In show jumping, the horse and rider jump over series of obstacles that vary in height and width, and often include an open-water jump. Penalties are incurred for knocking down rails (four faults for each obstacle), for exceeding the time limit (one fault for each second over) or for refusals (four faults). The rider is disqualified if the horse does not jump on the second attempt.
The rules that govern the jumping competition have changed over the years; the course design has become more technical and the obstacles have been raised in height. One thing has not changed over the years however: the rider.
As with all three equestrian disciplines on the Olympic program, the competition features both individual and team events, and men and women compete against each other on equal terms. Held in an arena around a short course containing 12-14 fences, the event requires huge reserves of boldness, accuracy and strong nerves – from both the riders and their horses.
There are a total of five rounds in the Jumping competition. Two of these rounds are used to determine the placings in the team event, with all five rounds playing a part in the individual event. If two or more rider/horse combinations are tied for medal places after the fifth and final round of the Individual event, there will be a jump-off to break the tie.