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11 Best Horse Breeds for Jumping

Oliver Jones

Horses are biologically built to run, rear, and even clear tall obstacles while jumping. In fact, many breeds will turn a hoof to jumping if trained properly. A horse needs strength, skill, and speed to jump at competitive levels.

There are three types of horse jumping, including:

  • Hunter Jumping: This kind of horse-jumping competition judges horses on how well they jump over fences. Horses are guided through natural obstacles in the country.
  • Show Jumping: The horse that completes the jumping course the quickest with the lowest number of faults wins the competition.
  • Cross-Country Jumping: This endurance equine sport takes place in fields and forests. The horses are asked to navigate natural terrain, including hills, streams, logs, fences, and ditches.

No matter what kind of jumping competition you compete in, you want to ensure you’re astride a good mount. Here are the top 11 horse breeds for jumping.


1. Oldenburg

oldenburg horse
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A remarkably agile and athletic breed, Oldenburgs are selectively bred to create top-level jumping equines. The strong legs, willing personality, flashy colors, and superior intelligence of the Oldenburg breed make them a favorite in the show jumping circuit.

2. Dutch Warmblood

Dutch Warmblood
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Also known as the KWPN, the Dutch Warmblood is a talented breed that excels at jumping. This is in part due to their honest personality, uphill build, and comfortable gaits. Standing between 15.2 and 17.2 hands, the Dutch Warmblood is currently ranked the number one breed for jumping by the World Breeding Federation of Sports Horses. Because of this, these horses come with hefty price tags.

3. Quarter Horse

Quarter Horse
Image Credit: Pixabay

Despite being small and compact, the Quarter Horse is actually an excellent jumper and a natural athlete. With powerful hindquarters that can propel them over anything, Quarter Horses have the strength and stamina to go the distance during a cross-country jumping competition. It’s the most popular horse breed in the United States, and for good reason.

4. Trakehner

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

An elongated and elegant equine, the Trakehner is one of the best jumping breeds in the world. Because of their incredible stamina and pace, as well as their light weight, the Trakehner can effortlessly clear a variety of different jumps. This breed has competed in elite jumping competitions, including the Olympics and Burghley Horse Trials.

5. Thoroughbred

Thoroughbred horse
Image Credit: Pixabay

Despite its reputation for being “hot” under the saddle, the Thoroughbred is known for its speed, agility, and athleticism. With long legs and light bones, this breed is perfect for experienced riders who want to compete at national levels.

6. Holsteiner

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Hailing from Germany, the Holsteiner is one of the oldest warmblood horse breeds. Thanks to their high-set necks and muscular legs, the Holsteiner can jump higher than most breeds, making them a popular choice for show jumping competitions.

7. Irish Sport Horse

Irish Sport Horse
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Irish Sport Horse is a popular breed for jumping, especially in Ireland and the United Kingdom. Praised for its versatility and strength, the Irish Sport Horse was developed by crossing an Irish Thoroughbred and a traditional Irish Draft. Originally intended to be a fox-hunting breed, Irish Sport Horses can also dominate the showjumping arena.

8. Arabian

white arabian horse
Image Credit: Pikist

With its concave face, high tail carriage, and delicate features, the Arabian is an iconic horse breed. Evidence suggests that the breed is over 4,500 years old. Today, the Arabian is used in a number of different disciplines, including showjumping. With lean muscles and long legs, this horse can jump almost anything and looks great while doing it.

9. Hanoverian

Hanoverian jumps
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Standing between 15.2 and 17.3 hands high at the shoulder, the Hanoverian horse breed is one of the top-ranking jumpers in the world. Powerful, willing, and elegant, this breed masterfully conquers both show and hunter jumping competitions.

10. Selle Francais

Selle Francais
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Graceful and good-tempered, the Selle Francais was recently a top-pick for the French Olympic jumping teams. Standing 16 to 17 hands high, this breed is great for riders of all experience levels. Patient and a natural people pleaser, the Selle Francais will gladly jump anything you ask it to.

11. Mules

mule horse
Image Credit: Pixabay

While it may seem ridiculous, Mules are actually natural jumpers. A crossbreed of a male donkey and female horse, the Mule is smart, savvy, and strong.

horse shoe divider

What Makes a Good Jumping Horse?

These 11 horse breeds have two things in common: they all have the power to propel their bodies over obstacles and the passion to continually do so

Great jumping horses are strong, smart, and have excellent stamina. They are quick and willing learners and strive to please their riders.

If you are searching for a great jumping horse breed, look no further than these 11 terrific breeds.

Featured Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Oliver Jones

Oliver (Ollie) Jones - A zoologist and freelance writer living in South Australia with his partner Alex, their dog Pepper, and their cat Steve (who declined to be pictured). Ollie, originally from the USA, holds his master's degree in wildlife biology and moved to Australia to pursue his career and passion but has found a new love for working online and writing about animals of all types.