Horses are very much versatile animals and that is why they take part in a variety of activities. Horse owners like to raise and train their horses in order to excel at a particular sport or competition.
A well-known competition that several horse owners love to partake in is called show jumping. Show jumping is a sport wherein it improves the focus and agility of both the horse and its rider. The horse being ridden on must utilize its skills in order to succeed in overcoming obstacle courses.
For new horse owners that may be interested in participating in the sport, one thing that they must know is that their horse must be well-trained enough to actually qualify for the sport. The horse must be disciplined, fast, strong, and of course, be able to jump high. These are some of the few traits that an ideal show jumping horse must have.
How Much Are Show Jumping Horses
Show jumping horses cost around $10,000 and can even reach up to $100,000. Show jumping horses are this costly because they are already trained and raised to be show jumpers. They already have the skills needed in order to compete in the sport of show jumping.
There are other factors to consider as well when it comes to the price of a show jumping horse such as its breed and the dire and sam of the horse.
Is Show Jumping Bad For Horses?
Show jumping is technically bad for horses since horses don’t like jumping at all.
Normally, people have this preconception that horses love to jump and this usually comes from people who profit from sports that include horses jumping over things. In reality, horses hate jumping because this will result in severe consequences.
Horses can die if they land incorrectly after galloping and jumping over obstacles. This is exactly why horses avoid jumping and they are only forced to do so when they encounter situations that put them in danger.
When it comes to show jumping, horses usually suffer from whips when riders hit them because horses don’t want to make the jump in the first place. Although not riders are like this, the majority of riders slow their horses down once it approaches the obstacles. This actually gives horses the opportunity to calculate their jump
Moreover, a frequent scenario that happens during show jumping is when horses would avoid jumping over an obstacle and walk around it instead.
How Many Times A Week Should You Jump A Horse?
The frequency of how many times a horse should jump in a week depends on the horse itself. Moreover, riders should consider age and fitness. If the rider would be practicing with small obstacles, then it’s advisable to train their horse to jump three times a week.
However, most people recommend jumping horses only once or twice a week. When it comes to show jumping season it is advised to jump a horse once a week, so that would be a sequence of jumps in a day.
How Tall Are Show Jumping Horses?
Show jumping horses are tall horses and their height ranges from 14 hands (145 cm) to 16 hands (163 cm). The tallness of horses used in show jumping depends on what breed they are. Warmbloods and Thoroughbreds are examples of tall horses.
When it comes to a horse’s height, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are better jumpers compared to small horses. Jumping looks easier for tall horses because they make obstacles seem smaller when they jump over them due to their height.
How Long Do Show Jumping Horses Live?
Show jumping horses live up to 20-30 years of age. The lifespan of a horse also depends on its breed, so for those riders who own big horses, they would have to expect that the lifespan of their horse would be shorter.
The opposite happens to smaller breeds of horses. Show jumping horses live up to at least their 30s if they are raised properly and trained well (warm-ups must be included in their routines).
What Age Do Show Jumping Horses Retire?
A show jumping horse would retire at the age of 16 to 18-years-old. A horse will retire in any type of sport besides show jumping once they start to show signs of being incapable of performing like they used to.
Age is not really a factor when it comes to deciding on whether or not the horse would be retiring. As a matter of fact, there are old horses that can still do their jobs such as competing in various sports and some examples of these include:
- Magic, the oldest Arabian horse that is 45 years of age, is still competing in trail riding.
- Mercury, a 27-year-old Arabian, completed a 100 Mile Tevis Cup at 16th place.
What Makes A Horse Retire?
Conditions such as lameness, health issues, and fitness are contributors to the reason why a horse may retire. As stated earlier, age is not really a factor to consider in order to determine whether a horse must retire already or not.
People may look for these signs in their horses in order to help them decide whether or not their horse should be retiring:
- Do the horses still perform like they used to? If not, then that may be a sign to consider retiring the horse. If riders opt not to retire their horses, then the next best course of action to take is to compete in lower levels so that the horse won’t have to put in too much work and exert energy.
- Is the horse still fit? If the horse easily loses weight after every event and doesn’t regain said weight after some time, then it may be best to reduce the amount of energy it has to give by not making the horse compete in demanding events.
- Horse lameness. This type of condition affects all horses and some signs horses may show that indicates lameness is lacking the ability to perform well, subtle changes in its gait, and an unwillingness to perform. Horses feel pain in targeted areas on their limbs and it can either be subtle or severe pain.
Riders must be able to identify the signs of lameness in their horses and consult equine veterinarians immediately. Failure to do this may result in euthanasia, especially if the lameness is left untreated for a long time. This is a solid sign of making a horse retire so that the horse’s condition will not worsen.
- Other equine health issues. Some health issues will ultimately worsen the wellbeing of your horse and these issues include colic, laminitis, and Cushing’s Disease. These are some health issues that riders may want to look into and observe in their horses.
These are severe cases in horses and once a horse is diagnosed with any of these serious conditions, all activities that put them at risk must be halted. This is a clear reason for retiring a horse.
What Does Show Jumping Mean For Horses?
Horses see show jumping as nothing more than jumping over obstacles and getting either a reward for successfully doing their part or punished for being unable to do what they have to do.
There are reasons wherein horses comply with their rider besides being trained to jump over obstacles. For example, horses follow the commands of their rider because, in return, they will be rewarded with either food or affection.
Another reason why horses obey their riders is out of fear, there are some riders that punish their horses if they refuse to jump over obstacles.
Why Do Show Jumping Horses Wear Ear Coverings?
Horses wear ear coverings primarily to block out sounds coming from the background.
This inhibits them from reacting to the noises they hear from outside because once horses are startled, they may run and not finish jumping over the obstacles in the course and get points deducted during a competition.
Moreover, horses wear ear coverings because they are sensitive to sound, protect against insects, fashion, and transportation.
Show Jumping Horse Breeds
Horse breeds used in show jumping are the following (in no particular order):
- Dutch Warmblood
- Hanoverian Horse
- Belgian Warmblood
- Holsteiner Horse
- Oldenburg Horse
- Westphalian Horses
- Shagya Arabian Horse
- Hispano-Árabe Horse
- Selle Français Horse
- Quarter Horse
- Irish Draught Horse
When it comes to what breed overpowers all the others, there is simply no breed that exists to be that good. Every horse has its own advantages and disadvantages, some horses are better than others and vice versa.
The main thing here is, each and every one of the breeds mentioned above is used in show jumping and they are good at it.
All these breeds share a common denominator and that is having powerful legs to push them from the ground and jump over high obstacles.