Jumper classes are scored objectively based solely on the horse’s athletic ability over fences as measured by time. A jumper’s only job is to clear all of the fences in the course as quickly as possible without any faults. A horse incurs faults for each mistake made: four faults for each rail knocked down, four faults for every refusal, and 1 fault for every second over the time allowed to negotiate the course. The horse with the least amount of faults and the fastest time wins.
Equitation classes are judged on the rider’s ability, form, and skill to allow the horse to perform at its best, but the horse itself is not judged on form. The types of jumps and elements that make up an equitation course can resemble those used in either hunter or jumper classes, but the judging is subjectively based on the rider’s position, style, proficiency, accuracy, use of the aids, and an overall impression of complete and quiet control.
USEF, USHJA, THJA, DHJSC, IEA
Hunter classes are subjectively judged based on the horse’s performance over fences as well as its quality of movement under saddle on the flat. Show hunters should possess good style over the jumps, consistent pace throughout the course, as well as quiet manners. Hunter rounds should appear smooth and effortless to the spectator with the horse and rider working together to make the course flow from one jump to the next.