many horseriders on a track in an arena

What are the best horses to ride for showjumping?

Did you know that in showjumping competitions, horses can clear jumps as high as 1.60 meters (5.25 feet)? That's taller than the average human! Showjumping, a popular sport in equestrian competitions, combines the precision of horse riding with the thrill of navigating challenging courses. In this article, we will explore the top breeds favored by professionals for showjumping, and delve into the techniques and care required for these remarkable equine athletes.

Key Takeaways:

  • Showjumping competitions feature jumps as high as 1.60 meters (5.25 feet).
  • Showjumping combines horse riding with navigating challenging courses.
  • Professional riders have specific preferences for showjumping horse breeds.
  • Effective jumping techniques and proper horse care are crucial for success in showjumping.
  • Showjumping events provide a platform for horse and rider to showcase their skills.

Jumping Techniques and Horse Care

In the world of showjumping, mastering effective jumping techniques and prioritizing proper horse care are essential for achieving success. In this section, we will explore the training methods and exercises that are fundamental in developing a showjumping horse's jumping ability. Additionally, we will discuss the critical aspects of horse care that contribute to their overall health and well-being.

Jumping Techniques

Developing a strong foundation in jumping techniques is crucial for both horse and rider. It is essential to establish a steady and balanced jumping position to enable the horse to perform proper take-offs and landings. This position allows the rider to maintain control and communicate effectively with the horse during jumps.

During training, various exercises can be incorporated to refine the horse's jumping techniques. Gridwork exercises, which involve a series of jumps set at specific distances, help in enhancing the horse's technique, agility, and scope. The horse learns to adjust its strides, analyze distances, and execute accurate take-offs and landings.

Jumping exercises combined with pole work, such as cavaletti work, helps in developing the horse's adjustability and suppleness. Incorporating different types of jumps, such as oxers and combinations, challenges the horse's jumping technique and sharpens their ability to navigate complex courses during competitions.

It is important to note that each horse has its own unique jumping technique, and training should be tailored accordingly. Understanding the horse's strengths and weaknesses enables the trainer or rider to focus on specific areas that require improvement.

Horse Care

Proper horse care is vital for maintaining the overall health and well-being of showjumping horses. Regular grooming, including brushing and cleaning, helps to keep their coats healthy and free from dirt and debris. It is essential to check for any signs of injuries or skin irritations and provide appropriate treatment promptly.

Nutrition plays a significant role in a showjumping horse's performance and well-being. A balanced diet consisting of high-quality forage, grains, and supplements provides the necessary nutrients to support their athletic endeavors. Adequate hydration, through access to clean water at all times, is essential to prevent dehydration during training and competitions.

Exercise and turnout are also crucial elements of horse care. Regular exercise helps to maintain the horse's fitness and muscle tone, ensuring their ability to meet the physical demands of showjumping. Turnout, allowing horses time to graze and move freely in a safe environment, promotes mental and physical well-being.

Veterinary care and regular check-ups are essential to monitor the horse's health and address any potential issues. Vaccinations, dental care, and regular farrier visits are integral parts of ensuring the horse's ongoing well-being.

Top Showjumping Horse Breeds

Showjumping is a sport that demands horses with exceptional abilities and specific characteristics. In this section, we will introduce you to the top horse breeds that are widely chosen for showjumping. These breeds possess the qualities necessary to excel in this discipline and demonstrate remarkable performance in showjumping events.

Here are the top horse breeds commonly seen in showjumping:

  1. Hanoverian: Known for their athleticism and versatility, Hanoverians are highly sought after for showjumping. They have excellent jumping technique, scope, and a willing temperament, making them a favorite among professional riders.
  2. Belgian Warmblood: Belgian Warmbloods are known for their power and agility. They have a natural inclination for jumping and are renowned for their strength and endurance. Their exceptional jumping ability and calm temperament make them successful in high-level showjumping competitions.
  3. Dutch Warmblood: Dutch Warmbloods are bred with a focus on athleticism and performance. They possess a natural talent for jumping, combined with elegance and grace. With their strong work ethic and excellent trainability, they are often seen at the top levels of showjumping competitions.
  4. Holsteiner: Holsteiners are renowned for their jumping prowess and exceptional technique. They have a powerful build and are known for their scope, carefulness, and quick reflexes. These qualities make them highly competitive in showjumping.
  5. Irish Sport Horse: Irish Sport Horses are known for their versatility and adaptability. They possess a natural ability for jumping and excel in both showjumping and eventing. Their agility and athleticism make them consistent performers in showjumping events.

