Jumping is a relatively new equestrian sport which was developed in England as a result of the Inclosure Acts, which came into force in the 18th century. Until then, there had been little need for horses to jump fences routinely, but with this act of Parliament came new challenges for those who followed fox hounds. The Inclosure Acts brought fencing and boundaries to many parts of the country as common ground was dispersed amongst wealthy landowners. This meant that those wishing to pursue their sport now needed horses that were capable of jumping these obstacles.
In the early horse shows held in France, there was a parade of competitors who then took off across country for the jumping. This sport was, however, not popular with spectators since they could not follow to watch the jumping. Thus, it was not long before fences began to appear in an arena for the competitions. This became known as Lepping and it was in 1869 that ‘horse leaping’ came to prominence at the Dublin horse show. Fifteen years later, Lepping competitions were brought to Britain and by 1900 most of the more important shows had Lepping classes.
The first major show jumping competition held in England was at Olympia in 1907. Most of the competitors were members of the military and it became clear at this competition and in the subsequent years, that there was no uniformity of rules for the sport. Judges marked on their own opinions. Some marked according to the severity of the obstacle and others marked according to style. Before 1907 there were no penalties for a refusal and the competitor was sometimes asked to miss the fence to please the spectators. The first courses were built with little imagination, many consisting of only a straight bar fence and a water jump.
The first Nations Cup took place in 1909 and although an early form of show jumping first was incorporated into the Olympic Games in 1900, the Equestrian disciplines of Jumping, Dressage and Eventing were not formally accepted in to the Olympic Games until 1912. Show jumping in its current format has thrived ever since, its recent popularity due in part to its suitability as a spectator sport that is well adapted for viewing on television.
The Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) was formed in 1921 and currently is the world regulatory body for eight equestrian disciplines including Dressage, Driving, Endurance, Eventing, Jumping, Reining, Vaulting and Para-equestrian. In 2015, it has a membership of 132 affiliated National Federations. It establishes the regulations and approves equestrian programmes at Championships, Continental and Regional Games as well as the Olympic & Paralympic Games.
The UAE currently hosts in excess of 30 days of national jumping events and 28 days of International events each year.
The UAE NF Federation promotes equestrianism in all its forms and encourages the development of jumping disciplines throughout the country. Fair play, equality, complicity with the animal and respect for the environment and the horse are the core values of the UAE NF.
In the Jumping sport where men and women compete on equal terms and share the same podium up to and including Olympic level. There is no maximum age limit for competing athletes
At all levels, only the best athlete or team should win fairly and squarely, having competed under rules that are themselves fair, realistic, and applied with scrupulous competence. No result can be meaningful or valid if it has not achieved on a level playing field.
Equestrianism is the only sport that involves two athletes, equine and human. It is the successful partnership between these two elements; the relationship of confidence and respect that is built up between them, that makes the sport so exceptional.