Show Jump Types – Why So Many Fences & Obstacles?

Showjump Fence Types are many and varied

The different types of show jump fences and obstacles that make up a course of showjumps.

There are, it appears, a great many show jump fences at the various show jumping events and courses.

But, as you will discover that there are only a few basic show jump types.

A triple, for instance, is simply a combination of three verticals.

First visually remove the decorative planting, the fancy fillers and any other decoration

Then you will find that most professional course builders produce their show jump courses using most, if not all, of the standard show jump types.

A few examples of the more common show jump types …

Showjumping - the different show jump types - The Vertical
The Vertical

A showjump fence that consists of poles directly above each other with no spread or width, to jump.

this is probably the most common of all the showjump types and the type that showjumpers will have to get over most often.

Show jump types - The Wall
The Wall

This type of showjump is usually made to look like a brick wall, however the "bricks" are constructed of a lightweight material and fall easily when knocked by the horse.

The Puissance wall, particularly at the Horse of the Year Show, is probably the most famous showjump wall.

Showjumping - the different show jump types - The Oxer
The Oxer or Spread

Basically the oxer show jump has two verticals placed reasonably close together to make the jump wider.

Oxers are show jump types that are commonly referred to as a spread.

  • Square Oxer : Both top poles are of an equal height.
  • Ascending Oxer : The furthest pole is higher than the first
  • Descending Oxer : The furthest pole is lower than the closest.
  • Swedish Oxer : The poles slant in opposite directions, so that they appear to form an "X" shape when seen head on.

Show jump types - The Triple Bar
Triple Bar –

One of the more challenging show jump types. The triple bar has three poles placed across to produce a wide spread or oxer.

Showjump types - The Hogs Back
Hog’s Back

The hogs back is a tricky show jump type, where the poles are placed unevenly. The highest pole being placed in the centre.

Show jump types - A triple combination

Any number of jumps in a row, with a certain number of strides in between.

Show jump types - The Fan

The rails on one side of the fence are spread out by standards, making the fence take the shape of a fan when viewed from above.

Show jump types - Open water
Open water

A wide ditch of water. The water can be open or have a jump at the entrance or exit. The water can be up to

Showjump types - A filler with horse head motifs

This isn’t really a type of fence but makes up a solid part below the poles, such as flower boxes or a roll-top. The image shows a filler with horse head motifs. It can also be a gate.

Showjump types - Open water

A Liverpool show jump is simply a ditch of water placed under a vertical or an oxer.

Showjumping Fences & Obstacles - hdr
So as you can see, any course designer can assemble a course of show jumps by mixing in the basic show jump types and counting the stride distances.

In order to ensure your horse can deal with every type of show jump you should build a practice course that includes a large variety of fences & obstacles, then school your horse over them regularly.