Which Horse Jump is Right For Your Riders?

When designing a jumping course, either for practice sessions or a show, it is crucial to consider your riders’ strengths and weaknesses. Of course, you’ll also need to consider the strengths and weaknesses of their horses, as well.

When choosing what style of horse jump to include in your course, consider theĀ horse jump colors, height, and added features that could help or hinder the horse and rider.


A cross-rail jump is one of the most common for riders just starting out. These jumps familiarize the rider with the standard jumping position and the movement of a horse as it is jumping. The low center also provides more comfort for those who may be wary of jumping at first.

Vertical Jumps

Vertical jumps consist of one or more vertical bars. A vertical jump can be a reasonably simple one or, if you add additional bars, can give the horse and rider a bit more of a challenge. This type of jump is what a rider will experience once he or she is entirely comfortable with cross-rails.

Open Water Jumps

An open water jump is a pool of water a horse and rider must clear. There are no bars or walls to jump, but this forces the horse and rider to jump a wider distance. If a horse is fearful of water, this type of jump might be difficult.


Walls are simply jumps that consist of a lightweight, adjustable wall instead of bars. Like vertical jumps, a wall can be adjusted for height. The challenge lies in the inability of the horse to see where it will land on the other side. Walls require a great deal of trust and confidence between the horse and rider.


Combination jumps test precision and reaction skills. This type of jump places two or more jumps in quick succession and leaves room for only a few strides in between. In order to clear a combination jump, the horse and rider must have confidence and the ability to react quickly. A combination jump will likely be the most complex jump a rider will face on a course.

Learning to show jump can be an exciting time for your students. That first jump over the crossrails will give your riders a thrill, and over time, the confidence to tackle taller and more challenging jumps. Soon enough, they’ll be doing combination jumps with complete confidence in themselves and their abilities.