Weird FEI Jumping Rules That Could Land You in Hot Water

Warming up to your own private RiRi concert? I don’t think so. 

Two American names were recently added to the FEI yellow card list for the most bizarre of circumstances, and these situations only seem to reaffirm how fickle and out of touch the FEI can seem to the average fan. Henri Prudent and Marilyn Little both received yellow warning cards the last week of WEF, and according to their accounts with Chronicle of the Horse, Henri was carded for lunging a third horse in a space limited to two, and Marilyn carded for being handed a grooming tote over a fence.

While a first warning in and of itself does little beyond add your name to a public list without a backstory, a second warning in a 12-month period means an automatic suspension for sixty days. With that in mind, we couldn’t help but wonder what other bizarre rules – both yellow card related and beyond – seemed a bit odd in the rulebook. (And you know some of these must have ended up here because of some crazy backstories. I wonder who first dyed a horse to confuse the officials?)

202.5 – Arena Access and Practice Obstacles

Athletes may not jump or attempt to jump any obstacle in the arena during a parade before the Competition.



219 – Disobediences


1.4. a more or less regular circle or group of circles no matter where they occur on the course or for whatever reason. It is also a Disobedience to circle around the last obstacle jumped unless the track of the course so requires.

225 – Unauthorized Assistance

3. Unauthorized assistance: Any help given to a mounted Athlete to adjust his saddlery or bridle or to hand him a whip while mounted during the round will incur Elimination. To hand a mounted Athlete his Headgear and/or spectacles during his round is not considered to be unauthorised assistance.

4. Earphones and/or other electronic communication devices are strictly prohibited in FEI Jumping Competitions, and such usage is penalised by elimination. Furthermore, Athletes may not wear earphones at any time while mounted; this applies everywhere within the grounds of the Event (see JRs Art. 256.1.10).

240 – Yellow Cards

You can get a yellow “warning card” for the following:

2.4. An Athlete who has been eliminated for jumping one or several obstacles after passing the finishing line or jumps an obstacle without the permission of the Ground Jury for the press.

2.5 an Athlete who uses obstacles that are different from those provided by the OC in the schooling areas

2.7 an Athlete who does not salute the Ground Jury or the official personalities on entering the arena

241 – Eliminations

You can be immediately eliminated for the following:

3.4. a Horse resisting for 45 consecutive seconds during the round

3.19. a loose Horse leaving the arena before the end of the round, including prior to starting;

3.18. Athlete and/or Horse leaving the arena without permission of the Ground Jury, including prior to starting;

242 – Disqualifications

2.5 – retiring, before a jump-off, without permission of the Ground Jury or without valid reason;

2.7. jumping the obstacles in the schooling areas in the wrong direction or jumping the practice obstacle, if any, in the arena in the wrong direction

3.4 jumping unauthorised obstacles in any place on the showground;

3.5 leaving the showground with the horse for any purpose during the period of the Event.

247 Withdrawal from a Jump-Off

3. If before a deciding jump-off, two or more Athletes decline to take part in the jump-off, the Ground Jury will decide whether this refusal can be accepted or must be rejected. If the Ground Jury accepts the refusal, the OC will award the trophy by lot and the prize money will be added together and shared equally between the Athletes. If the Ground Jury’s instruction to continue is not followed by Athletes, no trophy will be awarded and the Athletes will each only receive the prize money and the lowest placing for which they would have jumped-off.

248 – Placing and Prizes

2. Any Athlete who has no chance of being placed may, at the discretion of the Ground Jury, be stopped at any time during his round.

254 – Participation and Horses

1.1 Horses entered for Olympic Games and World Championships must be at least nine years of age. Horses entered in Continental Championships, FEI World Cup™ Finals*, Regional Games and Regional Championships must be at least eight years of age. (Starting in 2018. FEI World Cup horses must also be nine.)

256 – Dress

1.2. When inspecting the course, dress must be neat and tidy. In any case, riding boots, white or light fawn breeches, a long- or short-sleeved shirt and a white tie or choker must be worn. Shirts must have a white collar; long-sleeved shirts must have white cuffs.

1.7. At the discretion of the Ground Jury, Athletes who are improperly dressed may be refused permission to take part in the Competition. While present in the Competition area and during the prize-giving ceremonies the Athlete’s name may appear on a surface area not exceeding 80 cm2 (maximum 20 centimetres long, maximum four centimetres wide) only once lengthwise on the left leg of the riding breeches;

257 – Tack

1.4. There are no restrictions on bits. However, the Ground Jury has the right, based on veterinary advice, to forbid the use of a bit that may cause injury to the Horse.

2.1. The Athlete must not directly or indirectly tie any part of his body to the saddlery.


280 Vet Inspections

2.4. No Horse may be presented with its identity concealed in any manner by the application of paint or dye.

You can see a full list of updated yellow card warnings for all disciplines here. Go Jumping.