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Show jumping is a fast-paced, exciting and unpredictable sport. Horse and rider are pitted against a series of jumps that they have to clear in a set amount of time. Tensions run high when poles are clipped, horses misbehave, and riders complete clear rounds and must compete against the clock. Placing a show jumping bet can be an exhilarating experience because you never know quite what’s going to happen.

Equestrian sports and betting are two activities that naturally go hand in hand. When you bet on an equestrian sport, your expertise will be tested in knowing how to select the best horse and rider, but the results can be unpredictable. Sometimes the underdog ends up coming up tops against unbelievable odds, bringing a huge cash reward to those who are prepared to take a risk with their bets. Placing a show jumping bet is never going to be a dull experience. Check out the links above and discover show jumping betting online. The above links also give you the opportunity to access free show jumping bets online.

Show jumping has a rich history, and plenty of quirky rules and formalities that are unique to the sport, and can vary from region to region. If you plan on being a show jumping spectator, or placing a show jumping bet, then it’s a good idea to get to grips with some of the main aspects of the sport. Knowing the history of show jumping, the main competitions to look out for, and the types of horse that are most adept at the sport, means that you’ll have a better understanding of what’s going on, and which show jumping bet is more likely to be successful.

A brief history of show jumping

Compared to other equestrian sports such as horse racing and polo, show jumping is actually quite new in the world of horseback sports.

It was not until countries across Europe and beyond began to introduce inclosure acts – rules that stated that common land in the countryside needed to be fenced and privately divided – that jumping on horseback became necessary. When it became more common to raise fences and walls across the countryside, riders would often need to jump their horses in order to take the quickest route. This would be especially important in activities that required great speed on horseback, such as fox hunting.

As the need to train horses to jump became more prevalent, competitions to test the jumping ability of horses also grew. The earliest horse jumping shows began in France, where competitors were sent out on a course of natural jumps, spread out over a stretch of rural land. This proved to be an unpopular spectator sport, as it was difficult for a non-competing person to watch the progress of the competition over so great a distance. The first arena-based competition for jumping was referred to as Lepping, which began to grow in popularity from the time of its first appearance at the Dublin Horse Show in 1869.

When show jumping first began, it mainly attracted cavalry members of the military. There was little regulation on the rules of show jumping competitions, so they could vary greatly from competition to competition, often depending of the whim of the judges. The courses were generally simple constructions, with the horse and rider asked to clear only one or two jumps on a loop. Until 1907, there were no penalties for a horse refusing or missing a jump, and the competition was judged purely on speed and being able to clear the jumps.

Show jumping as we know it now began to take shape in the early 20th century. Show jumping is now extremely popular with spectators, attracting large audiences both in person and via television and internet broadcasts. Show jumping is also popular with betting audiences, and many choose to place a show jumping bet online or in person, and take a flutter on this energetic and unpredictable sport. Click on the links at the top of this page to try out the exciting experience that is betting on show jumping online.

Modern rules of showing

Although show jumping rules can vary between regions, there is a main international governing body for show jumping that aims to keep some consistency between show jumping competitions. This federation is known as the Fédération Équestre Internationale.

The two most common types of penalties are time penalties and jumping penalties. There are other penalties that can be incurred, but they are more unusual, or exist only for certain types of show jumping competition. In a show jumping competition, a rider’s main goal for a high score is to complete the course in the best time possible, and avoid incurring any jumping penalties.

Jumping penalties are given for refusals and knockdowns. A refusal is when the horse stops before a jump or dodges a jump. When a horse refuses a jump, the rider receives four penalty points. If the horse refuses the jump more than twice, it is eliminated from the competition, although in some countries and levels of competition a rider will not be eliminated unless the jump has been refused three times. If the horse’s refusal damages the jump in some way, the rider will have to take not just the refusal penalty points, but a time penalty, according to how long it takes to repair the jump.

A knockdown is when the horse and rider knock down one of a jump’s poles. The number of penalties received for the knockdown will depend on how badly the pole is knocked. If the horse knocks down a pole at the top or middle of the jump, and the knockdown does not affect the height or width of the jump, then no penalties will be charged.

Time penalties are incurred by a horse and rider going over what is considered to be the optimum time. When the course has been set, and before the competition is finished, the judges will decide on the fastest reasonable time a horse and rider could be expected to complete a course. If a horse and rider begin to go over this time, they acquire time penalty points. The general rule for time penalties is one penalty per second above the optimum time. A rider who completes a course with an optimum time of 1 minute 20 seconds in 1 minute 22 seconds will, therefore, be penalised two time penalties.

