Last Updated on August 18, 2022
Clydesdale horses are one of the most popular and famous draught horse breeds, normally seen pulling waggons. But can Clydesdales jump as well? Let’s find out!
Can Clydesdales Jump?
Pretty much every type and breed of horse has some jumping ability, from the tiniest Falabella up to the biggest Shire horse. However, for some breeds of horses, disability may be very limited. When it comes to larger draught breeds such as the Clydesdale, can these horses be taught to jump?
The Clydesdale is a majestic and powerful breed of draft horse. The average height of this horse is a massive 18 hands high, with an average weight of 2000 pounds. This breed is one of the most popular draft breeds around the world, thanks to its heritage as a working horse over the centuries.
The reason for the fame of the Clydesdale horse is the incredible Budweiser Clydesdales. The Clydesdale breed was once the horse of choice to pull brewery waggons, and to this day they are used in displays for this purpose. Clydesdale horses can also be ridden and can be taught to do walk, trot, canter and even some basic dressage movements.
So we know that these horses are fearsomely strong and that they can carry a rider, but can Clydesdales jump too?
Most Clydesdale horses can jump to some extent, but they do not have a particular talent for show jumping. Their sheer bulk and size can cause considerable problems if they are jumped too high, as their body weight can put pressure on the joints when they take off and land. Many riders also report that Clydesdales have a very awkward jumping action, which is not comfortable to ride.
So although Clydesdales are highly trainable and easy to ride, they do not have a talent for jumping and should not do anything more than a low-show jumping course. Their enormous hooves also make it likely that they will knock over objects rather than clear them.
Whilst Clydesdales will never be talented jumping horses, they do have many other skills. Let’s find out more!
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What Sports Are Clydesdale Horses Good At?
With large draught breed of horses such as the Clydesdale, they tend to excel at anything that requires slow, steady movement. Their enormous body mass takes significant effort to move, so they are not good at high speeds or going over high objects. A Clydesdale is highly unlikely to become a top-level show jumper or prize-winning endurance horse, but they do have many other fantastic attributes that make them suitable for other equine sports.
Good At Dressage – Can Clydesdales Jump?
Many people will be surprised to hear that Clydesdales are actually very good at dressage. They naturally have a very graceful movement because they lift each foot clear from the ground, flicking it upwards as they move. This showy action is very impressive when the horse is ridden in a dressage style.
The other reason that Clydesdales are so good at dressage is that they have a physically impressive body shape. The neck of the Clydesdale horse is long, arched and highly muscular, complementing the showy movement of the horse. Their bodies are well proportioned and when ridden correctly they can make beautiful dressage horses.
Dressage aside, the main sports that Clydesdale horses tend to excel at involve using their immense strength and stamina to pull and move heavy loads. They are still commonly used for farm work and forestry work, particularly in areas that are difficult to reach with mechanised equipment. A Clydesdale horse can pull a felled tree out of a forest with ease.
The immense strength of the Clydesdale horse was also useful for pulling waggons. As well as farm work, they were often used in cities to transport goods. The slow and steady pace, coupled with their incredible stamina meant that they were not particularly rapid, but would always get there in the end despite pulling heavy loads.
Although Clydesdales have been replaced by mechanisation in many aspects their physical talents do not go unnoticed. They are often used for parades and proud Clydesdale owners like to show off their horses’ talents in ploughing or log pulling competitions.
So if you’re a Clydesdale owner, your beautiful gentle giant may not be able to jump a high course of show jumps, but he has many other skills to be proud of!
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Summary, Can Clydesdales Jump?
So, as we have learned, the answer to the question can Clydesdales jump is yes, they can! However, Clydesdales are not particularly athletic horses and will only be able to jump over small low objects. The size and strength of a Clydesdale horse are far better suited to pulling waggons, ploughs, forestry work, and parades.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on can Clydesdales jump! Have you ever seen a Clydesdale horse that had a remarkable jumping ability? Or perhaps you’ve got some questions about teaching your Clydesdale horse to jump? Leave a comment below and we will get back to you!
Can big horses jump?
All types of horses can jump, whether big or small. However, their jumping ability does vary according to the type of horse that they are. A large, thick set horse, such as a draft horse will not be able to jump as well as an finely-built athletic thoroughbred.
Can Clydesdales run fast?
Clydesdales are not the fastest horses in the world, but they can run at considerable speed. Because of their heavy build, they do not have the greatest acceleration, but once they get up to speed they could outrun most humans. However, Clydesdales prefer the quieter life and you will not often see them running around.
Are Clydesdales good for riding?
Clydesdales have a calm and placid nature and make very tolerant riding horses. They are good horses for adult beginner riders, but have limited athletic ability. More advanced riders are likely to choose a finely built horse, such as a warmblood.
Does jumping hurt horses?
Jumping does not hurt horses if they are jumped correctly. This means ensuring that the surface they are jumping on is neither too soft nor too hard, and that the jumps are set up correctly for the horse be able to clear them without straining himself.
Kate Chalmers is a qualified veterinary nurse who has specialized in horse care for the vast majority of her career. She has been around horses since she was a child, starting out riding ponies and helping out at the local stables before going on to college to study Horse Care & Management. She has backed and trained many horses during her lifetime and competed in various equestrian sports at different levels.
After Kate qualified as a veterinary nurse, she provided nursing care to the patients of a large equine veterinary hospital for many years. She then went on to teach horse care and veterinary nursing at one of the top colleges in the country. This has led to an in-depth knowledge of the care needs of horses and their various medical ailments, as well as a life-long passion for educating horse owners on how to provide the best possible care for their four-legged friends.
Kate Chalmers BSc (Hons) CVN, Dip AVN (Equine) Dip HE CVN EVN VN A1 PGCE