Why these breeds excel in showjumping

These top showjumping horse breeds excel in the sport due to a combination of factors:

  • Physical attributes: These breeds possess the necessary conformation, strength, agility, and balance to navigate challenging showjumping courses.
  • Jumping technique: They have excellent technique, with tight front-end form, powerful hindquarters, and quick reflexes, enabling them to clear obstacles efficiently.
  • Temperament: Showjumping horses must have a calm, willing, and trainable temperament. These breeds exhibit the right balance of sensitivity, bravery, and intelligence, making them easy to train and handle.
  • Athleticism: These breeds have natural athleticism, enabling them to perform complex jumping movements and maneuvers required in showjumping.

Showjumping horses of these top breeds often forge successful partnerships with professional riders, contributing to their accomplishments in equestrian competitions.

"These top horse breeds possess the qualities necessary to excel in showjumping and consistently deliver exceptional performances in showjumping events."

Next, we will delve into the world of professional riders and their preferred horses for showjumping, exploring the partnerships that contribute to their success.

Professional Riders and their Preferred Horses

In the world of showjumping, professional riders are integral to the success of this challenging equestrian discipline. These skilled individuals not only possess exceptional riding abilities but also have a deep understanding of the unique relationship between rider and horse. In this section, we will explore some renowned professional riders and discover the showjumping horses that they prefer to partner with.

Daniel Deusser and Cornet d'Amour

"Cornet d'Amour is an incredible partner in the showjumping arena," says Daniel Deusser, a German showjumper and Olympic medalist. "His exceptional power and athleticism combined with his brave nature make him a perfect choice for the demanding courses we face in competitions."

Daniel Deusser's partnership with Cornet d'Amour has resulted in numerous victories in top-level showjumping events worldwide. Their bond and understanding are evident in their synchronized performances, where the horse's trust in its rider play a crucial role.

Scott Brash and Hello Sanctos

"Hello Sanctos is an extraordinary showjumper and an absolute pleasure to ride," says Scott Brash, a British showjumper and former world number one. "His exceptional scope and incredible focus enable us to tackle the biggest and most technical jumps with precision and confidence."

Scott Brash and Hello Sanctos formed an iconic partnership that dominated the sport for several years. Together, they achieved remarkable success, including winning the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping – a feat that only a few riders have accomplished.

These are just a couple of examples of the many professional riders who have found their perfect match in showjumping horses. Each rider has their own set of criteria for selecting the ideal horse - from their athletic ability and jumping technique to their temperament and compatibility with the rider's style. The trust and synergy between the rider and their trusted mount are critical factors in achieving success in the highly competitive world of showjumping.

Showjumping Horses Preferred by Professional Riders

Professional Rider Preferred Horse
Daniel Deusser Cornet d'Amour
Scott Brash Hello Sanctos

Showjumping Events and Competitions

Showjumping events are a thrilling showcase of skill, precision, and athleticism for both horse and rider. These competitions provide an opportunity to witness the dynamic partnership between horse and rider as they navigate challenging courses with grace and agility. In this section, we will explore the different types of showjumping events and the level of competition they offer.

Types of Showjumping Competitions

There are various types of showjumping competitions that cater to different skill levels and aspirations. Here are a few examples:

  1. Local Showjumping: These events are often held at local equestrian centers and provide a starting point for novice riders and horses to gain experience in a competitive setting.
  2. National Showjumping: National level competitions offer a higher level of competition, with riders competing for prestigious titles and rankings within their country.
  3. International Showjumping: The pinnacle of showjumping is the international circuit, where top riders from around the world compete at renowned events such as the Olympic Games, World Equestrian Games, and Longines Global Champions Tour.

Each type of competition presents its own unique challenges, with courses designed to test the technical skills and athleticism of both horse and rider.

