How High Can Horses Jump

Last updated on May 3rd, 2023 at 07:57 pm

How High Can Horses Jump

Horses compete in many different equestrian contests, and one of these is show jumping. It can be amazing to watch the elegance and grace of these creatures during a show jumping competition and can be shocking to see how high some of the horses are able to jump.

They are certainly able to get much higher than a person would be able to if put in the same situation.

Read on to learn more about how high a horse can jump, as well as some other details about show jumping and other related records! 

How High Can Horses Jump

The height that a horse can jump will depend upon a few factors, such as whether or not they are trained for show jumping or are an untrained horse. Of course, things such as age, physical condition, and health can factor in, too. The average horse that is untrained can jump an average of 2 to 4 feet with ease. In comparison, a trained competitive show jumping horse can jump anywhere from 5 to 7 feet. There are some horses that have been able to jump even higher than this, too! For instance, the world record is held by a horse called Huaso ex-Faithful. In 1949 in Chile, the rider Captain Alberto Larraguibel Morales rode Huaso ex-Faithful and made the record of a jump at 8 feet and 1 inch high. This record has still yet to be beat by another horse! 

How High Is the Highest Horse Jump?

If you are familiar with horse show jumping, then you know that not all jumps are set up to be the same height. Rather, heights may vary. In order to succeed in these types of competitions, a horse will need the ability to clear the highest of these jumps.

The highest jump or obstacle in a Grand Prix course is set up to be 5 feet 3 inches tall (or 1.6 meters). Grand Prix is the highest of all show jumping levels and boasts the most difficult courses. 

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How High Do Olympic Horses Jump?

The Olympics come around every four years, and it is not easy to be able to qualify to compete. Only the best of the best are able to go to the Olympics, so when it comes to horses, they are able to jump the highest when compared to most show jumping horses. The fence that is used in Olympic show jumping competitions is 5.2 feet high, or 1.6 meters. This, of course, means that the Olympic horses must be at least able to jump this height. The triple bar obstacle at the Olympics is 7.21 feet, or 2.2 meters wide, and the water jump distance has a maximum of 14.76 feet, or 4.5 meters.

How High Can Top Show Jumping Horses Jump?

Top show jumping horses are able to clear some of the highest obstacles on the courses, and can make it look easy while they’re doing it! Top show jumping horses are usually able to clear obstacles of up to 7 feet tall. This is typically seen in a special event called The Puissance. The Puissance is a high jump competition instead of being a timed jumping event. This only involves two jumps— one low level jump that acts as a warmup, and then a red brick wall that must be cleared by the horse and rider. The World Record for the Puissance event was set by a rider named Frank Sloothaak and his horse, Optiebeurs Golo. In 1991, the pair jumped a height of 7 feet 10 inches, or the equivalent of 2.38 meters. They broke the record that had been in place since 1978, of 7 feet 7 inches.

What Is the Highest Horse Jump Record?

The highest horse jump that we have on record is actually not from the Puissance event, though these horses are able to jump exceptionally high! Instead, the highest horse jump record belongs to the Chilean Captain Alberto Larraguibel and his horse, a Thoroughbred stallion. The horse and rider set their record on February 5, 1949. They jumped and cleared a fence that was 8 feet 1 inch high, or 2.47 high in meters. Their record has still not been bested to this day. That’s over 70 years that they have held this record! The height that they were able to achieve was higher than any of the modern jumps that we have discussed in this article, even higher than the jumps in the Puissance high jump competition and its resulting records.

Horse Jumping Events

There are a few different events for horses that involve jumping, not only show jumping! Show jumping is simply the one that seems to come to mind the quickest. We will go over a few of these types of events below and what they entail. 

Show Jumping

One of the reasons that show jumping is often the first to come to mind is that it is the most popular discipline, and it is practiced around the world. It is part of a group of English riding style equestrian events. In show jumping, the horse is directed by the rider to jump over different obstacles, such as verticals, spreads, and double and triple combinations. The horse must jump over these obstacles cleanly, and they are timed, too. If they exceed the time limit or knock over any obstacles, they are faulted when the score is tallied up. 


Steeplechasing is an event that is a distance horse race. It is typically conducted on a turf racecourse. Throughout the race, the horse and rider are also required to avoid obstacles. These obstacles include fence and ditch type obstacles, so the horse must jump over them in order to avoid them. It is not simply a straight shot type of race! Due to this, a steeplechase race is also known as a jump race, or jump racing. Steeplechasing is commonly practiced in areas such as Ireland, the United Kingdom, Australia, France, Canada, and the United States.


Agility, or horse agility, is another equestrian discipline where you may see your horse jumping over obstacles. It is internationally competitive, too, so there are plenty of areas where this is practiced. In agility, the rider is not usually on the horse. Instead, they are on foot, and they help to direct their horse so that the horse can navigate through an obstacle course of sorts. There are various obstacles involved that will require different methods to avoid them. One such method is to jump over them! The focus of horse agility is clear communication and strong, positive horsemanship. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the highest height a horse can jump?

Horses often compete in jumping competitions, and some of them are able to jump amazingly high. You may be wondering how high, exactly, a horse can jump. The highest jump on record was 8 feet and 1 inch. This record is for the equestrian high jump, and was set by Captain Alberto Larraguibel Morales. He was riding the horse Huaso ex-Faithful in Chile in 1949 when he achieved this. 

How high are the horse jumps in the Olympics?

Many horses compete in the Olympics in the equestrian events, and these events include horse jumping. In the Olympics, the riders are jumping their horses over fences that are about 5 feet tall, or 1.5 meters tall. Every time a horse does not clear the fence and knocks it down, they incur four faults. Also, a horse and rider incur one time fault per four seconds over the time that is allowed. If the competitors do not incur any faults, which does sometimes happen, there is then a jump off to determine the winner in the final. 

How high can a show jumping horse jump?

Of course, the height that a show jumping horse can jump may vary. It can depend upon the skill of the horse and how long they have been training, as well as their age and physical condition. The average, untrained horse is able to jump to a height of about 2 to 4 feet. However, when it comes to competitive show jumping horses, which have been trained to jump, of course, they can average jump heights of about 5 to 7 feet instead. The world record for a jump height is  8 feet and 1 inch. 

Can horses jump higher than humans?

If you have ever seen a horse training for show jumping, or gone to a show to see it, then you were probably amazed at how high these animals are able to jump with the proper training and direction from their rider. It is hard to compare a horse jumping to a person, as it is not something that people typically do at the same time. However, the general consensus is that horses are able to jump higher than humans. The world record for the highest horse jump is 8 feet and 1 inch. The world record for humans was 5 feet and 7 inches by Christopher Spell of the USA.

How tall is a standard horse jump?

Standard horse jumps for competitions are not the same height as Olympic horse show jumps. The Olympic horse show jumps are taller, and they are typically set up to be 5 feet tall for all competitors. Standard horse show jumps, which are not used for Olympic equestrian events, are still tall— but not quite this tall! They typically average between 4 and 5 feet high. The width of the horse jump, then, is usually a width between 10 to 12 feet wide. 

Can a horse jump 20 feet?

Horses are able to jump higher than we humans can, which may leave you wondering what exactly these animals are capable of! Generally speaking, a horse is able to jump three times their own length. This does make it possible for a horse to jump 20 feet. A perfect example is the horse Something. Andre Ferreira was able to get Something to jump 8.4 meters, which is the equivalent of 27.55 feet! If you look at the average length of a horse— 7 feet 9 inches— this would allow for an average jump of 23 feet and 6 inches, if you triple their length like the math we mentioned!