The best horse breeds for show jumping competitions inevitably have certain common characteristics that separate them from other equestrian events such as racing. Because show jumping involves leaping over a series of fences as quickly and as cleanly as possible, the perfect show jumper must be able to jump high, be able to make quick turns, and have the ability to sprint between obstacles. Certain breeds of horses seem to be able to perform these functions better than others.
This article aims to recommend the best hunter-jumper breeds that have a natural build and conformation for jumping events and help you to choose the right ones for different levels of competition.
Show Jumper Characteristics to Look For Before Buying
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 around. 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.
The Top 8 Breeds Considered Most Suitable for Show Jumping
Noting the genetic characteristics that make it more probable that you’re buying the right horse and after comparing performances historically as well as gathering information from the Federation Equine International (FEI), these are the top 10 best hunter-jumper breeds.
- Dutch Warmblood
- Irish Sport Horse
- Selle Francais
- American Quarter Horse
- Arabian Thoroughbred
Note that these horses have not been ranked here in any order because rankings can be subjective. Any horse that you choose from the above will ensure that you don’t go wrong.
Horse Breeds at The Entry Level
Being the least competitive among horse jumping competition stages, buyers should 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 with hunter jumper lessons.
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.
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.
Top Characteristics That Hunter Derby Riders Find Invaluable
- Horse Conformation: Ensuring the right conformation (shape and structure of the horse’s anatomy) acts as a hedge against horse injuries and increase the Grand Prix Horse Riders’ chances of getting better performance out of them. In fact, it is quite rare for horses not having solid pedigrees at the time of breeding to emerge successful in equestrian competitions.
- Good Temperament: More than obedience, your jumper horse must be willing to put in work, learn, and be led. It should also possess a playful competitive attitude. The ability to stay on course in the face of an imposing challenge is a very important character attribute of a good show jumper.
Hunter horse jumping or show horse 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 Comly Sport Horses you’ve been reading about on this page, visit Happy Comly today.