Equestrian jumping puts the horse to a true test of agility and reaction skills. The sport consists of a combination of the two skills as the rider and horse will lose points if an obstacle is knocked over on the course. On an average course at a show, there are typically 10 to 15 fences on the course. The terrain and fence features on a course are dependent on the level of equestrian jumping.
Around the 1800s, a handful of common lands were subjected to property rights law and as a result, more fences were put up to signify ownership of certain land. Fox hunters, who had rarely run into this issue beforehand, ran into a dilemma. These hunters did not find issue with seeking permission to hunt on owned land because many property owners granted access to their land for hunting. However, fox hunters had major difficulty in getting their horses over the property fences. At this time the hunters had to start analyzing a horse's jumping ability when considering the ones they wanted to use. In the beginning, the technique used by riders consisted of them leaning far back into the saddle while their feet were by the horse's shoulders. In the same motion, the rider would also use the reins and tug back. The jumps back then were dangerous and ungraceful. Nonetheless, the riders and horses were able to get over fences.
The jumping aspect of fox hunting eventually turned into equestrian jumping, also known as show jumping. Equestrian jumping is a sport in which the rider and horse jump over obstacles, much like fences, on a course. An audience is also present.
As the 1800s continued on, equestrian jumping became more and more popular and eventually revolutionized in the late 1800s. An officer in the Italian cavalry, Frederico Caprilli, is known as the "Father of Modern Riding." Rather than the technique used by fox hunters, which was quite uncomfortable, Caprilli developed a new technique for equestrian jumping, the "forward seat" position. This new technique is commonly used.
In the early 1900s, equestrian jumping essentially consisted of military members at the Olympic games. As time went on, there was a decrease in the heavy presence of the military. Women made their first debut of equestrian jumping at the 1956 Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden. Although the presence and success of women in this sport were not prominent at first, women often gain the top medals now.