The Importance of Showjumping Events

Showjumping events play a crucial role in the development and recognition of both horses and riders. These competitions provide a platform for showcasing the talent, training, and dedication of the participants. For riders, success in showjumping events can lead to sponsorships, endorsements, and the opportunity to represent their country on an international stage. For horses, a strong performance in these events can enhance their value, attract potential buyers, and secure breeding opportunities.

Participating in showjumping events allows riders to showcase their skills while gaining valuable experience and feedback from esteemed judges and fellow competitors. It also provides an opportunity for riders to learn and grow, refining their techniques and strategies.

In addition, showjumping events spark excitement and draw crowds of equestrian enthusiasts who appreciate the precision and athleticism displayed by the competing horse and rider combinations. These events foster a sense of camaraderie among riders, as they come together to celebrate their shared passion for the sport.

Next, we will explore the factors to consider when choosing a showjumping horse, ensuring that you make the right decision when selecting your equine partner for these thrilling competitions.

Factors to Consider when Choosing a Showjumping Horse

When it comes to showjumping, selecting the right horse is crucial for success in equestrian competitions. Various factors need to be considered to ensure the perfect match between horse and rider. In this section, we will discuss these important factors, including breed suitability, temperament, conformation, and experience in competition.

Breed Suitability

Showjumping horses come in different breeds, each with its unique characteristics and abilities. Some horse breeds are specifically bred for jumping and have a natural aptitude for the sport. Breeds such as Warmbloods, Thoroughbreds, and Irish Sport Horses are commonly favored for their athleticism, agility, and jumping ability.

It's important to consider the breed's suitability for showjumping, as certain breeds may excel in other disciplines but not necessarily in jumping. Understanding the breed's traits and how they align with the demands of showjumping can help in making an informed choice.


A horse's temperament plays a significant role in its suitability for showjumping. Showjumping requires a horse that is brave, bold, and willing to take on challenging jumps and obstacles. The horse should possess a calm and focused demeanor, allowing the rider to maintain control and effectively communicate cues during the course.

While some horses may naturally possess the desired temperament for showjumping, others may require training and conditioning to develop the necessary qualities. Evaluating a horse's temperament through observation and trial rides can provide valuable insight into its suitability for the sport.


The horse's conformation, or physical structure, is another crucial factor to consider when choosing a showjumping horse. An ideal showjumping horse should have a strong, well-balanced frame with good angles and proportions. A well-built horse can better handle the physical demands of jumping, ensuring stability, power, and precision.

Key conformational attributes to assess include the horse's legs, specifically looking for proper alignment and correct bone structure. The horse's shoulder and hindquarters should also be well-developed to generate power and allow for efficient jumping mechanics.

Experience in Competition

Considering a horse's experience in competition can provide valuable insight into its potential for success in showjumping. A horse with a proven track record in competitive equestrian events demonstrates its ability to handle the pressures and challenges of the showjumping arena.

Experience encompasses factors such as the horse's performance in previous competitions, its exposure to different showjumping courses, and its ability to handle various types of jumps and obstacles. A well-seasoned showjumping horse can bring confidence and consistency to the rider, ensuring a higher likelihood of success in future competitions.

"Choosing the right showjumping horse requires a thoughtful evaluation of various factors, including breed suitability, temperament, conformation, and competition experience. By considering each of these aspects, riders can find the perfect equine partner to conquer the showjumping arena."

As you make the important decision of choosing a showjumping horse, remember to analyze the breed's suitability, evaluate the horse's temperament, assess its conformation, and consider its experience in competition. By taking these factors into account, you can increase your chances of finding the ideal horse that meets your needs and maximizes your potential in the world of showjumping.


In conclusion, showjumping horses play a crucial role in the success of professional riders in equestrian competitions. These athletes, both horse and rider, form a remarkable partnership that showcases their exceptional skills and teamwork. Showjumping is an exhilarating sport that demands agility, precision, and bravery from the horses, while professional riders demonstrate their expertise in guiding and communicating with their equine partners.

Professional riders rely on the qualities and abilities of specific showjumping horse breeds to excel in their chosen discipline. These horses possess the athleticism, scope, and technique required to navigate the challenging courses and clear the towering obstacles with finesse. Through years of training, careful nurturing, and meticulous care, professional riders forge a bond with their showjumping horses, ensuring a solid foundation for success in the dynamic world of equestrian competition.

