What Are The Best Horses For Show Jumping?

If you’re planning on taking up show jumping, you may be wondering if the horse you have possesses the right qualities to make a go of it, or if you’re shopping for a horse for show jumping, you may be wondering what qualities you should look for.

In this article, we discuss the most important qualities of show jumpers and offer recommendations on some popular breeds. Read on to learn more on the best horses for show jumping.

How Should A Show Jumper Be Built?

How Should A Show Jumper Be Built

When choosing the height of your horse for any discipline, you should take your own height into account. A taller rider naturally needs a taller horse. Additionally, a horse’s conformation greatly influences his abilities.

When it comes to show jumping, it only stands to reason that taller horses may have more natural abilities. A good jumping horse should also have long, upright shoulders to provide good form when jumping.

The shape and strength of a horse’s legs also plays a great part in his ability to jump well. To be a good jumper, a horse should have long, straight, sturdy legs. Check carefully for signs of past injuries, and be sure to have a veterinarian evaluate the horse before purchasing.

Remember that hooves are a horse’s foundation. No matter what discipline you’re interested in, look for a horse whose hooves have been well maintained and are currently in good condition.

In competition, the way the horse looks when jumping is just as important as how he actually performs. Look for a horse who displays good form and appearance, but don‘t go on looks alone. When you are shopping for a jumping horse, you’ll want to both take a test ride and watch the horse being ridden by another rider.

An Experienced Horse Will Save You Training Time

Of course, a horse who has show jumping experience will provide you with a sure investment. When you’re looking at a horse who has competed in the past, be sure to look over his record and evaluate his performance. This knowledge will help you chart your own training course and set your own goals.

Best Horse Breeds Used For Show Jumping

The training you provide is a very important aspect of the performance your horse can deliver, but it’s also important to understand that no matter how good your training is, an unsuited horse will not perform well in jumping competitions. For this reason, there are certain breeds that are preferred as show jumpers.

Warmbloods of various types are well-suited to show jumping and a number of other equestrian events. These horses are intelligent, athletic, muscular and strong. These qualities make them extremely versatile and popular.

Here are five of the most popular Warmblood varieties.

1. The Belgian Warmblood is a relatively recent breed, which was founded in 1955. This type of horse has the athleticism, muscularity and intelligence to make a fine show jumper. They are known for having an interesting and agreeable personality.

2. Dutch Warmbloods are bred specifically for competition. Tall, muscular and athletic, these strong horses present an excellent appearance and are ideal for show jumping performance. Dutch warmbloods are typically about 16HH and come in an array of colors including chestnut, bay, black and gray.

3. Hanoverians are strong, athletic, courageous and versatile. They’ve made a good reputation for themselves in show jumping events such as the Grand Prix. These horses usually run 15 to 16HH and are typically solid colored.

4. Holsteiners are horses with a great deal of stamina. They do very well in long-distance competitions,, such as Steeplechase, but they also possess the versatility for a wide variety of other events. Holsteiners are quite tall at 16 to 17HH. They come in shades of chestnut, bay, black and gray.

5. Oldenburgers were originally bred as work horses, but as time passed, their breeding became more refined and they soon became well known as good competition horses. These tall, powerful horses display good action that is often described as elastic and rhythmic. Available in shades of black, gray and bay, Oldenburgers typically run about 16.2 to 17.2 HH.

Multi-Purpose Horses

If you want to participate in both dressage and show jumping, you may wish to go with a Baroque or Spanish breed. Examples include Andalusians, Lipizzans and Friesians, all of which are descendants of war horses of ancient times.

These smaller, lighter horses are attractive, quick, intelligent and agile and are able to make the transition back and forth between show jumping and dressage quite easily. Furthermore, light breeds are also quite handy at other competition events such as light harness racing.

Spanish Lipizzans display their versatility in this video.

Save A Life!

Off-track thoroughbreds (OTTB) or retired racehorses are also an excellent choice for show jumping, Steeplechase and other events. Choosing to adopt one of these well bred horses could very well save it from slaughter.

Start here to begin researching adopting a retired racehorse.

Nicky Ellis
Nicky has been an editor at Horses & Foals since 2017. Horses have been in her life from her earliest memories, and she learned to ride a horse when she was 5. She is a mom of three who spends all her free time with her family and friends, her mare Joy, or just sipping her favorite cup of tea.


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