Hunter Competition

Elegance. Style. Rhythm. Origins in fox hunting.

Hunter competition is judged subjectively by two judges, who look at the horse’s jumping style, movement and relaxed effort over natural fences designed to replicate the walls and timber of fox hunting. Hunter divisions are categorized by rider age, horse age and jump height. Hunter classes at WIHS are held for children, junior, amateur-owner and professional riders. Each round is scored with points being deducted for rubbing or knocking down a fence, spooking, poor jumping form and other faults. Horses are eliminated if they refuse a jump twice, go off course or the rider falls off.

Hunters compete in three class, two jumping and one hack class (ridden at a walk, trot and canter). The top two horses with the best cumulative scores are named champion and reserved champion.

Jumper Competition

Jumps are high and wide. Accuracy and speed matter. An Olympic sport.

Jumper competition is judged objectively with the horse and rider with fewest faults and fastest time named the winner. A course designer builds a challenging course of fences to be jumped in a specific order (for most classes) and sets a time allowed. The height of fences is measured in meters and indicated in parentheses following the class name, for example, $136,300 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Washington for the President's Cup (1.60m)

Jumper classes at WIHS are held for junior, amateur-owner and international riders. Faults or penalties are assessed as follows: knockdown, 4 faults; first refusal, 4 faults; second refusal, elimination; fall of horse or rider, elimination; off course, elimination; time faults: any time a horse and rider exceed time allowed, 1 fault for each 4 seconds over.

A jump-off occurs when two or more entries have equal faults after the first round and a tie for first must be broken. Riders will ride jump-off, a shortened course against the clock. The winner is the entry with the fewest faults in the fastest time.

The Puissance high jump competition, derived from the French term for power, is a test of strength and boldness. WIHS is one of the few shows in the US to offer this class. The North American indoor record to beat is 7’ 7-1/2” set at Washington in 1983.


Equitation refers to a rider's position and ability to ride correctly and with effective aids.

In horse show equitation competition, it’s the rider rather than the horse that is evaluated. Judging criteria covers the rider's performance and control of the horse, use of riding aids, proper attire, correct form, and usually factors in rider poise, the cleanliness and polish of the horse as well as rider and equipment. A good equitation rider is always in balance with the horse, maintains a correct position in every gait, movement or over a fence, and possesses a commanding, but relaxed, presence, able to direct the horse with nearly invisible aids.

The Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Finals takes place in three phases--hunter, jumper and a work-off with the top four riders exchanging horses. WIHS Pony Equitation Finals (Sunday) takes place in one round.


Barn Night – Thursday, Oct. 24

Barn Night presented by Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund is a fan favorite at WIHS. Young riders, barn groups, and horse lovers attend in groups and participate in fun contests to win great prizes for their group. The evening includes the International Jumping Accumulator Costume class, WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase presented by Charles Owen, tee-shirt toss, autograph signing, Barn Night Trick or Treat presented by Snickers™ and more!

Groups intending to enter contests must complete an application form in advance. Email for details. For groups of 10 or more, call Capital One Arena Group Sales at 202-661-5061 for ticket discount.

The Buck Breast Cancer Benefit takes place in the new Stella Lounge VIP Club located on the concourse to support Capital Breast Care Center. Separate ticket includes food, open bar, and arena ticket.

Military Night – Friday, Oct. 25

WIHS Military Night presented by Caterpillar Inc. is about power and speed with competition and exhibitions honoring the U.S. Armed Forces. Competition includes the Land Rover Puissance high jump, the International Jumper Speed Final, and the Jump for TAPS Challenge, raising funds for the mission of Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), the official WIHS Military Charity. The Mounted Color Guard, the Klinger Award for Honor and Service, and military-themed exhibitions round out an exciting evening.

The Armed Forces Reception, with buffet dinner and open bar, takes place in the new Stella Lounge VIP Club located on the concourse to benefit TAPS. Separate ticket includes food, open bar, and arena ticket.

President's Cup Night – Saturday, Oct. 26

President's Cup Night is packed with exciting competition and entertaining exhibitions. The $136,300 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Washington presented by Events DC, for the President’s Cup, is the highlight of the week with the biggest jumps, most challenging course and the largest purse. The Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Finals will determine the best of the best junior rider. And the exciting WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase Championship Series presented by Charles Owen is sure to entertain everyone, young or old.

The President’s Cup Party in the new Stella Lounge VIP Club located on the concourse will benefit the USET Foundation Olympic athlete program. Separate ticket includes food, open bar, and arena ticket.