Popular Olympic Jumper Horse Breeds

2008 Beijing logoSome breeds are better suited to jumping competition than others, and in the trendy & faced paced world of show jumping breeds come & they go.

Here I’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular breeds used by the 2008 olympics equestrian jumping teams.

Belgian Warmblood

Belgian Warmblood Horse

Image from Culnacreann

The Belgians have long been known for their draft horses, however the Belgian Warmblood sport horse has become increasingly popular due to their affinity for big fences and charming personality.

Dutch Warmblood

Dutch Warmblood Horse

Image from Empoor

The Dutch Warmblood was bred specifically for looks and action in competition. This is done through a rigorous selection process using science and technology alongside traditional breeding practices to create a superior animal.


Hanoverian Horse

Image from nikki_tate

300 years of organized breeding has created an bloodline that not only excels in equestrian sports but has influenced many of the other breeds used in sport competitions today. The World Breed Federation for Sport Horses has named the Hanoverian the “Best of All” award every year since they opened their doors.


Holsteiner Horse

Image from: Charl888

Their rangy frame and a sensible intellect is not an accident, the Holsteiner horse has been moulded by centuries of breeding. The result is an animal notable for their bright, elastic movement; lean, athletic build; and intelligent, bold personality.


Oldenburg Horse

Image from Martin Bahmann

The Oldenburg horse holds one of the largest studbooks in Germany, a country known for their their eventing horses. Each autumn in Vechta, Oldenberg “Stallion Days” licensing evaluation is held which includes an auction and parades.

Selle Français

Selle Français

Also called the French Saddle Horse, this is a modern warmblood and a proven sport horse. There were more Selle Français horses competiting in the 2002 olympics than any other breed and they helped to win 5 of the 7 medals won by the French equestrians that year.

Swedish Warmblood

Swedish Warmblood Horse

Image from Jenny Dybedahl

Traces of domesticated horse ancestry in Sweden dates back as far as 4,000 BC, and since then the development of the Swedish Warmblood has been shaped by difficult conditions and the conflicts of war into a strong and reliable animal with a ground-eating gait.


Westphalian Horse

Image from Karlyne

Originally bred as working and farm animals, the Westphalian horse was created to improve German horse stocks in the 18th century. Many records of the bloodlines were destroyed throughout the turmoil in Germany during the early 20th century, however the breed persisted as a popular sporting horse anyway.

That’s Interesting

Note the similarities in their confirmation and which breeds are versatile enough to cross competition lines and work well in eventing and dressage too. Take a moment to meet the horses of the US olympic teams, jumpers, eventing, and dressage.

91 Comments on “Popular Olympic Jumper Horse Breeds

  1. Claire

    What about the Swiss warm bloods arent they good jumpers!!!! I have one myself and came first place last year in a dutch organised jumping show!!

    1. Amy

      Congratulations. Last year I was jumping a Belgian at a show for duch warm bloods and I tied with another rider so we did a jump off and i won.

    1. Holly

      Hi Clair I arnt competing at big show yet but I’m getting a horse soon to bring me on as I want to be able to show jump against the best . I may not have it all yet but at least I’m ambitious <3

    2. sariah

      Hey guys, I love horses and I am taking lessons on jumping. Do you have any pointers that might help me?

      1. Katrina

        I do have a pointer for you! Keep your heels down, sit up, and make sure to count down to your jump. It will help oh and get a feel for your horse.

      2. Courtney

        Heels and toes, toes and heels. SING IT IN YOUR SLEEP.!!! Hahahahahah. And bend your knees and arch your back #twerkteam. I just can’t twerk lol

  2. Silly

    Holsteiners tend to be extremly good jumpers, i recently went to a high end jumping show and there were, dutch, belgian, selle francais and holsteiners. they seem to be extremly popular

  3. Nina

    hy….I come from Croatia…and I have Lipizzan horses…..they are my favourite because of theyr temperament and beauty….!! love the pics……

  4. Emily

    i love horses. i don’t have my own, though, yet…
    anyway, i personally prefer thouroughbreds, arabians, and trakkeners.

