10 Great Horse Breeds for Jumping

A well-trained jumping horse may be the most graceful and powerful animal you’ll ever see. This sport requires the horse to have a lot of strength, balance, and agility, not to mention a great mind so they listen to their rider’s commands even at top speed. If you’re thinking about getting into horseback riding or competitive jumping, choosing the right horse breed will make all the difference in your success as a rider and your enjoyment of equestrian sports in general. Here are 10 great horse breeds for jumping, listed from least difficult to most difficult to train and manage.

The Arabian horse

The Arabian horse

A versatile and intelligent horse, Arabians can jump obstacles of nearly any height. They have a naturally high heart gait that provides good acceleration to carry them over greater distances. Many world-class show jumpers descend from Arabian lines, including Seamus McGarvey and Richard Spooner's 1976 Grand Prix winner Alepient. A royal favorite in England and France, many royals including King Charles II imported stallions to improve their herds.

The American Quarter Horse 

The American Quarter Horse

From colonial times to today, American Quarter Horses have become known as an all-around workhorse. They’re great at dressage and competitive in show jumping events. However, they may have trouble with going cross-country.

The Thoroughbred Horse

The Thoroughbred Horse

A Thoroughbred is a horse breed best known for its use in horse racing. Although the word thoroughbred is sometimes used to refer to any breed of purebred horse, it technically refers only to one specific strain originating in 17th-century England. During the 18th and 19th centuries, Thoroughbreds were bred for stamina, speed, strength and courage.

The Friesian Horse

The Friesian Horse

With their striking white coats and muscular builds, these beautiful horses have been a favorite among Dutch cowboys for centuries. Friesians are built to jump and are great at competitions of all kinds. They tend to respond well to training, but can sometimes be stubborn due to their competitive natures. Nonetheless, they make great competition horses because of their height and agility; some say it’s almost as if they fly over jumps instead of simply jumping them.

The Hanoverian Horse

The Hanoverian Horse

A tough, agile horse known for its intelligence and willingness to work hard. The Hanoverian will always try its best. It has a medium build, is slightly longer than it is tall and has muscular hindquarters with a well-defined croup.

The Lipizzaner Horse

The Lipizzaner Horse

When you think of a high-stepping show horse, chances are you’re thinking of a Lipizzaner. Originally bred to be ridden by Emperor Charles V, these majestic white horses have been jumping high in Europe’s Spanish Riding School since 1572. A mix between Arabians and Andalusian horses, Lipizzaners are one of today’s most popular breeds. Known as athletic, strong and elegant jumpers, they also make great dressage mounts with many trained in pairs.

The Holsteiner Horse

The Holsteiner Horse

Considered one of the best jumping horses, Holsteiners are known for their technique, suppleness and temperament. On top of that, they have a strong gallop. In fact, some have criticized them for being a little too much like carts on legs when moving at high speeds. So if you’re looking to go fast or far in competition, your Holsteiner may not be your best bet.

The Andalusian Horse

The Andalusian Horse

Andalusians (which are also known as Pure Spanish Horses) have great agility and, in general, are very versatile. They were bred primarily to be used in bullfighting and equestrian sports, but they’re also useful as riding horses. Andalusians stand 15-16 hands high and can weigh between 800-1000 pounds. The breed is known for its stamina, intelligence, elegance, quick reflexes, courage and independence. Andalusians are available in black, bay and chestnut colors.

The Kladruber Horse

The Kladruber Horse

Thought to be a descendant of Arabians and Hungarian horses, these beautiful black horses were originally bred by Count Karl Kolowrat. Today, they are usually black with a white star on their foreheads or a small blaze. Originally, Kladrubers were used as all-purpose farm animals, but today they are also used in jumping and dressage because of their good temperament and strength. Plus, they have sturdy legs that make them reliable in show jumping!

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