General rules for competitive show jumping at Hobbyhorse Slovakia events developed by HOBBYHORSE COMMUNITY


Jumping on hobbyhorses borrows a lot from jumping on real horses. Among other things, the scoring and rating, which comes from the rules of show jumping. Instead of a real animal, there’s a hobbyhorse. Technically, the rider’s jumping abilities are measured, which are for example effort, speed, balance, memory, patience and resistance to pressure.

When riding a hobbyhorse, the skill and sometimes the nature of the hobbyhorse is also taken into account. The jump height is a certain jump level of a hobbyhorse rider. The temperament of the hobbyhorse, according to the rider, can give form to an individual ride. The nature of the hobbyhorse and its characteristics is one of the angles of hobbyhorse racing that makes the sport so popular and unique.

In time trials – the hobbyhorse rider follows a predetermined plan of the course with the aim of achieving a clean (no penalty points) and as fast as possible course. The second option is to achieve the exact net time set for a given track and approach its limit.



The obstacle consists of two parts: the posts and the bar.

The posts are used in pairs and are connected by a contact rod. Alternatively by multiple bars. Obstacles may also contain other elements. For example. numbers, tiles, slabs, water mats. In addition, it is allowed to decorate the obstacles with e.g. flowers and various constructions.

There is no norm for the hurdle ratio. However, when jumping, the rider should have enough room to jump. Narrower hurdles can be used on more difficult courses to increase the difficulty of the course.

The safety of the rider is important and first and foremost. The bars should be light and thin. The recommended materials are as for athletic sports plastic tubes. Metal, wood and other hard unyielding or heavy materials are not recommended due to the possibility of injury. Crest bars are acceptable, but the thicker wooden bars used on real horses should not be used.

Boards that are either positioned in the same way as the bars on the brackets or stand on their own feet must also be safe and should be easily dropped by tapping. Posts should be solid and upright. They should be able to withstand airflow and small impacts. But still, in a proper impact, they should fall so that the rider doesn’t hit them with the full force. For example, when a rider falls. Attention should be paid to the legs of the posts. Too long legs and or insufficient support of the column is a safety hazard.

Multiple materials can be used to make the console. Nails or screws are probably the most popular option, but various metal and wooden brackets are also suitable. The most important thing is that the brackets stay on the post so that it can be worn and that the bar falls off the bracket when the rider touches it. Therefore, the bar must be on top of the bracket and not too deep and tightly fitted. The bar must be able to be released in the direction the rider is pointing his jump. The pole must not fall even in the slightest gust of wind. The brackets of the console should be blunt-ended and not protruding too much. The bar must not sink too deep into the holder (e.g. the hole of the wooden holder must not be too deep) so that it can easily fall out when the rider is hit. All other elements of decoration and differentiation should mainly be safe for the rider in case of a possible fall.

Obstacles can and are recommended to be numbered according to the order of jumps. This makes it easier to learn the course plan and in turn guides the rider to the correct obstacle during the performance as well. The height of the obstacle is measured from the highest point of the centre of the top bar.

In general, the aim is to make the height of the obstacle uniform, e.g. 50 cm, 70 cm, 90 cm, etc. The width of the hurdle is usually the width of the bar and the length of the hurdle is measured by the direction of the jump.

The length of the obstacle e.g. The diameter shall be measured from the outer edge of the first bar to the outer edge of the second bar and from the centre of the bar.



2.1. Vertical obstacles

The most commonly used type of barriers. The posts are placed directly, so that the vertical fence does not have a limited height. It consists of a pair of posts and a bar or several bars.

2.2. Long obstacles

The long obstacles as the name implies are spaced out into distances of several parts. There are several obstacles in the direction of travel. Their length should not exceed their height. For example. An oxer is an extended fence with two consecutive parts, i.e. two pairs of posts with poles. The front must always be higher than the rear. Either the uprights are the same height or the rear of the uprights is lower. Triple longitudinal barrier with three consecutive parts. The first part should be the lowest. Towards the rear it should rise. The two rear obstacles may also be of the same height.

2.3. The Wall

A solid camouflaged fence or barrier, for example, decorated like a brick wall. The height in the middle must be lower than at the edges. For example, you can use cardboard for the construction. The wall also has a small length.

2.4. The moat

It is an obstacle with a water surface, or a water mat. For example, it is a vertical barrier and can be made of a carpet or a tank filled with water. However, it should be less than 30cm high. The obstacle is not part of the course and so penalty points are incurred for stepping in the water, tipping over a tank, or stepping on the carpet.