The tricky rules that surround show jumping competitions makes placing a show jumping bet an exciting business, as a tiny error, such as a knockdown, can change the course of the competition. Placing a bet on a show jumping competition is all about betting on the unpredictable, and sometimes these things can pay off against the odds and leave you winning big.

It may take you a while to learn the rules of the show jumping world, but browse the internet for betting deals and you may be able to make a free show jumping bet on a reputable betting website, a great way to start out in this exciting sport. The links at the top of this page are a great place to start with betting on show jumping. Click on our affiliated sites to enter the exciting world of betting on show jumping online.

Famous show jumping competitions

  • One of the most famous show jumping competitions is the Olympia Horse Show, a prestigious event which runs once a year at the Olympia Exhibition Centre in Hammersmith, West London. The Olympia Horse Show has been going for well over 100 years, and attracts some of the top names in show jumping, such as Tim Stockdale, Ben Maher and Ellen Whitaker.
  • The annual Horse of the Year show is another renowned show jumping competition that attracts the top international names. It is held at the challenging Andrews Bowen International Arena. The two main show jumping classes at the Horse of the Year show are the Puissance class and the Leading Show Jumper of the Year class, while the Leading Pony Show Jumper of the Year class presents some of the greatest show jumping talent in international under 16 riders.
  • Show jumping also features in the Olympics, and has done so since 1900. The Olympics attracts the best in show jumping talent worldwide, and is a wildly exciting event to watch. Horse and rider are tested over gruellingly difficult courses, and competition is steep. Even a perfect clear round is unlikely to see a rider being close to winning – a clear round at the fastest speed is necessary.
  • The FEI World Equestrian Games hosts arguably the most important show jumping competition internationally. The FEI World Equestrian Games are held once every four years. The games take place in a different country each time, with the last edition featuring 57 countries and hundreds of different horses and riders. The FEI World Equestrian Games is a fantastic event for show jumping betting, as there are so many different horse and rider competitions to choose from. The competition is guaranteed to give you an adrenaline rush, whether you’ve chosen to place a show jumping bet or not.

Famous show jumping horses

There are a lot of factors that make a horse great at show jumping. The competition tests a horse on its speed, its agility and its strength. But beyond these physical attributes, show jumping is also a great test of a horse’s courage, heart and connection to their rider. It takes bravery and not just skill for a horse to hurl itself across a show jumping course with confidence, and because of this, it’s not always easy to mark out a winner based on physical attributes alone. The history of show jumping has thrown up some surprising champions and much loved horses.

  • One of the most famous – and most loved – British show jumping horses was Marius Silver Jubilee, better know as Milton. Milton was ridden by John Whitaker, a British rider of international acclaim. Together, the pair went on to win a gold medal at the 1990 and 1991 European FEI Championships in Rotterdam and Gothenburg. Milton, a 16.2 hands high, grey, Dutch warmblood gelding, was the first horse (outside of the racing stables) to exceed over one million pounds in winnings.
  • One surprising champion in show jumping history was a pony called Stroller. Stroller was only 14.1 hands high. He was a cross between a thoroughbred and a Connemara pony. Despite his diminutive height, he went on to win a silver medal at the 1968 Olympics, and was the smallest horse to win the Hickstead Derby. Stroller lived to be a grand old 36 years in age, and after his death was buried at his owner’s local golf club. This fantastic pony was inducted into the British Horse Society Hall of Fame in the early 1980s.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, an enormous horse in the show jumping world was Big Ben, a 17.3 hands high Belgian warmblood horse. Big Ben was born in Belgium in 1979, and went on to win more than 40 Grand Prix titles with his rider, Ian Miller.

Betting on show jumping

Placing a wager on a chosen horse and rider has always been an integral part of the show jumping spectator experience, and it’s something that’s becoming easier and easier to do. With the development of television broadcasting and internet gambling sites, you no longer need exclusive tickets, or to leave the comfort of your own home to be part of the show jumping experience. There are plenty of ways you can bet on show jumping, including choosing to do show jumping betting online. The links at the top of this page are a great place to start, check out the sites above to make your first step into the exciting world of betting on show jumping.