Best Horse Jumping Breeds

Daniel Brown
• Monday, 21 December, 2020
• 9 min read

Which breed is most suitable for you depends on the level of competition as well as the type of jumping in which a rider is interested in competing. Show jumping requires speed and agility in order to be competitive, while hunter jumpers need more grace and elegance.

horse jumping breeds
(Source: horsetvlive.com)


To compete in evening, a horse will need to know the basics of dressage, have some speed and agility, and also be strong, fearless, and bold on the open courses. Height: 14-16 hands Country of Origin: America Characteristics: Quarter horses are known for their strength, athleticism and easy-going temperaments.

It’s true that most Quarter Horses are on the small side compared to most of the breeds used for jumping, but for lower-level competition, they are a fantastic choice. Quarter Horses have tons of strength and muscle, good for powering them over a jump despite their smaller stature.

These traits make the Quarter Horse a formidable jumping horse breed at lower level cross-country jumping. El-ka / Shutterstock.com Height: 13.2-15 hands Country of Origin: Wales Characteristics: Welsh Cobs are known for their athleticism, stamina, and friendly personalities.

They are reliable and stylish, making them a great choice for those who are looking for a horse they can find success with when getting a start in jumping. Height: 13-15 hands Country of Origin: Ireland Characteristics: Connemara ponies are known for their strength, athleticism, and friendly personalities.

Whether for junior exhibitors or petite adults, Connemara's make stellar jumping ponies. Height: 15-17 hands Country of Origin: IrelandCharacteristics: Irish Sport Horses are known for their athleticism, agility, and good dispositions.

jumping horse breeds hipico events fe santa
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Though the Irish Sport Horse was originally bred for fox hunting, the breed has continued to evolve into a top-level jumper. Height: 15-17 hands tall Country of Origin: England Characteristics: Thoroughbreds are known for their speed, athleticism and agility.

The speed and agility, combined with the long legs and fair height of a thoroughbred make it a good choice for a seasoned rider just getting into the lower levels of jumping competition. A cross-country course might be a real challenge for this breed for the same reason, but this depends on the horse.

Height: 16-17 hands Country of Origin: Germany (was Prussia at the time) Characteristics: Trainers are known for their athleticism, style and stamina. Height: 16 – 17 hands Country of Origin: Germany Characteristics: Holsteins are known for their grace, athleticism and easy-going temperaments.

Along with their grace and elegance, the Holstein er is hardworking, athletic, strong, and has a gentle, easy to train nature. Height: 15-17 hands Country of Origin: Netherlands Characteristics: Dutch Warm bloods are known for their athleticism, style and good disposition.

Height: 15.2-17.3 hands Country of Origin: Germany Characteristics: Hanoverian's are known for their athleticism, grace and agility. These beauties bring everything a serious competitor needs to the highest levels of any Three Day Event, making them one of the besthorsebreeds for jumping.

horse jumping breeds ihearthorses
(Source: ihearthorses.com)

Height: 16.1 – 17.3 hands Country of Origin: France Characteristics: Sell Français are known for their athleticism, grace, and good temperaments. The horse breed of choice for recent French Olympic jumping teams is the Sell Français.

The Sell Français is a breed built just for jumping, with the right slope to the shoulders, power in the hindquarters, stout legs, and blessed with good endurance. The Sell Français breed is also suitable for all riders, considering they love people, they are kind and patient, and they are very willing with lots of tries.

Height: 16-17 hands Country of Origin: Belgium Characteristics: Belgian Warm bloods are known for their power, athleticism, and good temperaments. Height: 16.2-17 hands Country of Origin: Germany Characteristics: Oldenburg's are known for their athleticism, willingness to please, and agility.

The typical Oldenburg horse has a long neck, is build uphill, and shows impressive strength. These breeds have shown a great capacity to excel in the show ring or the field of competition throughout history, however, and are usually a good bet.

Since horses were first domesticated thousands of years ago, we’ve been selectively breeding them for our own purposes. This choice, though, can sometimes make it difficult to know where to start when you’re looking for that perfect horse, which is why I thought it would be helpful to list the most popular ‘ jumping breeds.

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When looking for a good jumper you want a horse that has powerful hindquarters, isn’t too hot-headed, and has enough scope to clear the fences easily as well as having plenty of controlled speed. After all, if you’re looking to compete at an international level, then a purebred Arabian, sadly, just isn’t going to cut the mustard.

In fact, the Dutch Warm blood is such a good jumping horse that, in 2010, it was ranked #1 for jumping by the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses. Thought to have descended from the Great Horse of the Middle Ages, the Hanoverian can be traced back to 1714 when King George I of England introduced Thoroughbreds into several German studs.

