Show jumping is a member of a family of English riding equestrian events. Jumping classes are commonly seen at horse shows throughout the world, including the Olympics. Jumping classes may be governed by various national horse show sanctioning organizations. International competitions are governed by the rules of the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI).

Show jumping competitors use a very forward style of English saddle purpose designed for show jumping. This construction allows greater freedom of movement for the rider when in jumping position. Girths vary in type, but usually have a contour to give room for the horse's elbows, and many have belly guards to protect the underside of the horse from its shoe studs when the front legs are tightly folded under. Bridles may be used with any style of cavesson noseband, and there are few rules regarding the severity of this equipment. The figure-8 cavesson being the most popular. Bits may also vary in severity, and competitors may use any bit, or even a "bitless bridle" or a mechanical hackamore. Boots and wraps are worn by almost all horses, due to the fact that they may easily injure their legs when landing or when making tight turns at speed. The majority of jumpers are ridden in running martingales, as these provide the most freedom over fences. Breastplates also are common, used to keep the saddle in place as the horse goes over large fences.