As the showjumping arena becomes more competitive, professional riders continuously strive to find the best showjumping horses to enhance their chances of victory. The partnership between rider and horse is a testament to their dedication, hard work, and mutual respect. Together, they tackle the complexities of showjumping, exuding grace, power, and determination as they soar over breathtaking obstacles. Showjumping is a thrilling sport that captivates both riders and spectators, and the incredible feats achieved by these exceptional athletes continue to inspire and redefine the boundaries of excellence.


What are the best horses to ride for showjumping?

The best horses for showjumping are typically breeds that possess the athleticism, agility, and jumping ability required for this demanding equestrian competition. Some of the top breeds favored by professionals include the Dutch Warmblood, Belgian Warmblood, Hanoverian, Holsteiner, Selle Français, and Irish Sport Horse. These breeds are known for their natural jumping talent, trainability, and competitive spirit. However, it's important to note that individual horses within any breed can vary in their suitability for showjumping, so it's essential to consider factors such as conformation, temperament, and experience when selecting a showjumping horse.

What are some effective jumping techniques and horse care tips for showjumping?

Effective jumping techniques play a crucial role in achieving success in showjumping. Some key jumping techniques include maintaining a balanced position, approaching the fence with a controlled and rhythmic canter, using appropriate leg and rein aids to guide the horse's stride, and using proper release over the fence to allow the horse to stretch its head and neck. Horse care is also essential for the well-being and performance of showjumping horses. Regular exercise, a well-balanced diet, proper hoof care, veterinary check-ups, and appropriate rest are some of the key aspects of horse care to ensure the horse's physical and mental fitness.

Which horse breeds are commonly used for showjumping?

Several horse breeds are commonly used for showjumping due to their natural jumping ability and overall athleticism. Some of these breeds include the Dutch Warmblood, Belgian Warmblood, Hanoverian, Holsteiner, Selle Français, Irish Sport Horse, and Thoroughbred. These breeds are specifically bred for their showjumping potential and possess the physical attributes, such as powerful hindquarters, strong legs, and a trainable temperament, which make them excel in this discipline. However, it's important to note that individual horses within these breeds can vary in their suitability for showjumping, so it's essential to assess each horse's conformation, temperament, and aptitude for jumping.

Which horses do professional riders prefer for showjumping?

Professional riders have their own preferences when it comes to choosing horses for showjumping. Some riders may prefer specific horse breeds known for their jumping prowess, while others may focus more on the individual horse's talent and potential, regardless of breed. For example, Scott Brash, an accomplished showjumper, has achieved great success with horses like Hello Sanctos and Ursula XII. Ben Maher, another top rider, has had great partnerships with horses such as Explosion W and Diva II. Ultimately, the partnership between the rider and horse is crucial, and professional riders prioritize finding horses that complement their riding style and have the necessary attributes to excel in showjumping.

What are some important factors to consider when choosing a showjumping horse?

When choosing a showjumping horse, several factors should be taken into consideration. Firstly, the horse's breed and conformation should align with the requirements of showjumping, as this influences their jumping ability and overall performance. Secondly, the horse's temperament plays a vital role in their trainability and willingness to perform. A showjumping horse should have a brave, yet focused and calm temperament to handle the pressures of the competition arena. Additionally, prior experience in showjumping or related disciplines can be advantageous, as it demonstrates the horse's ability to navigate challenging courses. Lastly, it's important to assess the horse's overall health, soundness, and suitability for the rider's level of experience. Consulting with experienced trainers or professionals in the showjumping industry can provide valuable insights when selecting a showjumping horse.

What types of showjumping events and competitions are there?

Showjumping events and competitions encompass a range of formats and levels of difficulty. At the international level, there are prestigious events such as the Longines Global Champions Tour and the FEI World Cup Finals, where top riders from around the world compete for significant prize money and titles. National-level competitions are held in various countries and cater to both professional and amateur riders. These events may include Grand Prix classes, Speed classes, and accumulator classes, each with their own set of rules and challenges. Additionally, there are also youth and junior showjumping competitions that provide a platform for young riders to develop their skills and gain experience in the sport.

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