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What are the mistakes in Show Jumping?


Show jumping is an exhilarating and dynamic sport that requires high physical demands and mental agility from both the horses and the riders. However, even the most experienced riders can make mistakes, which ultimately can lead to injuries, penalty times, or overall poorer performance. In this article, we'll take a closer look at the most common mistakes in show jumping and provide tips on how to avoid them.

orange and black ReiterWelt butterfly horse jump on a tournament setting

Mistakes in Preparation

Insufficient Practice

One of the main causes of mistakes in show jumping is a lack of practice. Show jumping requires precise timing, coordinated movements, and a deep bond between you and your horse. These skills can't be acquired overnight but instead require regular, focused training. If you don't prepare adequately for a show jumping event, you'll struggle to perform well.

Lack of Coordination

Good coordination between you and your horse is essential for successfully overcoming obstacles. If you and your horse aren't in sync, this can lead to falls, trips, or incorrect jumps. That's why it's so crucial that you and your horse spend lots of time together to enhance your communication and understanding of each other.

Low Self-Confidence

Another common mistake is a lack of self-confidence. An insecure rider can unsettle the horse and cause it to hesitate or refuse to jump an obstacle. Also, insecure riders may tend to make incorrect decisions or mistakes in their technique. Therefore, it's essential to work on your self-confidence and believe in yourself and your abilities.

Overestimating One's Abilities

Some riders tend to overestimate their own abilities. This can lead to attempts to overcome obstacles that they or their horse aren't yet capable of handling. An overzealous rider can jeopardise not only their own safety but also that of their horse. Therefore, it's important to be realistic and always be aware of your own limits and those of your horse.

Underestimating the Horse's Abilities

Conversely, it's also a mistake to underestimate the abilities of the horse. Every horse has its own strengths and weaknesses, and it's essential to recognise and respect these. If you overstrain your horse by urging it to jump more challenging obstacles than it can handle, this will likely result in injuries and poorer performance.

Lack of Communication

Another common mistake is a lack of communication between the rider and the horse. If you and your horse can't communicate effectively, this can confuse or frighten the horse and lead to mistakes. Therefore, it's important always to communicate clearly and consistently with your horse, ensuring it understands your instructions and intentions.

Mistakes During Jumping

Not Using the Right Equipment

The right equipment is essential in show jumping. Ill-fitting saddles, uncomfortable helmets, or poorly padded boots can lead not only to discomfort but also to mistakes and injuries. Ensure all your equipment fits well and is in good condition.

Using Incorrect Technique

Another common mistake is using incorrect or inappropriate techniques. Whether it's the wrong timing for the takeoff, incorrect posture during the jump, or improper use of the legs, a technical mistake can cause the horse to miss or trip over an obstacle. Therefore, it's crucial that you learn and practise the correct jumping techniques to avoid mistakes.

Having the Wrong Mental Attitude

Show jumping is not just physically, but also mentally challenging. The wrong mental attitude can cause you to become nervous, unable to concentrate, or make mistakes. Therefore, it's essential to work on your mental strength and attitude to ensure that you're calm, focused, and confident for each jump.


Mistakes in show jumping can be disheartening, but they're also an opportunity to learn and improve. By avoiding these common mistakes and practising regularly, you can enhance your skills, boost your performance, and ensure that you and your horse are safe and successful with each jump.


What are the most common mistakes in show jumping?

The most common mistakes in show jumping include lack of practice, lack of coordination between rider and horse, overestimating or underestimating one's own or the horse's abilities, lack of communication, using the wrong equipment or technique, and having the wrong mental attitude.

How can I avoid mistakes in show jumping?

You can avoid mistakes in show jumping by regularly practising, establishing good communication and coordination with your horse, accurately assessing your own and your horse's abilities, using the right equipment and technique, and working on your mental attitude.

How can I improve my show jumping skills?

You can improve your show jumping skills by practising regularly, working on your technique, seeking feedback from an experienced coach, working on your self-confidence, and always being open to learning and improving.

How can I prepare my horse for show jumping?

Your horse should be physically fit before show jumping, have a good basic training and be familiar with the fundamentals of show jumping. You should also ensure it's healthy, well-fed, and has the right equipment.

What equipment do I need for show jumping?

The basic equipment for show jumping includes a well-fitting saddle, a bridle, protective boots for your horse, a riding helmet, riding boots, and riding gloves.

What techniques should I pay attention to in show jumping?

The most important techniques in show jumping include the correct timing for takeoff, correct body posture during the jump, and the correct use of legs and hands to steer and balance the horse.

How can I improve my mental attitude for show jumping?

You can improve your mental attitude for show jumping by using stress management techniques, engaging in positive self-talk, setting realistic goals, and developing a positive attitude towards mistakes and setbacks.

How can I train my horse for show jumping?

You can train your horse for show jumping by gradually introducing it to the obstacles and techniques of show jumping. It's important to keep the training positive and stress-free and always praise and reward your horse for its efforts.

How can I protect my horse from injuries in show jumping?

You can protect your horse from injuries in show jumping by ensuring it's in good physical condition, that it's wearing the right equipment, that you check the obstacles and the ground for safety, and that you don't overtax it or impose too difficult obstacles.

How can I improve my safety in show jumping?

You can improve your safety in show jumping by always wearing a helmet and other appropriate protective gear, riding a well-trained and reliable horse, setting realistic goals, and always being conscious and attentive.

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