    1. Karan

      Same but, I would like an oldenburg or a dutch warmblood. I hope i can win a lottery some day!

    2. Meghan

      I love Thoroughbreds too they are my favorite breed arent they amazing jumpers when crossed with the Irish Draft??

  5. Keely

    I’m new to English for 5-6 years I have been riding Western. For, about 1 year I have been riding English and I can jump 2 feet I personally prefer FOR jumping Arabians and crossbreds

    1. dreamer

      I’ve been riding for nine years, and i’m barely starting to jump. A good breed that has a lot of natural talent is welsh mountain ponies. I have one even though she’s too small. They’re tidy jumpers though

    2. That Amamzing Jumper

      Hi! i switched from western to english too! at first the posting trot was so hard to do cause i would go into western mode, but now my trainer says pick up your trot and i can post perfectly! The other trouble i had was with cantering, remember to lean back, keep your shoulders back and chest up, and don’t think about keeping your heels down, just do it :) It’ll come naturally eventally :) When your brushing your horse make sure you untangle and brush his/her mane very well, espeisally if its a jumping lesson, when you go up into your two point you don’t want your fingers to get stuck in the mane! When stopping sit back and pull a bit on the reins, english horses are more sensitive then western so they will ushally stop faster is you sit back. Also remember to wear riding gloves! Some horses pull the reins alot and trust me it hurts! So always remember your gloves and put your helmet on before putting the bridle on your horse, it will protect your head is the horse is being stubborn and decideds to be a giraffe (if you know what i mean XD) and also its harder to put it on when your holding the reins and your horse is eager to go. I hope this helped :)

    1. dreamer

      ten thousand is expensive, especially for a thirteen year old. how much do you think you’ll be able to get out of him?

      1. Kath

        I totally agree. I get that dutch warmbloods are super expensive but you shouldn’t be getting a 13 year for 10000…

  6. Averi

    tell me if you now of any barns or websites to check out for a horse about 16 hands and at least 9 years old and a gelding!

  7. Brooke

    What about Trakehners? They have a super-selective studbook, and to get in both the horse’s parents have to be Trakehners or one parent has to be a Trakehner and the other has to be either a TB or an Arab. The horse can’t just look like a Trakehner (unlike other warmblood breeds) it has to have the blood. Trakehners make excellent jumpers, dressage, or eventing mounts. They are the most refined of the warmblood breeds, with elastic gaits and high intelligence.

    1. Trish

      Yes, what about Trakehners? I was surprised they weren’t in the eventing category. They have a willing temperment and intelligence and good atheletic capability… What’s the drawback?

  8. Alexia

    I have a Holsteiner and he is a great Jumper. He finds Dressage really boring and loves hacks. Same as my moms Swedish Warmblood enjoys Jumping a lot more :P… We always had Holsteiners, this is our first Swedish Horse. She’s great.

  9. Callie

    I love the Dutch warmblood,but then the Holsteiner and then the Hanoverian,it really is confusing!!LOL!But my trainer says to look at obedience 1st then at what you would like to do with him/her.i have a Dutch warmblood gelding and im 11 and his names apollo but i chose him cus he did show jumping and a little dressage.

  10. Rebekah

    Dutches, Hanos, Holsteiners, & Oldenburgs are mainly the top jumpers. I have read about these breeds for years & still debating what I want. If you want a horse for eventing I suggest the Hano. For show jumping I also suggest Oldenburgs & Holsteins. And lastly, Dutches for dressage…

    I might be looking for a future sports horse, so if you see any sells that are under 20K, just tell me! The horse can be a stallion, gelding, or mare. I ridden some of the badest horses at my near by EC. Once likes to try to bite me, another tries to lunges me around the arena and tries to make me fall off. Oh, why did my instructor had to put me on that stubburn horse! LOL!

  11. Maggie

    i have a TB/warblood cross. he’s really well built and is 17.2 and i love him! he jumps like he’s got wings. i do prefer the warmblood in him more than the TB. my parents both have swedish warmbloods that are amazing jumpers and have the best disposition.

