The course diagram is a single piece of paper that is posted beside the in-gate at least half an hour before the start of the class. Most of the paper will be taken up by a diagram of the ring, showing all of the jumps. The jumps that will be used in the class are numbered and have arrows indicating the direction in which they are to be jumped.
The rest of the space on the page will be devoted to a list of information, which should include most or all of the following:
Class name: This lets you know that you're looking at the correct course diagram.
Article: This tells you how the course will be judged. Examples include FEI ARTICLE 236 TABLE A and FEI ARTICLE 239 TABLE C. Check the rule book of your national federation to learn the names and descriptions of each article.
Course length: This will be a distance in metres, measured by the course designer walking an ideal track around the course with a measuring wheel (or calculated by a computer program).
Speed: This is the speed that the time allowed will be based on, usually around 350 m/min.
Height: The height at which the course is set.
First round: The numbers of the jumps in the first round, such as 1-13.
Time allowed: In seconds, it is calculated based on the course length and the speed. It can be adjusted after the first three riders in the class have gone, so pay attention for any changes. Going over it will result in time faults.
Time limit: This is the maximum time that you may take to get around the course before you will be eliminated.
Jump-off or second round: This section will list the jumps, in order, that constitute the jump-off. An example would be 1-3-11a-11b-12-6-13.
Jump-off length: This is the length, in metres, of the jump-off course.
Jump-off time allowed: This is the time allowed, in seconds, of the jump-off course as calculated by the distance and the speed. Going over it will result in time faults.
Jump-off time limit: This is the maximum time allowed before elimination from the jump-off.
Course designer: The name of the course designer, which you should take note of so that you can remember that course designer's style when preparing for the next show that they will be at!