Best Horse Breeds for Show Jumping


Author By Hope Horse

Show jumping is an Olympic equestrian event widely recognized around the world.

Designers will set up obstacles of different heights and difficulties, such as poles, walls, water barriers, etc. In the competition, the rider needs to skillfully guide their horses to pass a series of obstacles in the shortest time while ensuring no mistakes.


Ordinary racecourse equestrianism is an expression of art, but show jumping as the epitome of precise horse handling, provides visual impact. The riders control the horses to approach the obstacles, soar into the air in an instant, leap over the obstacles, and land perfectly, all in one smooth motion. A confident rider, a well-trained horse, and a cheering crowd constitute the essence of show jumping.


Of course, not all horses are suitable for show jumping. Below are five of the most common breeds for this sport:


1. Irish Sport Horse

Irish Sport Horses are generally bred from Irish Draught horses and other purebred horses in Ireland. They inherit the characteristics of Irish Draught horses and possess exceptional talents. With proper training, they can effortlessly cross obstacles that other horses struggle with.


Coat color: solid color

Country of Origin: Ireland

Height: 15.2 to 17 hands

Characteristics: The Irish Sport Horse is a large horse with high working performance, strong physique, and high endurance. It has the characteristics of a thoroughbred horse. It has a long neck, which is conducive to the balance of striking and jumping. The shoulder blades are long, sloping and rich in muscles. The limbs are dry and strong, the joints are robust, the chest is deep and wide, the rump is long and wide, the muscles of the hind limbs are very developed, and the tail base is low.


2. Dutch Warmblood Horse

The Dutch Warmblood Horse is not a pure-blooded horse, but a breed specially bred for equestrian performances in the 20th century. It only began to have a pedigree register in 1958, and in just a few decades it quickly became the most popular and most successful riding horses in the world.

Coat color: mostly brown, chestnut, sometimes black or gray

Country of Origin: Netherlands

Height: 15.2 to 17 hands

Characteristics: Well-proportioned structure, beautiful appearance, long legs, well-developed tendons, strong front legs, and well-developed muscles in the forelimbs. It possesses powerful hind legs, elegant feet, explosive power, and are among the fastest horses in the world.


3. Belgian Warmblood Horse

The Belgian Warmblood horse began to develop in the 1950s, with their ancestry comprising obstacle racing horses from France and the Netherlands, as well as Hanoverian and Holstein horses from Germany. This breed has two pedigree registers: the Belgian Warmblood studbook and the Belgian Sports Horse studbook.


Coat color: maroon, reddish brown, brown, black and gray

Country of Origin: Australia, Belgium

Height: 15.1 to over 17 hands.

Characteristics: The traditional characteristics of Belgian warmblood horses are tall and powerful. They excel in straight-line movements, have gentle temperaments suitable for riding, are very agile, and exhibit considerable calmness.


4. Holsteiner Horse

The Holsteiner horse is a horse breed produced in northern Germany. It is one of the oldest warmblood horse breeds and were initially used primarily for draft work and transport. In the 1940s, it began to be bred for sports horses. Now it has become one of the top-level jumping horses globally.


Coat color: dark brown or brown

Country of Origin: Northeastern Germany

Height: 15.1 to 17 hands

Characteristics: It has a strong arched neck and powerful hindquarters and its greatest strength lies in its jumping ability.


5. Selle Français

Selle Français horses are the result of crossbreeding various breeds. Their origin is quite complex, as they were developed by breeders in Normandy who crossed purebred and mixed-breed horses imported from England with the local Norman horse, resulting in the Anglo-Norman horse. The Anglo-Norman horse can also be divided into two breeds. Among them, the lively riding horse is one of the prototypes of the Selle Français.


Coat color: auburn or chestnut

Country of Origin: France

Body: 15.3 to 17.3 hands

Characteristics: It is agile, with large strides when moving, outstanding jumping ability, and is more active than other horses. It has long and strong necks, robust muscles, and powerful hindquarters.