Why show jumping is one of the most thrilling horse sports?

Think horse sports and the first thing that comes to mind is probably dressage. But for many equestrian enthusiasts, show jumping is considered the ultimate horse sport. There are several reasons why this is the case. First, it is one of the most challenging disciplines because riders must balance speed, precision, and control while jumping over obstacles.

Second, it is a spectator-friendly sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. And lastly, it requires a high level of athleticism and training from both horses and riders. If you’re looking for an intense and exciting horse competition, then show jumping is definitely worth checking out!

What is horse show jumping?

Horse show jumping is better known by the name “Show Jumping.” This event is performed by the horse and rider navigating a specific obstacle course by jumping over hurdles. The obstacle course is designed by the organizers of the event and is in accordance with the intention of the event. There is a specific time limit as to the duration of the event. Judges grade and score the skill and efficiency and time taken to perform the event.

History of Show Jumping

The tradition of the English fox hunt is what gave birth to “Show Jumping” in the 1700’s. The laws known as “The Enclosure Acts” were written to put controlling guidelines on horse riding in order to insure safety for the horses.

Show Jumping events were originally mostly informal and were held in the British Isles and France throughout the 1800’s; the sport was not popular until fans were able to view the jumps in a controlled space (such as a stadium.) 

In Italy Army Captain Caprilli revolutionized show jumping by introducing the “forward seat.” The rider’s position on the horse was changed which provided better balance for the horse while jumping. This new riding position was immediately adopted worldwide and is still used today. It replaced the “Dressage seat” which hindered the horse’s jumping potential. The first formal jumping event was held in England in 1907.

The riders were soldiers . There were no formal rules for these competitions as the judges wrote a personal opinion of what they had witnessed. In 1925 The BSJA (British Show Jumping Association) was established, and made specific rules for jumping events. It was preceded by The American Horse Show Association founded in 1917. 

girl practicing show jumping with her horse

What are the jumping horses breeds

There are twelve horse breeds that are considered to be the best jumpers. They are The Holsteiner, The Arabian, The Oldenburg, The WestPhalian, The Trakehner, The Morgan, The Quarter Horse, The Connemara, The Dutch WarmBlood, The Irish Sport Horse, The Hanoverian, The Thoroughbreds. We will briefly describe their specific positive attributes.

  • The Holsteiner has a long lifespan (35 to 40 years)
  • The Arabian is very beautiful and has great athletic abilities and stature
  • The Oldenburg is kind hearted, easily trained and strong
  • The Westphalian Is easily trained, a fine athlete, and traces its bloodline to the first Persian King
  • The Trakehner has great style and jumping ability
  • The Morgan is much smaller than the other breeds, easily trained and friendly
  • The Quarter Horse is good tempered, has great strength, trainable, and very popular in the USA
  • The Connemara is of Irish origin, smaller, well balanced and ideal for training youngsters
  • The Dutch Warmblood is good natured and placid
  • The Irish Sport Horse is very calm and muscular
  • The Hanoverian is considered to be a great investment and a great performer
  •  The Thoroughbred is highly intelligent, loyal, agile and fast

Why show jumping is one of the most thrilling horse sports?

Is it necessary to train a horse to jump?

All horses naturally know how to jump. Any horse will instinctively know when it is necessary to jump. If you do not plan to have your horse perform jumping training is not necessary. However, if your intention is to compete with your horse in Show Jumping events it is recommended that both you and your horse have training with a seasoned professional trainer.

You both will learn the fine points of jumping and how to jump correctly according to standardized jumping procedures. These procedures must comply with strict internationally prescribed rules. In a competitive tournament, your jumping activity and jumping time will be keenly observed and scored by professional judges. This process will determine who is considered as the best jumper and the winner of the event.

These competitive events are conducted mostly on an adult level. However, there are also competitions for teenagers only.

Several interesting features about show jumping

Deciding to be involved with show jumping takes serious thinking. It is difficult, exhausting and dangerous. However, once you start to learn it most people quickly become addicted to it, and never stop. The rider must spend a lot of time with the horse in order to create a very strong bond with them; this is essential. 

 There are strict rules that must always be followed to protect both the horse and rider. A very close form of communication must be established between the rider and the horse for successful horse jumping to occur. 

Only the English riding style is permitted at the Olympics. The rider must develop habits so as not to tire easily; this sport requires a specific set of strenuous demands on the part of the rider. Hence it is essential that the rider develop meaningful endurance skills. The horse must carefully obey the riders commands in order for them to be successful. Horses are incredible animals with extraordinary abilities; the horse can understand the rider’s emotions and act accordingly.

show jumping sports image

How to keep your horse in tip top shape

One thing that the rider and the horse have in common is that we are both animals! Often we humans do not think of ourselves as animals. However, just as we must take care of our health we most definitely must take fine care of our horses’ health. In fact the points below are a good guide to follow for the proper care of your jumping horse in order to keep it in great shape and nurture its jumping skills.

  • Your vet should have the horse taking “joint nutraceuticals” (joint supplements) daily.
  • Your horse must have the best diet possible in order to keep its weight at a constant level. This will enhance its jumping performance.
  • Daily exercise is essential. It should not be too strenuous.
  • Medications to deworm should be used several times a year
  • Keeping the legs and hooves properly cared for is a must for jumpers.
  • The teeth must be filed on a regular basis to maintain overall health
  • The horse must be fed the preferred food for its breed in order to maintain peek health
  • An annual physical by a vet is required.
  • Certain vaccinations are required; in some cases regularly
  • The horse should have some down time for rest,relaxation and grazing.

It is essential that these points be kept in mind for the health of the horse. In order to be able to cope with the rigorous constraints that are required to participate in show jumping the horse must always be in peak condition. 

Factors to consider when buying a Show Jumping horse 

Serious factors should be thought about and seriously considered before buying a jumping horse. Below we will look into some of these.

  • Make a list of all the possibilities and alternatives that come to mind regarding purchasing the horse that you need.
  • Do not be influenced by the horse’s appearance. Be sure to research the horse’s background and performance records inclusive of their judging scores
  • Be sure that the horse will be able to perform for the next three to four years; this will influence the horses resale value
  • Be sure also that the horse is not too old
  • Investigate the horses health records
  • Be certain that the horse was well cared for
  • Research the horses breed
  • Carefully review your budget
  • Bear in mind that a jumping horse is all about form and precision
  • Decide if you prefer a colt or an experienced horse


We hope that what we have explained is helpful to you regarding Jumping Horses. They are in a specific category of their own, and it is a good idea to know about them and what is expected of them.

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