  12. Callie

    i sold apollo!!!DX to my trainer!!!XD THANK GOODNESS!!!i got another Dutch Warmblood though!whoo-hoo!his name is Jester,hes 16.1,hes as gentle as a lamb and is really good at shoeing,grooming,etc.I FREAKIN LOVE THE Dutch Warmblood!!!ok,deep breath callie,deep breath!whooo,ok im good.Yeah and he does mainly jumping but does a little eveting and im starting to teach him little dressage i know.So yeah hes really a gr8 horse

  13. EventerOneOnOne

    I have a beauiful Bay Hanoverian Gelding named Chance we do eventing and show,his show name is Lucky Chance but we all call him Chance.He is an amazing jumper and LOVES going on trails and splashing through water,lol,bye

  14. SomeChica

    Hey Rebekah! im lookng to buy a horse,perhaps a warmblood. But idk which breed and since it seems u have alot of experience,not tht i dont but im stuck on which breed to go with.I want to do Show Jumping competievely and dressage for fun and go on trails alot,so which breed fits in with those things?Anyone tht would help would be my hero!!lol thanks=D

    1. miss vanessa joy

      i am a breeder and i am having two horses for adoption please do get back for more details.

  15. Taubin

    Have a horse myself, his name is Shot-Gun Blues, he is a BEAUTIFUL, large cheastnut thoroughbred and loves jumping…he often excites himself but loves doing cross country:-) hehe

  16. SomeChica

    does anyone know a really great show jumping horse breed?cus tht basically what i want to do,show jumping,show jumping and lastly show jumping.so if anyone knew an amazing jumper horse breed tht would be awesome!thanks


      Hanoverians are perfect for jumping if your looking for a A-Rated show horse. But, I would consider Thoroughbreds to be one of the best jumpers. They have stamina, speed, and the long powerful legs, I would consider them a cheaper version of a warmblood or Hanoverian. lol. I have a thoroughbred and she is pretty good, she is only 15.3 hands and she jumps like a frog! I also rid a bigger Thoroughbred and he is aboput 16.2 he jumper 4ft+ 😉

  17. Storm

    Well… we are going to be getting a warmblood in 30 days, and I am soo excited! I have my own horse, but she isn’t any kind of these in the pictures… she is actually a Andalusion, and she is absoloutly gourgous! I have only ridden Western on her so far, but I HAVE ridden English to, and I like riding both, I am going to be training soon with her so I can do jumping! I absoulutly LOVE it!:D

  18. Erin

    We have a gorgeous Belgium Warmblood Hanoverian Filly 5 months old “Phoenix” for sale . She is conformational beauty in motion. Her saddle seat is perfect. Her shoulder slope is awesome. Her top line is terrific. She has powerful hindquarters and perfect straight legs. She has just the cutest head…best of all she is sweet to boot. She is super intelligent. We have already taught her to clip, lead and load. You can touch her anywhere, stomach, legs all over. She even lets you hug her neck, stomach…anywhere really. At 3 months she jumped 2 feet all on her own. My daughter was hugging her as she was lying down. She is very trusting and sweet…but she is VERY BOLD and Courageous. I really want to find a perons that will take her all the way. She is so perfect for someone who wants to jump, hunt or dressage. She was bred for that exact purpose. We bought her mama “Utah” this last year already bred by Hans Lengers Stud “Rasmataz”. (Hans was one of the orginal hanoverian association board members and current breeder). Everyone that has seen this big filly has commented on her incredible conformation. She will reach almost 17 hands. My trainer was extremely impressed commenting that his yearlings are not nearly as far along in ability and “training”. She is handled daily and loved by children and adults alike. We are only asking $6,000. Please contact me if you are interested. I can garauntee you won’t be disappointed. We have not advertised her for sale yet. It is hard to let go because she is just so darn cute and so very easy to care for. I am not really in any hurry. I just want to find the right person. I especially would love to find a young girl who wants to hunt and jump, but will love her as much as my 12 year old loves the horse she is raising. The bond between the two is incredible and I know how much she loves her horse. I hope I will find someone who will love Phoenix as much. If you want to raise, train and compete with filly bred for grand prix competition please call me or email me. (704-847-3424) bluewavestable@gmail.com

  19. kayne

    Hey I love the pics they’re great.. I must say my family and I have had our fair share of horses and I have just imported a Hanoverian from Germany of course! I must say he is worth his weight in gold 17.3hh and he can jump anything and just as good on the flat. If youre looking for a warmblood then get a Hanoverian you’ll not go far wrong!!

