Grand Prix is the highest level of show jumping. Run under International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) rules, the horse jumps a course of 10 to 16 obstacles, with heights and spreads of up to 6.5 feet (2.0 m).
Puissance is the high-jump competition in the equestrian sport of show jumping. It consists of a short course of fences, ending in the final puissance wall. After the completion of the course, the horse and rider pairs that went clear move on to the next round, where the puissance is raised.
Six-Bar riders jump six fences set in a straight line. In most places, fences are placed at equal distances apart, the first fence is the lowest and each subsequent fence is higher than the one before. Horses either are penalized or eliminated from competition if they knock down a rail.
Gambler's choice/accumulator is an event where exhibitors choose their own course, with each fence cleared worth a given amount of points based on difficulty. The entry who accumulates the most points within a set time limit on course is the winner.
Calcutta is a jumping event where spectators bet on which horse will win by means of an auction where the highest bidder has the exclusive bet on a given horse. Although the exact mechanism varies by region and culture, as a rule, the spectator who bets on the winner collects all money bet and then splits the purse with the owner of the winning horse.
Maiden, novice, and limit is Jumping classes limited to horses with fewer than one, three, or six wins. Fences are usually lower and time limits more generous.
Match race or double slalom is two identical courses are set up in a split arena, and two horses jump over the courses in a timed competition.
Touch class is a class held much as a normal show jumping class, except that if the horse touches the jump it is considered four faults.
A show jumper must have the scope and courage to jump large fences as well as the athletic ability to handle the sharp turns and bursts of speed necessary to navigate the most difficult courses. Many breeds of horses have been successful show jumpers, and even some grade horses of uncertain breeding have been champions. Ponies also compete in show jumping competitions in many countries, usually in classes limited to youth riders, defined as those under the age of 16 or 18 years, depending on the sanctioning organization. Pony-sized horses may, on occasion, compete in open competition with adult riders.