Show-jumping is one of the equestrian disciplines requiring the most precision. A horse intended for this type of exercise must therefore be studied in its entirety to identify its technical and physical abilities and his behaviour to avoid any error. Among the criteria that are important: the horse's abilities and the aim of its rider, whether professional or amateur.
Horse and rider, harmony without limit
Finding a horse that likes jumping is the basic criteria. He needs to have a voluntary, competitive temperament, it is extremely important. The horse must be healthy and willing to work. He must love to give you the best of himself, and to do this, it is essential that a trust is established between him and you. Osmosis/harmony is the key word between the rider and his horse. Even if the horse has a complicated character, if the confidence is established, it can express and develop all its talent. So, you have to know what you want from him and what he can give you.
Appropriate physic abilities
Knowing that the perfect horse, whether it is for the jump or something else, does not exist, it must however have the physical attributes adapted to this discipline. Don’t make any mistake: a beautiful neck, some powerful shoulders and back, a muscular back hand, good legs conformation which must be very straight and therefore less fragile. Beware of horses with big knees, capped hocks (oedema), swollen fetlocks (sizes of the tendons) indicating an animal that has been injured or premature "wear and tear". A good look at the horse also provides a lot of information about his temperament: lively, timid, confident, curious ... With a curved neckline up, the horse will have a better balance. A well-balanced shoulder will help the horse to jump with ease. A long back will give amplitude, but will sometimes cause difficulties to engage and get over jumps. A short back will guarantee agility and flexibility. The hindquarter is good criteria to judge the strength of a horse in show jumping. Of course, you have to try to ride him - is it a green horse? - and ask advice from professionals or your experienced friends before choosing a horse. Find out about his or her winning records and the championships in which he or she participated.
Jumping for beginners or experienced riders
Each rider must choose a horse according to his level of riding.
An amateur rider will choose a horse with potential, one that will allow him to progress and evolve according to his current level and his objectives. It is therefore important to know what you want to DO and DISCOVER with the future horse, and to determine its objectives. Take the time to try the horse and to project (in the work, in the competitions ... but also and above all, in the relationship with him).
Do not forget that there are no bad horses, but bad riders, which means that the amateur rider, by his lack of experience, can often be mistaken in the choice of his horse. Do not hesitate to call on a person you can trust and in the trade to see and try the horse! Each horse has its own temperament, personality, technique and experience based (of course) on his age.
Appointment with the vet and the osteopath
X-rays of the front & back legs need to be done when buying a sport horse. Before the acquisition, check with the vet all physical aspects that could compromise the horse's sporting capabilities over the long term. Eventually, during the visit, you will be able to detect its physical weaknesses or his bad behaviour. With a visit done by the osteopath, he will be able to identify if your horse "jumps flat" with little use of his back, if he tends to run out or rush to the obstacle, if he receives on the same foot, if it is difficult to turn short, if its hind legs drag or fail, or if it runs after the obstacle. So much information is needed before choosing a jumping horse that will give you satisfaction. In addition, the osteopath will be able to identify its lateral and vertical balance. In the first case, the horse propels itself upwards by turning on itself. In the second case, namely vertical balance, it will propel itself upwards while propelling itself forward. It will rush in all directions. His rider must show empathy and patience with his horse and educate him with perseverance to restore his confidence and manage his extreme reactions.
RODI advises you
- Know what you are aiming for to find a suitable horse for your needs. Proceed step by step.
- Go carefully over every physical aspect and check the behaviour that should have a good show-jumping horse.
- A check-up from the vet and the osteopath will help you to make the right choice.
- Check the origins of the horse and his results in competition.