  20. Leah

    and what about the palomino I have one and she is a wonderful jumper and I have recently bred her with a gorgious dutch wormblood my old friend imported him from in farm in spain… and I know that palomino isn’t an importent breed but I think that its the inside that counts.

    1. Paige Post author

      All breeds are important Leah. Palomino is a color breed & registered based on their coloring rather than their bloodlines. There are a lot of breeds that can be palomino and plenty of them are great jumpers. :)

    2. QHgirl

      I do have to say that i think whats in the inside that counts, for people and horses. XD Leah- whens the foal due???
      Anyways, i ride and i REALLY want a horse. Its been like 3 years, but on my 1st year i was starting to jump! Anyone have any suggestions on breeds to look for??

  21. Paige Post author

    Thanks so much to everyone sharing their favorite jumping breeds. There are so many of them out there! I’m guilty of liking the big, bulky warmblood breeds the best – there is something so strong and solid about them.

  22. November B

    I have a QH that’s appendix TB and he is very tall and very slim and sporty for a QH. He jumps GREAT and looks great doing it!!! He is 16hh. Right now we are jumping about 3’3

  23. Grace

    My 11 year old Dutch Warmblood/Thoroughbred buddy sure loves to jump! I’ve noticed that a whole ton of the show jumpers are Dutchies, too 😀

  24. Jessica

    I really like Canadian Warmbloods. They have a good build, and a really nice pace. I think they should be on that list!!!

  25. Hi!

    Awesome list! Welsh Section D’s are okay jumpers too. I ride a D and he is effortless over the jumps, not sure if this is a running trait though. My friend has a selection of Iberian breeds and they seem pretty good at sailing over them 😀

  26. Erin C

    I’ve always loved the Anglo-Arab, my dream is to jump but i don’t know how… could anybody give me a few tips?

    1. HorseGurl

      to Erin about jumping, ive been jumping since i was 7, and now i am 12, jumping 2’6″ on either a 15.3 Quarter/Paint, or a 13.2 Welsh Pony. U just got to remember to hold on!

  27. Alyssa

    I heard that a Thoroughbred/Dutch-Warmblood could jump anything! I really want one now because I’m starting to do more hunter-jumper shows and I need a good athletic horse that can gracefully maneuver through courses and who loves to jump; but if anyone has a better breed please help me out! :)

  28. kaylee

    whatever happened to thoroughbreds???? lol jks ive heard holsteiners are pretty fantastic, not that i jump or anything…. lol i stick to racing and western reining

  29. Quinn

    I have a lovely purebred fjord and I know that they are not natural jumpers but the highest course he has ever done was three foot nine and he finished with eight faults 

  30. Holly

    Hey I’m only thirteen and I love show jumping and wish to train on a pro yard when I’m older I like the Belgium Warm blood its body is really nice x

  31. Holly

    Hey xx I love show jumping I wish to compete at big shows when I’m older my favourite is the Belgian warmblood cause it’s got a lovely shape .

  32. horseaddict

    Alyssa, I would probably look more into a Dutch Warmblood for movement and jumping ability. But, you might find a nice Thoroughbred for a cheaper price, though a Dutch Warmblood will take you farther into your career.

  33. Rose Martin

    Just wanted your thoughts?Have come across a hanoverian in our barn, which is for “retired” horses. He is here due to ? knee problems. No more jumping. If his owner rids herself of him she came get another. I happen to like “Phill” very much, he is a riot to be around, funny, fun. She is willing to just give him to anyone. just wondering if you think it would be a bad idea to have him for slow going trail rides? Just want him to be safe.

