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The Hanoverian Breed, Are They the Best Show Jumping Horses?

Last updated: December 19, 2022

By: Miles HenryFact Checked

I was watching a magnificent Hanoverian prancing in a paddock when the horse’s owner strolled over and stated: “these animals are not only great looking, they’re also the best show jumping breed in the world.” I decided I needed to learn more about the Hanoverian breed.

The Hanoverian horse breed indeed is one of, if not the best, show jumping breeds in the world. They frequently win major competitions, such as the Grand Prix and Olympics.

Hanoverian horses are remarkable animals with the ability to excel in a variety of equine disciplines. There’s a lot to learn about this athletic horse breed.

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Hanoverians have great success in showjumping.

International show jumping competitions have been around for over 100 years, and since its inception, Hanoverians have reigned supreme. In 1912 the Olympics introduced show jumping as an international equine sport, and as expected, they won a medal.

Showjumping is an equestrian event wherein a horse and rider work together to jump a series of obstacles within a specific amount of time. In each competition, the course varies, and the obstacles are of different lengths and heights.

Because each course is different, a successful horse and rider team needs to be synchronized and move as one component. They must rely on each other, and the rider carefully guides the horse to control its approach and angle to each obstacle.

The team receives a penalty if they knock down a railing, the horse refuses a jump, touches water or falls. The team that makes it through the course with the most points wins the competition. Successful show jumping horses are smart, fast, fearless, and athletic.

Show-jumping can be either an individual riding event or can be grouped with other equine competitions such as dressage, hunters, or horsemanship.

Hanoverian horses are the perfect breed for showjumping; they are smart, athletic, and powerful animals. This horse breed has consistently been one of the top showjumping breeds in international competition. They have won the World Cup and Olympic gold medals on numerous occasions.

Hanoverian Breed Characteristics

Specific breeds tend to have traits that are common across the group, but keep in mind that each horse is an individual, and some horses are outliers. However, knowing the characteristics of a breed is useful when researching animals. With this tidbit in mind, let’s look at the traits inherent in Hanoverians.

These warmbloods are bred as a sports horse. They are talented, athletic horses with the characteristics necessary to compete at the highest level of equines sports.


Hanoverians are tall horses, and it is not unusual to see them reach 18 hands high. Their height is likely a factor in their ability to leap such high obstacles. Their average height is a little over 16.2 hands tall.


Their sloping shoulders and hindquarters are powerful and robust. They have sturdy straight legs with short bones. Hanoverians have strong slender necks that tie into a deep and broad chest. Their back is neither short nor long but proportionate to their bodies, and they have a broad, slightly sloping croup.


The breed has a plain well-set head without distinguishing characteristics seen in many other kinds, such as the dished-faced Arabian. However, a Hanoverian has expressive eyes and an average-sized head, the horse’s face is straight, and its ears are small.

Coat colors

The breed registry accepts any solid coat color. The most common colors are bay, brown, and black. Horses with creme genetics such as palomino and buckskin are not acceptable colors, nor are horses with excessive white coloring.


Hanoverians are warmbloods and, as such, have a reliable, docile, and gentle nature. They are patient, intelligent, and willing learners. These traits combine to make these horses are great training companions.

They don’t mind hard work and are willing to put in the time and effort to succeed. Though patient, they get frustrated with an inexperienced rider that doesn’t give clear cues from the saddle.

The Hanoverian breed originated in Germany.

The Hanoverian breed originated in the Hanover district of Germany in 1735 when a State a Stud Book was established at Landgestuet stable. From these stables, well-maintained records were kept of the foal pedigrees.

In 1888 the “Hanoverian Warmblood Stud-Book” was created by the Royal Agricultural Society, which was a continuation of the Hanover State Stud Book that began in 1735.

In 1922 “Verband,” the Society of Hanoverian Warmblood Breeders, took over the Stud-Book and unified all the local Hanoverian breeding clubs. Verband continues to run the studbook today.

The Hanoverians were initially bred for work.

The Hanoverians were initially bred to be large workhorses used for pulling carriages and plows and were suitable for military use. But over time, technology advanced, and machines eventually displaced the workhorse.

To remain viable, the Hanoverian breed had to evolve. Thoroughbred, Arabian, Trakehner, and Holsteiner bloodlines were prudently crossed with Hanoverians to add refinement and athleticism while maintaining the soundness and power of the origins of the breed.

Hanoverian horses are athletic and versatile.

The modern Hanoverian is a versatile, big-framed horse with exceptional athletic ability, a calm disposition, and a comfortable gait. It is talented enough to compete on the world stage and has the temperament to make a family riding horse.

Hanoverian registration is strictly controlled to ensure the breed continues its celebrated legacy. Two agencies manage the breed studbooks. They are the privately run Verband hannoverscher Warmblutzüchter and the State Stud at Celle.

For horses to be eligible for Hanoverian registration, both parents must be approved by the German Hanoverian Verband or an associate society. To ensure the quality of horses in the studbook, stallions and broodmares are put through a rigorous evaluation process.

The selection process guarantees that only the best representatives of the breed will continue the bloodlines. When evaluating studs and broodmares, the Hanoverian authorities place more emphasis on conformation than pedigree.

The goal is to produce the fastest, most athletic, and rideable horses in the world that will excel in jumping, dressage, and other equine performance sports.

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