Buying a hunter/jumper show horse for the first time is a tricky decision and there are some finer points that you need to consider before you part with your horse money. Riders just a few months into horse riding and beginners need to know that there are over 200 breeds of horses, and that not every horse will help you win a show jumping competition. You’ll need different horses to compete at horse jumping/hunting events at different levels of expertise. Horses also gel differently with each rider.
So how do you decide which show jumper or hunter horse to buy? Here are a few tips to help you buy the right jumper or hunter for your next event.
1. Hunter Horses
If you’re looking for a hunter horse, then you will likely be involved in controlled fox-hunting, or winding your way about natural barriers in the countryside. Your horse will be judged by how cleanly it leaps over fences, and the style and pace adopted are key to scoring higher on the judges’ cards. Jumper courses may set lower boundaries than jumper lessons. A second panel of judges will judge the rider and her ability to make the horse perform the jumps and maneuvers to form. A good horse and rider combination will complete the jump accurately and elegantly. Ideal hunter horse breeds will hold themselves well and would also be able to leap higher and farther.
A hunter horse must be athletic and agile and good breeds for the purpose include the Hanoverian, the Holsteiner, the Arabian, the Quarter horse, and the Trakehner. Both thoroughbreds and warmbloods perform well at the training and junior competition stages. The precise nature of the course and competition is what sets horses apart, however, and it is extremely important that the horse and rider bond well to determine which animal will perform well.
2. Show Jumper Horses
Show jumping horses need to be quicker on the trot than their hunter horse cousins because this sport involves clearing a series of fences in one complete performance, called a round. Being able to jump cleanly and quickly and make sharp turns without losing form, is the key to winning show jumping competitions. While the horses mentioned above will also do well in show jumping, look for a horse that is light, yet strong, and nimble.
3. Horse Breeds at the Entry Level
Although the least competitive among horse jumping competition stages, you should, nevertheless, look for either a Quarter horse, a Welsh cob, or any other grade horse. Grade horses are those without definite parentage and, coming at a fraction of the cost of thoroughbreds, are a great option for starting out.
4. Horse Breeds at the Intermediate Level
If you already have some experience with jumper horses and are looking to leap to the next level, then investing your money on an Irish draught horse, a Trakehner, or a racing thoroughbred, is a good decision. Thoroughbreds or hot-bloods, have been bred for speed and stamina, and have been in training for all of their life. They are the natural choice where being fast is an advantage.
5. Level Number One in Horse Jumping
At the top level, the Selle Francais, Dutch and Belgian warmbloods, Westphalians, Oldenburgs, and Holsteiners, are your best bets. The WBFSH publishes yearly horse rankings listing the pedigree and performance at competitions.
Hunter horse jumping and horse show jumping both require you to buy horses that have been raised and fed for racing and jumping while being able to make swift turns within a hint. If you would like to take a look at some of the horses you’ve been reading about on this page, visit Comly Sport Horses today.