    NO JUMPING He’s ten, I’m sixty.

  34. James

    I am thinking in buying a arabian to start aren’t they good please someone help me find a cheap but good horse max price 7000$

  35. Kittengirl

    I have an arab who’s an awesome jumper. I only found that out when I was riding her nd she veered off course and jumped over a lawnchair…

  36. Morgan

    What about Arabians?! I have one he barely stands 15 hands and he’s cleared 6 foot fences and excels at speed and hunter jumping.Why should WB’s get lot’s of creadit half of them are really dumb.My arabian can tell the difference between a jumping, dressage, roping and reining saddles.He can extend his movements just by me changing my seat or clicking to him.What fancy horse knows how to do that?Oh and not to mention that he was abused and he hated people now I walk in the pasture and he atomatically looks at me and trots over.(one time he cantered and galloped over)And he has so much character.

  37. Danielle

    I have a Quarter Horse that is actually a very good jumper she can jump 4ft! she’s 13 but still acts like she’s 5 i wouldn’t recommend them i think i just got lucky but i personally prefer the Dutch Warmblood to any other breed for show jumping

  38. Emily

    i have a horse of my own he is an Australian Stock horse cross Quarter horse. he is beautiful and can JUMP!!! he jumps 1 metre bareback!!! and has a lot of style. i love thoroughbreds they are beautiful but some are very lazy due to their racing career…
    i personally think Belgian Warmbloods win the vote by far.

  39. Sammi

    Personally I think the best breed for jumping is whatever you are comfortable with. I have jumped a wide range of breeds over the years but have never felt safer than on my TB ex-racer. He was a little fizzy and excited a first but calmed right down and settled in after only a month. He can now comfortably clear over 4ft and that’s only after a year of training. They are also extremely cheap to buy off the track! My boy only cost me $500 in Australia and after a year of training and competing I have had offers of $20,000+ for him. So if you want something cheap and trainable why not give an ex-racer a home? So many of them end up in glue factories all over the world simply because they’re not fast enough to race. I don’t see the point in paying thousands and thousands of dollars for a horse simply because of it’s breed when you could get something for free that has a better and more trainable nature :)

  40. Maddison

    Hi. I am not a huge jumper but want to get back into it. I use to train with a Arab cross pony 13.2hh who was jumping her height. I’ve done a fair deal of jumping and Arabs seem amazing, barely feel their jump yet the clear. Never had an Arab put a foot wrong for me in jumping.
    I don’t like Tbs for jumping though, I’ve tried with three and they are rushed and clumsy. Maybe that’s just my experience.

    1. Mariah

      Something with a little thoroughbred and something heavy in there. ThoroughbredxClevland Bays are a smooth ride, I take my mare 4’3 with her and its quite comfortable.

  41. vickie

    hi folks, i’m over in the uk, i’ve had my own two horses for 8 and 10 years. one is cleveland bay x tb, i have shown him in smaller dressage and jumping classes, though for show hunter he is lacking in conformation (a little straight in the shoulder and v. high withered). i also have a tb mare from racing lines who was working 4’3″ fences at home as a 4yo with pleanty scope and floaty, elastic gait. she hasnt got perfect conformation but she’s a lot tidier than the gelding and i cant show her as she, at 5yo, got proud flesh on the heel which wont budge. i also now have twin kids and am just now breaking their welsh secA mares. by the time theyre ready to show i would like to be competing myself. since money is tight i will only be able to show locally at the same venues… i want to put the mare (fleur) into foal and have a nice allrounder i can event, but with nice enough conformation and build for ridden and in hand hunter classes. i tried putting her into foal to my friends lovely pre andalusian stallion, but the mating concluded in a natural termination of a foal a blooming rigged highland ‘gelding’ had created, then the stallion died before she was fit to cover again… i’m looking at warmbloods, tbs and a hanno, but the stallions are limited (north scotland) and wondering if anyone has an idea what i should be looking at? i’m pretty lost haha

  42. Jill

    Everyone, remember these are just most common horse breeds seen at the higher levels. Plus it was in 2008, I’m sure other horse breeds have become more popular/common. No need to freak out about a horse breed not being up on the list. Just needed to point that out.

