The Most Famous Jumping Horses in History (with Videos)

When people hear about equestrians, what automatically comes to mind are pictures and scenes of horses jumping across rails through a series of obstacles along a given track.

Jumping horses were first seen in 1912, and they have been a staple in many competitions.

Among all the jumping horses that have participated in these events though, there have been some pretty famous ones who have made their mark in history as part of the all-time best.

Read on to check them out!

1. Snowman

He was initially purchased from a slaughterhouse in 1956 by Harry de Leyer for $80 so he could be used as a lesson horse. Little did de Leyer know that this slaughterhouse horse would turn out to be a prize jumper!

De Leyer saw potential in Snowman after seeing him jump over a neighbor’s wall a number of times. Seeing how strong Snowman was, de Leyer started training him to bring out Snowman’s full strength.

In just two years, Snowman garnered the title of Horse of the Year by the United States Equestrian Foundation in 1958.

He also became the champion of the Professional Horseman’s Association and the Madison Square Garden’s Diamond Jubilee in the same year.

He again became champion the following year upon returning to Madison Square Garder making him the first horse ever to gain a back-to-back win in the Open Jumper Championship.

His rise to fame continued and in 1992, he earned his place in the Show Jumping Hall of Fame. The Equus Foundation Horse Stars Hall of Fame gave him a place in 2015. Check him out in the video below.

2. Stroller

The only pony to ever join big leagues in Olympic show jumping was a crossbreed of a bay Thoroughbred and Connemara by the name of Stroller.

He was bought by the Coakes family in 1960 as a gift to 13-year old Marion. Marion and Stroller formed a partnership that allowed them to win competitions in the junior division. When Marion turned 16, her father wanted to sell Stroller to get a bigger horse for Marion.

Marion insisted on keeping Stroller. That wise decision led them both to wins in the Hickstead Ladies Show Jumping World Championships in 1965 when Marion was just 18 years of age.

This was followed by another win at the Queen Elizabeth Cup in the same year.

One win followed another, including a silver at the 1968 Olympic Games, making a total of around 61 wins in several international competitions.

Stroller gained his place in the British Horse Society Hall of Fame later on.

Here’s a peek at Stroller and Marion back in 1965:

3. Huaso

What started out to be a thoroughbred racehorse ended up as a star showjumper.

Huaso was a racehorse originally named Faithful. He was being trained as a racehorse although didn’t find much success in racing.

He was next trained for dressage but unfortunately, he ended up with an injury.

Through a twist of fate, Captain Alberto Larraguibel caught the stallion jumping over a six-foot wall during a training session and this is when he decided to purchase Huaso and train him for show jumping.

Huaso ended up winning awards in Chile, setting a record for the highest jump ever by a horse at 8 feet and 1.25 inches.

Watch him do it here:

4. Big Ben

The story of the partnership between Big Ben and Canadian equestrian Ian Miller started when Miller was seven years old. It was then that he decided to buy Big Ben.

At the 1984 Olympic Games, their team ended up in fourth place and it was all going up from there.

They were able to get the individual gold at the Pan Am Games in 1987n and 1988. They managed to get top prizes at the 1989 World Cup Final and the 1987 and 1991 Masters Grand Prix.

Big Ben won their team over $1.5 million in prize money throughout the years.

In 1996, Big Ben gained a place in the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame. Check him out in the video below:

5. Baloubet Du Rouet

At three years old, Baloubet already managed to capture the eye of Nicole and Diego Pereira, a couple from Portugal. He was purchased by the couple and sent to their friend Nelson Possoa, a Brazilian whose name was famous to equestrians in the 90s.

Possoa and Baloubet formed a successful partnership starting from the stallion test at the Fontainbleau.

Although, Possoa and Baloubet made a good team, it was Possoa’s son, Rodrigo, who managed to push Baloubet to even greater heights. 

It was through this partnership that Mabloubet managed to win the World Cup Final in jumping for three consecutive years.

They also managed to grab medals in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics.

Baloubet retired in 2006 and passed in 2017.

It takes not a special horse, but rather, a special “it” for a horse to be a jumper. Call it fate, but these horses seemed to have been destined for greatness, enough to earn them a special place in equestrian history.

References

  • “Horse of a Lifetime: Baloubet Du Rouet.” 2020. FEI.org. September 7, 2020. https://www.fei.org/stories/100-years/horse-lifetime-baloubet-du-rouet.
  • https://www.horsenation.com/author/lorraine-jackson. 2015. “Horses in History: Stroller the Olympic Wonder Pony.” HORSE NATION. March 13, 2015. https://www.horsenation.com/2015/03/13/horses-in-history-stroller-the-olympic-wonder-pony/.
  • IOC. 2018. “Mexico City 1968 – Athletes, Medals & Results.” Olympics.com. April 24, 2018. https://olympics.com/en/olympic-games/mexico-city-1968.
  • “Snowman – Horse Stars Hall of Fame.” 2015. Horsestarshalloffame.org. 2015. http://horsestarshalloffame.org/inductees/82/snowman.aspx.
famous jumping horses

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Nikki
Nikki

Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief and one of the writers here on HorseVills. She’s been an animal lover all of her life. While she doesn’t currently own a horse, she’s worked around them throughout her life. She’s also passionate about writing and helping others hone their skills.
Find her on: LINKEDIN

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