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Competitors tackle a numbered cross-country course, some of which is timed. The competitor with the least number of penalties and closest to the optimum time is the winner.

Penalties for all competitions

Jumping Penalties

First refusal, circle or run-out at an obstacle                                                       20 Penalties

Second refusal, circle or run-out at the same obstacle                                  40 Penalties

Third refusal, circle or run-out at the same obstacle                                       Elimination

Jumping the alternative "L" obstacle                                                                         15 Penalties

Other Penalties

Departing the holding pen too early or too late                       1 point for every second under or over the                                                                                                                                      allowed time

Fall of horse or rider anywhere on course                                     Elimination

Error on course                                                                                               Elimination

Dangerous riding                                                                                          15 Penalties

Time Faults

Time above or below the optimum time                                       Zero point four (0.4)  penalty per second

                                                                                                                                 above or below the optimum time


Exceeding the time limit (double the optimum time)            Elimination

Pairs Class 


Dressing fences must be jumped side-by-side.

Any more distance will be penalised at the discretion of the fence judge.


The dress fence will be clearly marked on the course plan.


If both horses jump and are in the air at the same time                 0 Penalties

If there is a small difference between each take off                        2 Penalties

If they are not in the air at the same time                                               5 Penalties

How do I get elimitated?

  • You refuse / run out / circle the same obstacle three times

  • You miss a jump

  • Error on course not rectified

  • Jumping an obstacle in the wrong direction

  • Failure to comply with the rules

  • Disrespect for any duly appointed official

  • Dangerous riding

  • Unseemly behavior

  • Competing with improper saddlery/equipment

  • Bad language

  • Misuse of the whip or spur

  • Ill treatment of a horse

  • Exceeding the time limit in the timed section of the course

  • Lame, unfit or exhausted horse

  • Wearing a stopwatch

Refusals / Run outs / Circles


A horse is considered to have refused if it stops in front of the obstacle or element to be jumped and then steps back. After a refusal, if the competitor attempts the obstacle again, still without success, or if the horse is re-presented at the obstacle after stepping back and stops or steps back again, this is a second refusal and incurs further penalties. A third refusal incurs elimination.


At obstacles a stop, followed immediately by a standing jump is not penalised, unless the stop is sustained or in any way prolonged. Stepping back, even one foot, is considered a refusal.


The only exceptions to this are:

At a gate obstacle. It is recognized that the horse and rider need to take a step back in order to open the gate. Penalties will be awarded for prolonged hesitation or the inability to open the gate within the given time permitted.

When a holding pen is used on course, the aim is to enter the pen, wait 5 seconds then continue on course.



A horse is considered to have run out if having been presented at an obstacle it avoids that obstacle in such a way that it has to be represented.



A horse is considered to have circled if it crosses its original track, from whichever direction, while negotiating or attempting to negotiate the obstacle, or any part thereof. If a horse completes a circle while being re-presented at the obstacle after a refusal or a run-out, it is penalised only for the refusal or run-out but not for both.


Gaps Between Riders

There will only ever be 2 horses on course at any one time.

It is very unlikely that one rider will catch another. If it does happen it is okay to pass another horse but only do so in open country and do it safely and not near a jump.


If another horse has blocked your path and you feel unduly hindered please make your case to the judges and a decision will be made. The jump judge should clear the course, however if you feel in danger of being impeded, please call out ahead to 'CLEAR THE COURSE'!!

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