2.5. Individual obstacles and their combinations

A simple obstacle that is overcome in one jump. The combination consists of two or three simple obstacles. The distance between obstacles is not standardized for hobbyhorsing. But it has to be up to three adult steps. In some cases, in jumping classes, fences may or must be ridden on a course marked with both numbers and letters where there are more than one course and these are marked with a letter. And so the hurdle is then jumped multiple times. Then 5a is marked first and 5b, 5c then sequentially according to the order of the letters, the paths of the combinations of jumps are jumped. The combination must be jumped in its entirety, so missing an obstacle means the rider has to repeat the whole course again.



When building and designing a full course plan, there are freer hands for real horses. Obstacle spacing distances or types of obstacles are not standardized. Therefore, there are only recommendations. This gives the runway planner creative freedom to design the runway to the exact space where it will be run. Different barriers can be used more freely. However, the safety of the riders always comes first.

3.1. Arena size

The recommended size of the arena is approximately 10 x 20 m. Qualified jumps can be built to smaller dimensions. However, the larger pitch allows for longer fence distances, which also puts a premium on speed. It is not necessary to delineate the runway, but it is recommended to mark the outer edges of the arena completely. That no one enters the runway during the rider’s performance. It is recommended to mark entrances and exits at the edges of the arena. In the hurdles qualification we recommend a minimum field size of 7x10m.

3.2. Track plan and competition course

A course plan must be submitted to the competitors prior to the start of the class. At the latest when familiarising yourself with the pitch. The course plan shall include, at a minimum, the location and order of jumps on the fences, the start and finish line, the direction of the fences, arrows or numbering on the side, in the direction of the jump, and any dangerous shortcuts that will be blocked. Obstacles should be drawn in such a way that it is obvious what the obstacle is. For example, a vertical obstacle can be a straight line, an oxer two lines with one number, a special obstacle rectangle, etc. The track plan can be marked with decorations, recommended driving routes and obstacle approaches and a more accurate look of the whole track. If changes are made to the course, competitors must be instructed and familiar with the course and mark the changes on the course plan, or make a completely new course layout.

On the track plan, the maximum time and method of judging may be stated, but it may also be stated otherwise. Obstacles are numbered separately in the course plan, starting with obstacle No.1, which is jumped first. Combinations are numbered with the same number and letter if the first part is e.g. 5a, the second 5b and the third 5c. The height of obstacles shall not exceed the height indicated on the course plan or elsewhere. Individual obstacles may be lower than the specified height without any obligation to inform competitors, but if several obstacles are 5cm lower than the specified height of the parkrun course, competitors must be informed in good time. In this case, the height can be marked, for example, 40-50cm.

Once a course is designed and a show jumping course is built, it’s a good idea to try it out. The test rider does not have to be a competitor, otherwise all competitors must have access to a test ride on the track. The height of the obstacles can be lowered during the test drive. The most important thing is to make sure that distances are reasonable, approaches are possible, and riding lanes between obstacles are free of restrictions (decorations that cause accidents).

Obstacles should be marked with numbers and letters. Especially on long runs. On shorter courses (e.g. six jumps), numbering is only a recommendation. In addition to numbering, fences may be marked with flags or tiles with white on the left and red on the right. These flags indicate the direction of the jump and the width of the fence. You can also determine the direction of the jump by placing a number on the side from which you are jumping over the obstacle. No penalty points will be awarded for knocking over or moving obstacle markers during a ride. For example, if the flag falls from the pole when the rider knocks the pole, penalty points are only incurred from the fall. Similarly, moving other decorations off the track is not assessed a penalty point. In general, however, such elements should be avoided on the track and in the pens. Only if it is said that the ornament constitutes a separate element of the obstacle course and its passage violates the show jumping course. If the outer edges of the arena are marked by an element (e.g. a pole or fence), crossing, moving or tipping them will be assessed as a penalty. It is considered to be a derailment from the show jumping track. No one other than competitors, staff and the referee shall leave or enter the course during the performance. The organiser is responsible for the construction and maintenance of the track during and between competitions. Lifts poles and fallen elements and sets and moves obstacles. Sometimes it is the same person who can measure time, make decisions and organize. Timekeepers, judges should stay off the course and out of the way of competitors.

The course may start at the start line and end at the finish line. It can also start when the rider jumps the first fence and finishes at the last fence. The referee has the right to choose the start and end of the entire parkrun course. Competitors must be informed of this procedure.

3.3. Signals

The referee may give signals. Sound signals can be used to indicate the start and end of the track. And they can also be used to attract the attention of competitors. However, speech is often used in hobby competitions because the distances are not so great that a voice cannot be heard. Therefore, the start and end of the track is often controlled by a countdown. However, it is recommended that a signal is used to issue the output signal.