After the Napoleonic Wars though, the breed was seriously depleted but since the early 19th century its numbers have increased and the use of Thoroughbred blood has stopped. Having been developed in government-run studs throughout Normandy in France, the Sell Français (which translates to mean French Saddle Horse), has many of the qualities needed for a good jumper.

Qualities such as strength, athleticism and plenty of scope, all of which have combined to create a fantastic jumping breed that’s had a great deal of Olympic success. Sometimes referred to as the Hungarian Sport Horse, the breed began life at Hungary’s famous Mezöhegyes stud when other Hungarian breeds, such as the Kisser Fever and the Furious, were crossbred to create a top-class warm blood.

While the Hungarian Warm blood excels in all English disciplines it’s in show jumping that it has really shone, having successfully competed in almost every modern Olympics games as well as many Grands Prix. It’s thought that the Irish Draft evolved by crossing Thoroughbreds with Connemara Ponies that had already been influenced by Spanish and Arabian blood.

horse jumping horses jumper breeds zweibrucken warmblood breed hunter english riding jump dressage german horseback funny riders saarland rhineland palatinate
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Later on, Clydesdale and Shire horses were introduced to help increase the breeds numbers after the Irish Potato Famine of 1847. Famous Appaloosas: Bimbos’ Crazy King (despite being 70%-80% blind he had a great deal of success jumping) and Cowboy (the horse ridden by Matt Damon in True Grit).

Originally known as ‘A Famously’ after the Pa louse River in Idaho/Oregon where they were first bred, the Appaloosa, like the Irish Draft, may not immediately be thought of as a jumping breed. From Welsh ponies and traditional cobs to Arabs, all horses are capable of jumping.

However, years of breeding with performance and discipline in mind have gone into producing sports horses around the globe. In fact, many of the most successful show jumpers and events can be traced back to German or Dutch horses.

As equestrian sport became more popular after WWII, traditional Warm blood breeds, such as the Takeover, were bred with hot-blooded horses, such as the Thoroughbred and the Arab. For example, the Westphalia Warm blood or the Andalusian will naturally excel at top level Dressage.

However, a horse doesn’t have to have five0star breeding to have the guts to dig deep and the brain to save the day when you need it most! Certain breeds dominate top level evening and show jumping wherever you are in the world.

horse jumping breeds irish sport think let any know there
(Source: ihearthorses.com)

We’ve put together some best breeds for jumping and explained a little about them and why these horses are so good at their job. If you are going to compete in evening, you will need a horse that has the scope to show jump and the speed and strength to negotiate a tough cross-country course.

The Dutch Warm blood, also known as the KPN, is a talented horse that excels at both dressage and jumping. This is due to their uphill build, attractive paces and agreeable and honest nature.

Because of this, German Warm bloods can vary in conformation, size and appearance, depending on genetic breeding. Generally, German Warm bloods tend to be well-bred horses that are both athletic and intelligent, with plenty of scope for jumping.

These hardy and capable horses are one of the few true Warm blood breeds, and they have a fascinating history behind them. During the war, many of the most valuable Takeover Stallions were protected and moved to West Germany, such as the famous stallion named Hirtensang, who was an important Chestnut sire in the history of the Takeover.

The Takeover is an exceptionally talented horse, characterized by their substance and bone yet refinement with natural elegance. The Takeover breed is repeatedly seen at many elite equestrian sporting events everywhere, from the Olympics to Burgher Horse Trials and Olympia.

jumping horse teke horses akhal breeds breed stallion most ten rarest amazing stallions golden wikipedia wikimedia rare gold buckskin silver
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Oldenburg's are selectively bred to excel as top level jumping horses, and they consistently perform. As with many other Warm blood breeds, Hanoverian make fantastic jumping horses due to their natural technique over a fence.

The power and grace that they possess allows them to succeed at top level, proving them to be careful yet bold over both show jumps and natural fences. Because of their exceptional paces and strong hinds, they also do well at Dressage and currently hold the no 1 spot for evening in the WB FSH rankings.

They were originally bred as foxhunting horses, combining the strength of the Irish Draft with the speed of the Thoroughbred. 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.

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.

jumping horses breed horse breeds team
(Source: horsetvlive.com)

T hey are lightly built horses, with an infusion of Thoroughbred and Arabian bloodlines that give them speed and stamina. 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. Once jumping events became mainstream, the Irish Sport Horse quickly rose through the ranks as a top jumping horse.

Fast and lean, these horses are bred to race around a track at high speeds. 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.

jumping horse games jumpy breeds equestrian events obstacles lovers largest calendar five leaping
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If you can find a quarter horse with the proper conformation and spirit, he may make a suitable jumping companion. 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. Many mule shows feature jumping competitions, which highlight the skills of these special equines.

“Snowman”, a mixed breed stock horse bound for the slaughter truck became a champion show jumping horse in the 1950s.

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