Is Show Jumping Your Favourite Equestrian Pursuit?

Are you a budding Show Jumper?

Read on for some fun facts about show jumping. And if you need some lovely new tack and accessories for your next competition, we'll add links to some of our products at the end of the blog. You'll look like absolute winners in the arena even if you don't go home with a rosette!


Origins of Show Jumping

The actual origins of showjumping are a little hazy - but our research has found a couple of theories. One such theory is that it all started in Elizabethan times with large horses and small jockeys competing and scaling obstacles measuring at least 115 cm in height. In gallop. Yes, you read that right. In gallop. That makes this author truly wince. She's amazed if she can approach and clear a jump, and stay onboard at a nice, sedate canter. In truth, she'd rather do it in trot. Over a trotting pole. Oh hey, who is she kidding? She'd rather not do it at all, and go off for a lovely trail ride instead - leaving the scary jumping stuff to you brave people who love it!

But back to the story ... The next theory is that show jumping came into force with the rise of fox hunting in the 18th century in England. Until then, there really hadn't been much need for horses to jump. However, the boundaries and fencing on the land used for hunting required horses that were capable of jumping such obstacles.  

Meanwhile, in early horse shows in France, the competitors would go away across country to jump, after taking part in a parade. This frustrated the spectators because they couldn't see the jumping. So jumping was introduced into arenas so that those spectators could actually, well, spectate! 

Ever heard of "lepping"?

Soon jumping became known as "lepping." Then, in 1869, when jumping appeared at the Dublin Horse show it was known as "horse leaping." Allegedly it then took 15 years to reach Britain, where, still known as "lepping," competitions became popular, and by 1900 most of the more important shows included lepping classes. 

Now ... have you heard of Captain Federico Caprilli? He was an Italian riding instructor who influenced the world of jumping. He advocated that the rider employ a forward position with shorter stirrups. This led to the style of show jumping we recognise today where the rider is in a forward position, up and out of the saddle, whilst clearing the obstacle. This allows the horse to move freely over the jump and keep its balance.

Interestingly, early competitions had little to no rules. However, in 1923 a meeting was arranged, which led to the BSJA (British Show Jumping Association) being formed in 1925. In the United States, the American Horse Shows Association was formed in 1917, which now is known as the United States Equestrian Federation. And we now have rules!

It's really quite something to see a horse and rider working together as one, clearing the jumps with apparent ease. Thus it's a hugely popular sport both for riders and spectators. 

So, if you're inspired, and you think that you need some smart new equipment for your show jumping, then take a look at our Annice +4 Platinum Close Contact saddle. 

This saddle enables a longer leg in jumping position and its soft-touch panels, made with pure soft latex rubber and genuine wool flocking, mould nicely to your horse's back.

To complement the saddle, check out the very smart Stubben velour saddle pad.

And finally, this Hackamore bridle is currently on offer, saving you 25% on the original price.

We hope you've enjoyed this quick, fun history of show jumping and remember, as ever if you have any questions - please just shout as we are here to help. Call our saddle expert at (800) 908-4130, or email us at    

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