What western disciplines can make the transition to jumping?
We are looking for a horse for my daughter to use for 2'-6" and under jumping with. Unfortunately in our area most of the reasonably priced horses are used for various western disciplines and anything with any jumping background is pricey. Since my daughter isn't looking for a high level hunter jumper and since she will be working with her trainer we are considering a horse without experience. So my question is what type of western discipline horses would make the easiest transition to hunter/jumper?
Can you expand your search area a bit? Maybe look into a rescue or OTTB?
This transition will depend entirely on the horse itself. You can't make a horse enjoy jumping if he doesn't naturally enjoy it, and your daughter isn't going to enjoy her experience if she's training a horse who doesn't want to jump.
That said, perhaps a general trail or ranch type, or speed/barrel bred horse will have the agility to attempt this new career? You won't want a western pleasure bred horse who will naturally chose to travel low & slow, as you need impulsion. Cutter & reiners may have more impulsion, but if they have the desire to jump, will they have the height or overall look for the H/J ring? Keep in mind that many western horses are neck reined on loose reins and asked to jog/lope, so it might take some time (and frustration to horse & rider) to get them to ride on contact at a more extended gait. Good luck!
What is your daughter's background? Jumping is a fairly dangerous equine sport, with risks going up 1,000-4,000%. One can reduce those risks with instruction, etc. However, trying to learn jumping while on a horse who doesn't know how to jump is likely to be as frustrating as learning to ride a horse on a green broke horse. And even riskier...
My daughter has been taking lessons for the last 3 1/2 years. She has spent last summer and this summer learning to jump with her lesson horse under close supervision.
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