    Thoroughbreds tend to not be in the higher jumping/dressage arenas because they aren’t built for the grand prix movement or height of the jumps; they were built for speed. If you compare their skinny legs and other body parts, they are smaller and not as strong as warmbloods. Personally, they are great horses though. Generally great personalities, temperment, work ability, and brain.

    Honestly, if you want to go to the higher levels, you are probably more likely succeed on the back of a warmblood, and any warmblood. Don’t take my words though, there have been some Thoroughbreds that have proven they have the ability. Plus, in todays economy a Thoroughbred is probably the better choice, price wise, but the economy is slowly becoming better and I’m sure there are tons of warmbloods that are worth the price though.

    In my opinion though, Dutch Warmbloods and Hanoverians have defientely proven themselves in the show rings of all levels. I actually own a mix of the two(Dutch Warmblood and Hanoverian) and I swear, he is a once in a lifetime horse.

  43. Braeden

    I’m going to tell you that you do not need a Warmblood to win. Thoroughbreds are FANTASTIC eventers,jumpers and dressage horses. People are stupid to believe that you need a warmblood. It’s ridiculous get real people.

    1. CJ

      I know! I have a thoroughbred who is an amazing eventing horse! Everyone thought I was crazy to get an OTTB because its not the “in-styler breed”, well when I beat them I sure proved them worng XD

  44. Lily

    Aww, I love all of the breeds, im getting a filly in September 😀 I don’t really know what she is classed as, she has these breeds in her:
    Dutch Warmblood
    Anglo-European Studbook
    British Sport Horse
    Selle Francais
    Irish Draught Sport Horse and
    Do you think she’ll be able to jump, she going to make approx 16.2hh and is already 13hh+ at five month old :)
    I also have a 14.1hh gypsy nag (sports cob) , who can jump 1m20, the filly is tricoloured, the sports cob is piebald x

  45. Mariah

    I have a 9 year old Thouroughbred Clevland Bay cross, she has pleanty of scope but needs to be a little bit more gutsy. She does 4’3 without a hitch but she gets nervous anything bigger. Great horse though, were working on 1st level dressage and she excels at that as well. I recomend this breed as a jumper.

  46. daisy

    i love horses i have one of my own but idk what breed she is and she is a natural jumper. i learned that the hard way. she jumped the gate an went in to somebody else’s yard!!!!! and it was winter im hoping to get some were with in jumping lol XD oh and her name is windy if u were wondering

  47. CJ

    I have an OTTB (off-track thoroughbred) and she is pretty good jumper. Easy 4′ amazing mover and amazing at cross-country. You dont need a fancy expensive breed to be good at high level jumping. I know a pure-bred Arab that competed 4 feet (did I mention he is a pony XD) So I suggest buy for skill, temperment, age, keep before you buy for breed (unless your a breeder of course)

  48. louise wildon is the best horse rider eva!!

    omgerz i hav a howrse, he’z called jimmy!!!!!! he’z A THOROUGHBRED cross shetland x oldenburger lol!!!!! he’z a pretty awkies hite but i loves him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! he can jump 50cm frm a trot!!!!!!!!!!!! he’z jst too awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i won a 45cm jumping comp on him omg and i won £3!!!!!!!!!!!!!! do u guyz lyk tha sound of ma howrse????????????? lol bye <3xxx

  49. Sarah

    I have been riding for 11 years I have have my own horse his name is Charlie he is a thoroughbred they are great at jumping the highest I have jumped is 3 1/2 feet I haven’t been jumping the past three months because of his colic surgery.but I think all the breads on this page are very and before you get your own horse try jumping it first and see how you you like the way it jumps and if you feel good about riding it.

  50. Lily

    I am currently riding and jumping a quarter horse named Opie and was wondering, do you suppose quarter horses aren’t good at jumping?

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