What size hunter/jumper?
Hi! We are looking for a hunter/jumper for our son. He is 14yrs old and already 6ft and 170 lbs. We'd like a horse that he can ride if he continues to grow. What breed would you look to purchase?
I think a lot depends on his level of experience and what level he wants to compete at.
He's well tall enough to ride a 16hh plus and would look better on something that height
It isn't going to be height or a specific breed so much as build. He may look silly on a lanky 17hh TB but good on a 16hh stocky horse that has a barrel to accommodate a long leg.
He's training on a 16.3 TB now and it may just be me but he looks like he will outgrow him soon. Maybe too slender of a build for him in the long run.
Again, height isn't the key factor. There are many male riders that are tall and lanky that ride 16hh horses (or smaller) because the horse takes up their leg. Look at Eric Lamaze and Hickstead - Hickstead was only about 16hh.
Tall horses don't jump better so going up to a taller horse isn't a 'plus' especially as they take more to hold together especially for a less experienced rider than something more compact and 'punchy'
I'd move away from the TB's and look at some cross breeds that have more depth of girth and build about them. There are some good quality draft x TB's about, the Irish Draft x TB had always held its own in the jumping ring at top level. We have a WB X TB that's only 16'1 but she's a really well built mare and looks way bigger than she is because she has so much body
My son still rides his 15.2 cob and is the same height and weight as yours and one of my other sons was still tucking his legs up on a 14.2 UK jumping pony at 6ft so he could get another season in junior pony classes
JUSTDRESSAGE - I agree with you about the horse's height. My son isn't tall and lanky though. He's built like a football player. Very solid big boned but not overweight. (DH is 6'4" 200lbs. )He shot up recently so I suspect his weight to increase as well. I think he may need a horse with a larger build than the TB he's riding now. I have looked at a few TBs but am unconvinced they will be able to carry his weight in the long term. I am often wrong though and now little about TBs.
A horse can carry about 25% of its weight while doing strenuous work and not have any major problems (most Thoroughbreds will average around 1100 lbs so that would be a max of 275 lb rider, a range your son is well within) . I, too, suggest looking into perhaps a Thoroughbred/Warmblood cross or a nicely proportioned Thoroughbred/Draft. There are some really lovely ones out there. I'm also very partial to Irish Sport Horses and I think they are fabulous jumpers. Don't discount a horse due to breed though. Look for something that's got good thickness of bone and look at overall proportions and build. There are TONS of thicker built, tall-ish Thoroughbreds out there.
Also, while I know it's not hunter/jumpers, William Fox-Pitt (a very, very successful British eventer and one of the top eventers in the world currently) is about 6'6" and is commonly seen riding horses in the 16.0 hh-16.1 hh range. He's pretty long and lanky, but that's still a bit man on an average size horse and he looks fine. It's also about how effortless the rider makes it look! If you're just clunking around like a sack of potatoes up in the saddle than any size rider can look bad on any size horse.
^^^^ Well since I'm British and you mention Fox Pitt I have to put in a video of him jumping - just look how he tucks his long legs up!!
Thanks all! And I especially enjoyed the video. 6'6" - wow. And he doesn't look at all odd on the horse.
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