Please note, the judging sheet for Level 2 had a mistake in it. The updated sheet is on the right hand side.


An image of the RDA logo with the word 'Showjumping. There are two pictures of riders jumping.

RDA Showjumping offers an exciting and fulfilling challenge to our riders, as more and more Groups are assessed to be able to deliver Showjumping sessions.

All Groups (even those who do not wish to take part in RDA Showjumping) can continue to use poles on the ground, for flatwork/poles work exercises, in their RDA sessions.

However, Level 1 Showjumping has been introduced as the transition from pole work, setting RDA riders on the Showjumping Pathway. The rider is coached to ride a set course of poles, concentrating on refining their light seat position in preparation for jumping over raised poles in the jumping position at Level 2 and beyond.

It’s rewarding and fun!

The Showjumping Pathway also offers RDA riders the valuable opportunity to take part in RDA Showjumping Competitions and the RDA Showjumping Proficiency Tests. RDA Coaches can benefit from further developing their coaching skills and allows them to gain their RDA Showjumping Coaching award.

What do RDA Groups and RDA Coaches need to do to get started?

Being assessed can often be just a simple formality, with the Showjumping Assessor visiting the Group at a convenient time and observing a session; checking the venue and equipment, horses or ponies and assessing coaches’ and leaders’ techniques to ensure that everything is in place, and that RDA procedures are being followed safely.

SJ Group Venue Assessment Form



Showjumping Coaching Session Plans

Please see the Level 1, 2 and 3 Showjumping coach session below to help guide you during your sessions. We recommend you read them and create a session plan from the resources.

Level 1 Session Plan

Level 2 Session Plan

Level 3 Session Plan


Please contact your Regional Showjumping Representative, Showjumping Assessor, or the Coaching Team at National Office, for further details if the FAQs below do not answer your question.

  1. Can I do L1 Showjumping without an assessment?

 A formal assessment is not required to coach level 1 Showjumping. It is recommended that coaches have either attended a National/Regional Showjumping training day themselves or work through the contents of the Level 1 informal assessment (on the website) with a mentor/coach who has attended national/Regional Showjumping training before delivering any L1 showjumping sessions; this includes going over poles on the ground in light seat. (Zoom training is also acceptable.) Some Regional Coaches also include a basic introduction to L1 SJ in the pre course module. Coaches must have read the Level 1 guidance information, including watching the video found on the website before starting any showjumping sessions. Coaches who wish to progress to Level 2 must have a copy of the informal coach mentor record (old L1 assessment) in their passport or have attended a training day prior to assessment.


  1. Can leaders or side walkers step over raised poles?

Leaders and sidewalkers can only walk over poles if they are flat on the ground. Once they are raised at all, that is showjumping and they must go round them as this is an increased trip hazard. Poles should be medium to heavyweight to prevent them rolling easily if kicked.


  1. Can I trot or canter over poles on the ground?

 Yes, you can if you already regularly coach riders in trot and canter and the horses have been trained to do this, and you have a written risk assessment, regularly reviewed. Please ensure that you only use single poles as two poles placed close together can cause a horse to jump them both unexpectedly, thus unbalancing riders. Only use related distances if you are experienced and confident in measuring out the distances for the sizes of horses you have.


  1. How do I progress from L1 to L2 if I can’t have riders jumping before I’m qualified?

 You can progress by ensuring you are confident with the content of the L2 assessment, watching the video on the SJ page, attending a training day or working with a mentor coach. You can practice using volunteers with a mentor helping, progressing to practice under supervision with disabled riders. Once you have passed your L2 assessment, you can work away at developing your confidence, visiting other groups and doing training before looking towards L3


  1. What if my group isn’t assessed as a SJ Group?

 A group doesn’t need to be assessed to do L1. Once you decide you want to work towards L2, contact your regional SJ Rep or Assessor to help you get your group assessed. This requires the trustees’ permission and involves a check of the facilities and training of the volunteers/coaches


  1. Our ponies can’t jump so we can’t do L2

L2 involves very small cross poles which are only a few inches off the floor, it is likely you will have at least a couple of ponies who would enjoy basic jumping. Variety is good for our horses. Contact your Rep/assessor for help in introducing your ponies if you are unsure. At the lowest level, most ponies will just trot with a slightly raised stride over the jumps and aren’t launching themselves over them so you will probably find some riders who may be able to work towards this once your ponies and helpers are trained.


  1. We really can’t do showjumping at my group, but I want to get my qualification, what do I do?

If you are a Green/Coach level, you can go to another group and do SJ there, with your qualification related to that group until your group is able to take part themselves. It will help you to gain experience with a group already Showjumping.


  1. How do a I get reviewed?

You should have a SJ review every Three years. This can be face to face and could be done at the same time as a riding one if the SJ assessor is also a Coach developer (most are). You can also attend a face-to-face interactive workshop where you take part (for all levels of coach) or an interactive zoom (only for those just doing L2).  These all also count as CPD and would push your riding review on a year.


  1. Can riders canter round a level 2 course?

If you are a level 3 coach you can work riders over a variety of courses in canter, including the L2 course.


  1. Can we change the courses to fit our arena?

 Of course you can! These courses are just those prescribed for competition.  For training you can start with single jumps, then work to linking them together. You might only build half the course at a time.


  1. Help! Our arena isn’t big enough to fit the L4 course in, how do we practise for competitions?

 You can use a safe outdoor space such as a field to put poles down to represent the jumps and have the riders walk round the course at the correct size on foot, or if safe to do so, on horseback. Ideally, all riders at this level would have the chance to get out and ride at another RDA venue to experience the true course layout before coming to a competition. You can work on different parts of the course but they need to have ridden round the course properly before a competition.


If you have any further questions, please contact the Coaching Team at RDA National Office







Page Last Updated: May 17, 2024