World Record Highest Jump

Thank you to all our readers who sent in letters with information about the world record jump!
View Letters From Readers about the World Record Jump


"Unofficial" World Record Jump:
A visitor wrote in to tell us that the "unofficial" world record jump is 8ft, 3 1/2 inches, jumped by Fred (Freddie) Wettach, Jr. riding his horse King's Own. They jumped in front of 25 people with motion picture photographers capturing the occasion. The record was not considered official because it was not made in front of a public gathering.

"OFFICIAL" World Record Holder:

See Animation Of Jump Here (long download)

Huaso, the horse, and his rider Captain Alberton Larraguibel Morales, jumping the world-record breaking jump of 8 feet 1 1/4inches, or 2.47 meters. The red marks the top of the jump.

This horse was a Thoroughbred born in Chile, and originally called "Faithful". He was a racehorse and retired from racing in 1944 to begin training in the Chilean Cavalry School. There he was taught dressage and jumping. His training was overseen by Chilean Cavalry Officer Major RAFAEL MONTTI, who was in charge of several other horses at the time and hoped to train one that could beat the current world record, set by Captain Antonio Gutierrez of the Italian Cavalry on an Irish horse named Osoppo.

On October 27th 1938, Gutierrez and Osoppo set a new world record of 2.44m while jumping at the National Championship in Rome.

Faithful and another horse, Chileno (ridden by Lieutenant LUIS RIQUELME), both showed great jumping ability. Chileno and Faithful continued to beat each other in progressively higher jumps in 1947 and 1948. Neither one had yet tied or beaten the current world record. Faithful jumped a height of 2.18m, which set a new Chilean high jump record. A few months later, Chileno jumped 2.33m, setting the South American high jump record. Just a few days later, Faithful jumped 2.37 breaking Chileno's record. His name was then changed to Huaso (meaning "Cowboy" in Spanish).

A jump off was held for Huaso & Chileno on the show grounds of Vina Del Mar, Chile, on February 5th, 1949. Each horse was to be given 3 tries at a jump. Chileno was first, and cleared a 2.20 meter fence. He raced toward the 2.47m-- higher than the world record jump-- and sadly crashed, destroying the jump. He was retired from competition after that.

Huaso and Larraguibel before their jump

Huaso's turn at the gigantic 2.47m fence came next. On his first try, he refused. On his second, with much effort, and showing correct form, he jumped... but his belly grazed the top rail. On his third, and last chance, he and his rider soared over the fence in perfect form and harmony. They broke the world record that day.

In his rider's words:
"On the first try, I miscalculated the distance and allowed the horse to refuse. If I had then applied the whip, the horse would had become nervous, because an animal understands when it's being asked to perform above his capabilities. In the second jump, I must have made a mistake of a centimeter or so, because Huaso passed the hands but touched with the belly and the hinds, and knocked down the obstacle... there was only the third and last attempt left. I recalculated again, and in the precise moment we flew... The most difficult moment was the apex of the jump. My eyes were about 4 meters above the ground and I had the sensation of falling head first. My slightest tremor would have been felt by Huaso; who then would have left his hinds behind and we would have crashed together, but we went over. The moment seemed to last forever. I didn't hear a single shout and thought that something had gone wrong, but I couldn't hear the obstacles falling either..."

Galloping toward the jump....

These photos-- which I've retouched to improve clarity -- show Huaso and Larraguibel clearing the world-record height.

After setting the record, (he was 16 years old when he jumped) Huaso was retired and never ridden again. He died of natural causes at the ripe age of 29.

See It:

I put together a .gif animation from stills that is poor quality, but at least shows the jumping action. You can view it here. It is a large file so may take a while to download. I attempted to clean up the frames to show the action better, but I'm afraid it is still very poor quality. If you know of any credits attached to these images, let me know. I would love to credit the photographer/author but cannot find any such information.

I have attempted to retouch the photos throughout this article to improve their clarity. No photography credits were found on these old photos after an extensive search for their authors. If you know of any copyrights or credits, please email me so I can credit the author(s). If you know of any other photos, or have any information to add, please email me. Thank you.

There is also a YouTube video (In Spanish) available at:


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