Show Jumping: The Best Horse Breeds

Last Updated on July 27, 2020 by Allison Price

Horses, by nature, can turn their hoof to jumping as long as they have a willing attitude.

All horses are capable of jumping. But the process of breeding with performance and discipline in mind… produced sports horses around the world.

Although they are all able to jump, some horse breeds are better in jumping than others.

We will look into the different horse breeds known for excellent in show jumping. And the qualities of a good show jumper.

Dutch Warmblood

Also known as KWPN Warmblood.

This is a talented horse, excellent in both dressage and jumping. Horses with this breed stands out because of its lightness and fantastic temperament. It is 1.60m (63) in height. And usually stands between 15.2hh and 17.2hh. This is what makes them a great size.

It has been ranked number 1 in jumping by the World Breeding Federation for Sports Horses. The Dutch Warmblood has a muscular and arched neck. It has defined withers and muscular hindquarters. Its rump is short and flat. That’s is why they are well bred and expensive to buy.

This breed is an excellent start if you are looking to produce a horse to bring up through the grades.


This is an old and well-respected breed. Holsteiner is somehow heavier than others. But it is a widely appreciated horse. Because of its elegant structure and obedient and gentle nature. This breed originated in Germany.

The Holsteiner horse has a small head. With an arched neck and very powerful hindquarters. It has a strong back and this horse is 1.73m in height.

Belgian Warmblood

A Belgian Warmblood horse has a very light figure. Always willing to show its well-renowned jumping technique. It has an attractive, muscular head and a strong back. It is usually 1.73m tall. Their joints are strong. And they have a broad chest. Also, they have a friendly and willing temperament.


The Oldenburg horse is a very powerful one. It was originally conceived for dragging carts.

This horse has a slender and noble head. Also, it has a strong back. And long and muscular legs. With well-formed hooves. And it measures 1.78m in height.

Westphalian Horses

The Westphalian is an extraordinary horse famous in all international competitions. Because of its attractive appearance. It is a gentle horse with a very balanced temperament meeting the demands of the jockey. A lot of champion horses belong to this excellent breed.

It is 1.78m in height. It is considered as one of the most beautiful and suitable horses for show jumping. Because of its harmonious, powerful and excellent structure.

Irish Draught Horse

This horse has a beautiful appearance. It is known as the national horse of Ireland. It carries out lots of heavy work because of its powerful structure. It is 1.70m in height. And it has a long, arched neck. Also, it has a strong bones and very muscular hindquarters and hocks.

The Irish Draught horses are very obedient, courageous and intelligent.


The Lusitano is noted for its ability as a war horse. It is about 1.63m tall. It has an attractive head with short and thick neck. The Lusitano horse has a short and compact back with straight and strong shoulders. Its hindquarters are strong and muscular.

It has an excellent temperament. It is intelligent, austere, courageous and a noble and generous horse.

Shagya Arabian Horse

It is a breed with an amazing ability for jumping. It measures 1.63m in height. It has small ears and very expressive eyes. This horse has a long and slender neck with a slightly sunken back, it has strong legs with dry joints.

The temperament of this horse is characterized by its docility and friendly disposition.

Hispano-Arabe Horse

This thoroughbred is a beautiful horse. It behaves excellently in different equine sports, including jumping.

It is 1.58m in height. And it has a straight face and expressive eyes and small ears. This horse has a medium-sized, arched neck, with a straight and short back. The legs are strong and long and it has a broad and deep chest.

This horse has a lively temperament. It is very brave and versatile. With sharp intelligence and high levels of energy.

What are the qualities of a good show jumping horse?

Are you having plans to get a show jumping horse? There are some qualities that you must see in a horse to consider it a good show jumping horse. It is not the same as a riding horse. You need to look for specific qualities so you know it will perform well during competitions.

When getting a horse that will excel in show jumping events, these are the qualities you should look for:

Shape and Structure

The shape and structure of a horse have a huge influence on how it will perform during competitions. You need to meet the height of the horse, make sure to consider your own height as well. You might need a taller horse if you are tall. Tall horses can easily jump taller fences. But there are instances that smaller ones can do the same. It is also a matter of skill and practice.

You also need to check the legs. They have to be straight and sturdy. Hooves should be well-trimmed and uniformed. Also, make sure that there are no signs of tendon injuries or club feet. Lastly, look for long and upright shoulders. It is important to help them with their form as they jump fences.

Form while jumping and running

Before you decide to buy the one you are considering, make sure you try to ride on it. Get a feel for how it jumps while you are on it. Also, watch someone else do it so you can see how the horse jumps from afar. Some horses are quite sloppy when jumping. Some can also do it naturally. Go for the one who can do it naturally. Because that means you do not have to spend too much time training it.

Be cautious on how the horse reacts as it approaches the fence. It is a good sign if their ear perks up or they look eager. They must appear focused and well aware of what they need to do. This makes them a good show jumper.


It’s always a good thing if a horse has experience. It is a good sign if they have competed in the past. It will help you know the right strategy to use when it comes to training them.

If they remain eager to jump and seems to have fun while doing it, you will have a well future with that horse. Take a look at the details of the difficulty level, placement, and demands if it has a competition history.


A good jumping horse depends on the breed. Most show jumpers are warmbloods. But how it has been trained and its qualities are factors also that makes them excellent in show jumping. You may consider a certain breed from the ones mention above. But do not forget to look for the qualities as well. If the three important qualities are checked, then that could be the perfect horse that you need.

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!