Are Draft Horses Good For Jumping

Earl Hamilton
• Thursday, 12 November, 2020
• 7 min read

My draft cross and I are jumping about 2' although I've discovered he really likes cross-country, gets moving, ears pricked, enthusiastic but not so wild about stadium! We've had a couple of days when she gets pretty big bursts of enthusiasm though.

clydesdale jumping flickr draft horse
(Source: www.flickr.com)


The shoulder and neck of a draft horse is designed for the job they were bred to do as well, not for jumping. Jumping puts added strain on joints, it stresses the back, and one wrong approach (even over something so “tiny” for a big horse) can lame the horse for life.

Big difference between dressage and jumping as far as wear and tear on the body though. I agree with most of your original post last unicorn, but it DID sound like you were saying (or implying) that drafts shouldn't be ridden.

However, if you’re looking for an enthusiastic equine partner to take you to new heights in the jumping competition arena, there are several breeds best suited for the sport. Before we get into the list, it’s important to note that there are several types of jumping events for which your horse might be best suited.

A Dutch Warm blood named All star B took home the gold medal for both individual and team evening in 2018. Dutch warm bloods are known for their versatility and good manners, which makes them suitable pleasure mounts and low-level competitors as well.

The breeding requirements for Oldenburg's are based on the horse’s quality and performance abilities, rather than bloodlines. They are generally built uphill (like most excellent jumpers), with long necks and strong legs.

clydesdale horse horses draft jumping clydesdales pretty shire length stride breed heavy almost jumpers friesian breeds uploaded user weddings hazelnut
(Source: www.pinterest.com)

T hey are lightly built horses, with an infusion of Thoroughbred and Arabian bloodlines that give them speed and stamina. They consistently outperform other breeds in evening, but they also perform well in the show jumping arena as well.

This natural jumping ability also means that Holsteins excel in the show hunter ring, where proper form is imperative for success. While they are not the most popular breed of sport horse, their numbers are significant in the jumping world.

The Holstein er horses that are being bred today are highly specialized jumpers that carry their riders to the highest levels of competition. This also makes them excellent dressage horses, and they currently hold the #1 spot for evening in the WB FSH rankings.

They can be spirited or “too hot” around a jump course, which can be a positive or negative trait depending on the handler. Still, with proper training and a good attitude, Thoroughbreds make excellent events and overall jumpers.

Many Quarter horses are overly muscular and built downhill, more suited for working cows than jumping fences. If you can find a quarter horse with the proper conformation and spirit, he may make a suitable jumping companion.

draft belgian horse jumping
(Source: www.youtube.com)

While known for their skills on the endurance course, Arabians can make great show jumpers and cross-country competitors. In particular, Shag ya Arabians and Anglo Arabs are well suited for jumping, with their long legs and excellent stamina.

Stacey Chechen blogs at The Jumping Percheron, chronicling the training and competing process with her full Percheron mare Klein (as well as many other horsey adventures along the way!) This blog post was originally published on The Jumping Percheron on April 9, 2016.

Obviously there is no simple, single sentence answer for that. The bottom line is I took my time with her and trained her like you would any other horse, except I put a huge emphasis on conditioning.

Honestly, she has no idea she is a breed that you typically don’t see out doing these types of things. I bought her as a two-year-old that was barely halter broke.

She had never spent time hitched to anything, never been put to work on a farm, or anything like that. I think a lot of people (especially draft people) think that by doing what I do with Klein, I am out trying to make some blanket statement that EVERY draft can jump like she does.

horse horses draft percheron jumping breeds riding appaloosa wow funny stallion
(Source: www.pinterest.com)

I love their mind, their work ethic, their dispositions, etc… I knew they could be good riding horses, so I bought Klein with the intention of riding her and maybe doing some low jumpers if she was up to it. If she was out there struggling and bulldozing 2 fences then we would have stayed with flat work.

Her enthusiasm and athletic ability piqued my curiosity to see what this girl could really do. I knew I was in for some pretty great surprises with her over fences after I saw that 2’3 picture.

I sometimes think we might put a false idea out there, unintentionally of course, along the lines of what I mentioned before. I think some people see her on my blog, at shows, on our Facebook page, on Instagram, and where ever else and think “Oh look, Percheron's CAN jump, time to get a Percheron!” THAT is dangerous.

I hope that there are not any drafts out there that people are trying to turn into jumpers/events that gave no second thought to the actual quality of the horse. Just looking at Klein and my Belgian gelding Was together (photo below), they are two completely different types of drafts.

I think Klein gets a lot of her refinement from this guy. I know her sire, Rose Hill Blaine, died about a year and a half after she was born.

jumping draft horse horses
(Source: myleadtracker.com)

I believe her mom, Crow’s of Rose Hill Samara is still in Canada. I think Rose Hill Blaine must have had a special, particular refined look to him as well.

Klein and Paige shared the same sire, so there was something special about Rose Hill Blaine, and it is too bad he isn’t around anymore. Now, for comparison’s sake, here is me haltering Was, they are day and night in their build.

Here he is fresh off the street from working a busy Christmas season. Yes, different breeds but I use his pictures because he’s mine and because there are plenty of Percheron's that look just like Was in their build.

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