There are some days when the worst thing for you and your horse to do is to continue on course. It could be that your horse has pulled a shoe, isn't listening to you, feels off or is just over-faced. In any of those cases, you may pull up while on course and withdraw yourself voluntarily from the competition.
If you choose to retire while on course, you will not be given a score and you will therefore not place in that class. If you choose to retire after you have completed the first round of a jumper class, you may still place in the class if there is a limited number of horses in the jump-off. Following EC rules, you will be placed behind any riders who attempt the jump-off course (including those who are eliminated during the jump-off):
FEI ARTICLE 247 ELIMINATION OR WITHDRAWAL FROM A JUMP-OFF
1. A competitor who is eliminated in a jump-off will be placed last of the competitors who have completed the jump-off.
2. A competitor, who with the permission of the Ground Jury withdraws from a jump-off, must always be placed after a competitor eliminated or who retires for a valid reason on the course. Competitors, who retire for no valid reason or who have themselves eliminated on purpose are placed equal with competitors, who have withdrawn from the same jump-off.
3. If before a deciding jump-off, two or more competitors 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 Organizing Committee will award the trophy by lot and the prize money will be added together and shared equally between the competitors. If the Ground Jury's instruction to continue is not followed by competitors, no trophy will be awarded and the competitors will each only receive the prize money and the lowest placing for which they would have jumped-off.
Make sure that you explain the situation to the in-gate person before leaving the area, however, to make sure that you will be allowed to withdraw yourself from the jump-off and to make everyone aware of your decision:
FEI ARTICLE 241 DISQUALIFICATIONS
1. Disqualification means that a competitor and his horse or horses may take no further part in a competition or in any other competition of the event.
2. The Ground Jury may disqualify a competitor in the following cases:
2.5. retiring, before a jump-off, without permission of the Ground Jury or without valid reason;
If you would like to retire while on course, you must let the judge know what you are doing. First, bring your horse down to a walk or halt. Look towards the judge's booth and either tip your helmet and/or put your reins in one hand and raise your free arm. The judge will interpret either of these signals as a voluntary withdrawal and you can then walk out of the ring.