On one signal, which can be for example a bell or a whistle, the rider has 45 seconds to start the track, i.e. j. to cross the start line or to reach the first obstacle from which the performance is judged.

It is also recommended to signal the deactivation with two signals (e.g. two whistles). During the run, a single beep will be used in situations where the rider needs to be stopped. Such situations exist, e.g. breaking the fence without the competitor being present. If the timekeeper is accurate and knows how to stop the time at that point, performance can be resumed with a single beep when the situation is rectified and the timekeeper resumes. The same procedure is followed if the obstacle falls or moves when the rider refuses to jump.



The organisation of the competition shall consist of at least a referee, a timekeeper and a staff member. There may be more than one if possible, or one person may perform more than one task. For example, a timekeeper can also be a track staff, lifting fallen bars between performances. In addition, staff may include, for example. announcer, secretary, training circle leader and other actors. The most important thing is to make it clear to each member of staff what their role is. The minimum number in each category is two people to ensure fairness in, for example, contentious situations.



5.1. Rider

Unless otherwise stated, there are no requirements for the rider’s clothing. However, it is necessary to have shock-absorbing footwear and sports clothing when jumping. Mandatory non-slip shoes with white soles at the championship event in the case of sports hall. A variety of aids may be used, but it is recommended that only those aids for which a doctor, physiotherapist or other professional has made an assessment are used.

5.2. Hobbyhorse

Hobbyhorse should at least have a bridle unless otherwise specified. Auxiliary aids handlebars, chest straps and pads are allowed when jumping. Exceptions to the gear rules must be reported. Safety equipment used on real horses, such as a helmet or safety vest, is not mandatory, provides additional safety when riding, but can be a hindrance to the actual performance of hobbyhorsing and is therefore not recommended. Improper equipment may lead to the rider being disqualified. Hobbyhorse numbers will only be accepted if they have been prescribed by the organiser. Otherwise, they can cause confusion. The equipment shall be presented to the referee if requested.



For jumps, the A.2.0 evaluation method is most commonly used. At the Hobbyhorse Championship Slovakia will be judged according to A.2.0. The method of judging must be stated in the invitation to compete in each class.


6.1. Method A

Assessment method A = based on penalty points


A.0 – those who have completed the course and/or jump without penalty points are equal.

Time doesn’t matter, so those who ride without penalty points will be rewarded.

A.0.0 Without jump-off

A.0.1 one jump-off – shoot-off – all can go one more time, so those who ride without penalty points, time does not matter


A.1 – those who have received the same number of penalty points on the track and/or in the jump-off are equal, that is, those who, for example, have all dropped the same one obstacle, /or two, three.

A.1.0 No jump-off – shootout

A.1.1 One jump-off – shoot-out


A.2 Those who have earned the same number of penalty points on the track and/or jump-off shootout will be placed based on the times achieved in the case of equal points

A.2.0 No jump-off – shootout

A.2.1 One jump-off – shoot-out


6.2. Jump-off – shoot-off of riders

If a jump-off – shoot-off is indicated in the method of evaluation, then the jump-off – shoot-off must be performed either immediately after the course or when all riders have completed the course. Jump-off – the jump-off is conducted according to the same rules as on the track.


6.3. Penalty points:

  • first disobedience – 4 penalty points
  • second disobedience – expulsion
  • throwing down the pole – 4 penalty points
  • disobedience so that the bar falls – 4 penalty points
  • If the hobbyhorse pole slips completely out from between the legs exclusion
  • Trotting/running – around the track – canter required – exclusion
  • Start before the referee’s mark exclusion
  • Exceeding the maximum time on the track, 1 penalty point for every 4 seconds over the time
  • Exceeding the max. time in jump-off – shootout, 1 penalty point for each second
  • Maximum time exceeded twice – exclusion
  • second time if you don’t have your hands on the reins – exclusion
  • if you have no hands on the reins at all – exclusion
  • in case of a fall with injury – exclusion
  • if the order of the obstacles is not followed the rider takes a shortcut – elimination
  • if the horse’s head flies off the stick and possibly fails to comply with the prescribed rules – exclusion
  • when destroying obstacles and moving obstacles – exclusion
  • when preventing another competitor from competing – elimination
  • if placed in the wrong category according to the age of the competitor – exclusion
  • failure to obey the referee and the organizer on termination – exclusion
  • when the competitor is called to start after the second call – exclusion

The rules apply only to the jumps on the runway and to the jumps in the dismount. Style classes and other special classes will have their own rules or existing rules and policies will apply.

Hobbyhorse Slovakia reserves the right to modify the evaluation according to the requirements and rules setting for the competition separately.


Update: April 2023