Jumping, also called show jumping or stadium jumping, is one of the simplest equine sports to understand: the horse that jumps the obstacles the fastest without knocking any down is the winner. The horses will jump over a complicated course of 10 to 16 obstacles, which tests both horse and rider for technical accuracy. Obstacles can be up to 5 feet tall and 6 feet wide. The courses will offer many choices and changes of direction.
H ow it ' s s c ored
Competitors incur penalties for exceeding the time allowed to complete the course, and for knocking down obstacles or refusing to jump them. The winner is the competitor who finishes with the fewest penalties.
W h at to watch
There are three penalties for which a competitor may be eliminated from the competition: a fall by the horse or rider, a second refusal to clear an obstacle, and failure to cross the starting line within 45 seconds after the clock is started.
The individual jumping competition is unique in that the field is narrowed down over four rounds and several days until only the top four riders remain. On the final night — the Rolex Top Four — all the riders compete on their own horses, and then swap and ride everyone else's, too.
Spectat o r etiquette
Spectators should wait until the end of the rider's round to cheer.
■ If a horse or rider knocks down a bottom or middle rail while still clearing the overall height of the obstacle, they are not penalized.
■ A horse and rider who have not accumulated any jumping faults or penalty points are said to have scored a "clear round."
■ A grand prix-level horse of the type used in jumping at the World Equestrian Games or the Olympics can be of any breed or combination of breeds, and some have been sold for as much as $1 million.
■ American riders who might be competing include Beezie Madden, a veteran of previous World Games and Olympics, and McLain Ward on his champion mare, Sapphire, who have won many of the top show-jumping awards around the world.
Countries competing (based on preliminary nominations): 32 countries have jumping teams; 10 countries will be represented by individuals.
Individuals competing: 201 athletes have been nominated to compete in jumping, the most of any of the eight disciplines.
Awards: Medals and trophies will be presented to the top teams and individuals.
LINDA b. BLACKFORD, email@example.com
Speed competition, part 1, 10 a.m.
Speed competition, part 2, 2:30 p.m.
Team competition, part 1, 10 a.m.
Team competition, part 2, 2:30 p.m.
Team competition, finals, 7 p.m.
Individual competition, parts 1 and 2, 5:30 p.m.
The Rolex Top Four, 8 p.m.