

Show Jumping has been around for a long time, but it is definitely the most popular form of horse jumping today. This form of riding was invented in England and today there are three main types:

  • Grand Prix
  • Saut d’Ecole
  • Fences are higher, more technical and they are judged on faults. The course design is more complex and the horses need to be more athletic. It’s almost like an Olympic sport! And just like Olympic athletes have their coaches to train them, show jumping riders have theirs too!

The rider needs to be skilled enough so that he or she can keep their focus even when riding at full speed down a narrow lane towards high fences with little room for error. They also need to be able to make split second decisions as they approach each obstacle while keeping control over their horse all at once! There’s not much room for error here either because if you fail then you’ll end up losing points which could cost you the win!

You may think this sounds intimidating but don’t worry—we’ll go through everything step by step so that even beginners can understand how things work together on course designs as well as how riders come up with strategies beforehand!”

Grand Prix

The Grand Prix is the most advanced level of show jumping competition. This event includes a course of jumps with a height of 1.6 meters (5 feet) and consists of a variety of obstacles and combinations, such as a water jump or oxer, which is two upright poles placed closely together in the shape of an X. The winner is the rider who has completed this course with the fewest penalties.

In addition to being one of the first events at any horse show, it’s also often seen as one last chance for riders to qualify for their country’s Olympic team if they haven’t already done so in earlier rounds or at another major event like World Cup finals held later in summertime (May-July).


Hunter horses are judged on manners, style and way of going in addition to their jumping ability. They jump in a smooth, flowing style, and usually jump fences with a great deal of height and width.

This is the most popular style of horse jumping. Hunter horses have the highest average scores at any given show because they’re judged by many people who are looking at different things than they would be if they were judging one- or two-day eventing competitions where speed is more important than anything else!


Equitation is the style of riding judged on a rider’s form and control of their horse. Riders are required to guide the horse through a course of jumps, making sure not to interfere with the horse’s stride or speed. They must also keep their upper body still, without swaying from side to side or leaning forward too much (which could cause injury).

The judge will be looking at how well you ride in this style — if your position is correct, whether or not you lean forward too much, etc.


The jumper class is a great way to learn how to jump. The courses are designed for beginners, so the fences are low and simple. Judges look at the horse’s jumping form and style over fences, rather than how high they can go or how many strides they can take between jumps.

Jumping classes are a great place to learn the basics of horse jumping, as well as how to ride your horse in order to maximize his performance on each course. These classes typically do not feature cross-country terrain or large jumps because they’re geared toward beginning riders and smaller horses (under 16 hands).

Specialty Classes

Many riders compete in over-fences classes, which are often called “jumping” or “horsemanship” classes. There are several types of over-fences competitions (also known as “O/F”), so let’s take a look at the most common ones:

  • Hunter/Jumpers
  • Working Hunter
  • Equitation (more on this later)

These three categories are separated by the type of fence used at the show. If you’ve seen the movie War Horse, then you know what I’m talking about—there’s everything from stone walls to fences made out of hay bales and logs! The hunter/jumper style is based around a type of fence that’s similar to an equine version of cross country running; it requires speed, power and accuracy. The working hunter style has more obstacles than just jumps; they also include gates and banks to negotiate during competition. The third category is very similar but does not require any rails or poles for jumping over; rather these classes focus entirely upon speed and precision within an arena layout in order to achieve maximum points across all rounds within an event format.”

Horse jumping has many styles and levels, which can be a bit confusing to understand at first.

Horse jumping has many styles and levels, which can be a bit confusing to understand at first. But once you get the basics down, your horse jumping journey will be off to a great start!

There are three main styles of riding: hunters, dressage and cross country. Each style has its own unique challenges and goals—and most riders compete in more than one of these disciplines over the course of their riding careers.

Leave a Reply