Jumping is one of the exciting equestrian sports entailing various disciplines, course difficulties, and fence heights. Any rider can show horses over fences, from local schooling shows to international competitions. The question that comes to mind is the best horse breeds for show jumping?
Jumping sports allows equestrians to decide if to participate in events judging on time, accuracy, and speed or events focusing on the correct technique and course flow. To perfectly fit in the sports, both the rider and the horse need precision and athleticism. The sport demands complexity in rising over the fence height and course difficulty. However, there are suitable breeds for that task.
Eventually, the rider decides the type of breed regarding budget, temperament, and competition goals. You can search for horses on various online platforms like horse sale websites, business pages, and Facebook groups. You can consult your trainer to find you the right horse.
What Makes a Good Jumping Horse?
Showjumping demands speed and accuracy. Therefore, a participating horse should have an excellent ability to jump over obstacles without hitting the rails. Horses should be mobile professionals in tight turns during the jump-offs. They should also be good at adjusting the pace to finish the fences with few faults.
Showjumping horses should be brave and athletic. They must have the ability to adapt to a new environment like horse shows and be willing to jump new and spooky fences. Unlike western disciplines, jumping disciplines prefer taller horses. Jumpers should be about 16 hands tall. Not that the more miniature horses can’t excel in mounting the jumper ring.
Indicatively, jumping horses should be:
- Agile – jumpers should be quick in adjusting their pace and avoid taking rails. To achieve that, a horse should have light feet and be careful in jumping clean. They should be good even if they have to jump from wrong distances or approach weird-looking fences.
- Brave – jumpers encounter new courses in every show they participate in. You never know what is ahead when jumping fillers or wing standards under the fences. Courses are build in a way that tricks the eyes or spooks the horse making the halt. Successful jumpers adapt to new events and approach jumps bravely though they may previously never encountered something like that.
- In good form – a good jumper has solid jump forms with a tucked and tidy front end to avoid hitting rails.
- Surefooted – a good jumper should be well balanced and adjustable to jump the close distances or take the tight turns. They should focus on their tasks and be ready for the coming fence to avoid tripping or poorly approaching the fence.
Variety of Jumping Horses
- Showrunners – show jumping is a popular equestrian sport in the Olympics. Their qualities include significant, adjustable stride, movement, uphill build, and transfer power and weight in the hind legs.
- 3- Day Eventers – are versatile since they compete in show jumps, cross country, and dressage. They are good in speed, endurance and are brave.
- Hunter Jumpers – the horses should have a steady rhythm, beautiful movement, and impeccable jumping form but remain careful and ensure the fences are up. Their qualities include square knees over fences, flat kneed movement, pleasing appearance, and gait cadence.
Best Horse Breeds for Show Jumping
Below are the 11 best horse breeds for horse show jumping:
Thoroughbreds are one of the oldest jumping mounts. They are athletic and willing in sport horse disciplines. They are firm and have enormous strides making them good jumpers. Thoroughbreds are responsible for the modern warmblood breeds development.
- Thoroughbreds are highly sensitive and in-tune to their surroundings. They prefer kind, quiet and sensitive riders. They are suitable for any rider as long as the horse training meets their needs.
- Most Thoroughbreds are former racehorses that start a new jumper. They have experience with loud noises but are not too spooky. They don’t need retraining to adjust or learn to jump since they are quick learners.
- Thoroughbreds are slightly built and have fine bones since their primary breeding purpose is to be runners. These features make them agile, necessary for jumping. However, most riders prefer more staffed horses.
Hanoverian is among the largest and oldest for warmblood sport horses. They appear in upper Olympic level jumping shows. Like warmblood registries, Hanoverians’ inspection is necessary to judge their quality and allow room for improvement. The breeding purpose is mainly for sport, and their cost regards this purpose.
- This breed is costly due to the dedication and cost of breeding, training, and registering. There are more expensive than other breeds that don’t go through the process.
- Hanoverians are available around the globe because of their registry sheer size. Therefore it is easy to find the breed.
- Hanoverians’ breeding is for sturdiness with more bones compared to other warmblood breeds.
Trakehners are among the oldest warmblood registries whose registry requirements are strict. The restrictions don’t allow many types and pedigree variations. They are a lightly built type of Warmblood and are like Thoroughbreds because their pedigrees have high blood amounts. In addition, they are careful, athletic, and brave jumpers with willing and pleasant attitudes.
- Since Hanoverians are mostly Thoroughbreds, they have lighter bone and type than other Warmblood breeds. Therefore, they are more sensitive.
