Getting To Know the DIfferent Types of Horse Jumps

Show jumping courses can have a wide variety of jumps available. Knowing your difficulty level, and which types of jumps are most popular at each level, will help you train for your next show jumping event. Jump obstacles can be elaborately decorated or simple, but most courses are designed to resemble natural elements. Here are some of the different horse jump obstacles you may encounter when you begin to learn this sport.


A vertical jump is one you will probably recognize. It consists of poles placed vertically on top of each other. They look like a simple obstacle, but they can be tricky for any rider to determine how to navigate. Roll top horse jumps use decorative elements near the base and may have wings on each side to help the horse stay centered.


There are two types of water jumps, the liverpool and the open water jump. An open water jump challenges the horse and rider to jump over a wide rectangle pool of water. Instead of jumping for height, the open water jump pushes the horse to jump for width. A liverpool jump also consists of a pool of water, but there will also be a fence involved. The horse will have to clear the water and the rails, which makes this obstacle the one that the horse needs height for.

Triple Bar

Using three jump standards and multiple bar heights, the triple bar, sometimes called the spread jump, is another obstacle that challenges how wide a horse can jump. The first bar is typically the lowest, but one variation, called the hogsback, places the middle bar at the highest height.

Cross Rail

Cross rails are exactly what they sound like, a jump consisting of two poles crossed over each other. This is the first type of jump a rider will learn and is usually seen in training rings and low level horse shows. The lower middle area encourages the horse to jump more readily, which makes it excellent for beginners.


Walls look solid and present a mental challenge more than a physical challenge. Although the actual makeup is lightweight and will fall over easily if touched, it looks like brick or stone, which can be intimidating to some horses.

With so many jumps to practice, you may be excited to head out to the ring. Make sure you know your skill level and confidence with each type of obstacle and have a trainer who will encourage you while pushing you to succeed.

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