- They are probably hard to find since many died during World War I, with only 100 Trakehners left. There was a registry redevelopment in 1947. Since then, there have been strict measures to retain the breed.
Anglo-Arabian is a cross of the Thoroughbred and the Arabian horse. This breed is athletic and has endurance. Unlike Warmblood breeds or Thoroughbreds, they are rare but deserve to be known for their innate sport and versatility.
- Anglo-Arabians are highly sensitive and naturally inquisitive
- Both Thoroughbreds and Arabians are old breeds; therefore, they are behind most species we see.
- It is suitable for the patient and soft riders since it is a hot-blooded breed.
5. Irish Sport Horse
The breeding purpose of Irish Sport Horses is for sport. This horse has most of the Thoroughbred blood and is similar in pedigree. In addition, the Irish Sport Horse is a breed from Thoroughbreds and Irish Draughts. They are agile and fast with good stamina, hence suitable for the sport that requires enormous gallop stride and endurance.
- Most people import Irish Sport Horses from Europe; therefore, it may be costly to purchase one.
- They are sensitive and similar to Thoroughbreds in terms of temperament and build.
- Irish Sport Horses are versatile and excel in jumping disciplines. However, they are suitable for eventing.
Connemara is a pony breed whose origin is Ireland. They are brave and athletic with excellent temperaments. They are famous for jumpers/hunters and show jumping. Connemara has frequently bred with Thoroughbreds for more size but retaining some of its qualities.
- Connemaras are pony-sized, that is, 14.2 hands tall or less. Therefore they are suitable for small adults and juniors.
- If you seek a gigantic horse than a pony, a Connemara cross can give increased height.
- They are hardy, and their feet are great.
7. Dutch Warmblood
Dutch Warmblood is among the largest registries for Warmblood. You will often spot them in the show rings for jumpers/hunter, dressage, and show jumping. They have proved their capabilities and style over fences. Therefore they are suitable for riders seeking talented jumpers.
- Since they are specifically bred and have high costs in breeding registration and fees, Dutch Warmblood is likely to have higher prices.
- Suppose you look to participate in lower-level shows; it’s unnecessary to purchase a Dutch Warmblood. It’s better to choose other breeds suitable for jumping discipline instead of spending lots of money on the horse in low-level shows.
Oldenburg is Warmblood breed type. Many Warmblood registries are open so that you can register your horse with various registries. That explains why most Warmblood breeds are related to Thoroughbred. Also, Thoroughbred horses can have progeny to the registry after approval.
The primary breeding purpose for Oldenburg is dressage and jumping disciplines. They are willing and athletic horses.
- Oldenburg is costly and, therefore, unsuitable for a low-level budget.
- They have several variety horses in the registry because of having more Thoroughbred blood.
- Horses specifically bred understand their disciplines and are quick to learn their jobs.
9. Quarter Horse
Quarter Horse is among the most versatile breeds. They excel in multiple disciplines like jumping since they have excellent temperaments. Quarter horses are common in North America since they do most breeding there. Appendix Quarter Horses is also suitable if you seek a giant horse. They are more sensitive since they are from the Thoroughbred.
- The breeding of Quarter Horse is mainly for western disciplines. Therefore, be keen on finding the best in jumping.
- Most Quarter Horse has the jumping talent that can make them excel in sizable courses. Contrary to some beliefs, their breeding is not mainly for jumping.
- There are varieties of breeds crossed with Quarter Horses that result in fantastic jumpers.
10. Draft Crosses
Popular crosses you see in jumper rings are crosses of Clydesdales, Irish draughts, or Percherons mixed with Thoroughbreds. It helps in boosting the horse’s build with a calmer demeanor compared to a purebred Thoroughbred.
- Most of the Draft crosses horses are familiar with Warmblood breeds regarding looks, but with lower prices.
- They are enormous, with 16 hands tall or more depending on the retained traits.
- They are pretty athletic in jumping off fences but not suitable for galloping distances due to less stamina.
Morgans are incredibly versatile, hardy breed, and highly intelligent. Their temperaments are incredible, naturally athletic, and are brave. Unlike other species, they are not popular in jumping rings. They are so talented that they can go ahead with different jumping levels. Morgans are perfect for new riders because of their cheerful demeanor and trainability.
- There are various breeds crossed with Morgans that result in phenomenal jumpers.
- Morgans are hardy with excellent conformation and hooves that make them remain healthy in multiple sports.
- Morgans are on smaller sides, from 14 to 15.2 hands.
Many breeds excel in jumping disciplines but are not on this list. However, the important thing is the willingness and ability of the horse. A horse should have good conformation and be good at jumping to avoid soundness.