Sports that involve horses are really fun to both watch and participate in. They can either be done recreationally or competitively. In fact, equestrian events like dressage and stadium jumping have been a part of the Olympics since the 20th century. Other lesser-known events such as vaulting and reining are hosted at the World Equestrian Games that happens every four years.
Perhaps you’re looking for a new sport to get into or you want to try out new things with your own horse. Either way, you’ve come to the right place because, in this article, we’re going to be taking a look at some of the common equestrian sports:
Dressage is also known as horse ballet, probably because of the high amount of skill required by both rider and horse. During these events, the riders are supposed to make their horses perform a series of events that are predetermined by the organizers. Scores are given on a variety of metrics that judge how well these steps are executed by the rider. If a rider can score 60% on all levels then he or she can advance to the next round.
If you’re a beginner horse rider, then it’s going to take at least several years for you to become decent at the sport. However, with regular practice and a great mentor, there’s no reason why you can’t get there eventually. Regardless, it’s a very fun sport to watch.
Stadium jumping is basically hurdling but with a horse. In these attempts’ riders attempt to clear through a series of obstacles within a specific period of time. These obstacles can vary in type, from spreads to verticals, from doubles to triples…etc.
Riders are judged on technique, a number of obstacles cleared and the time taken to complete. They can be disqualified if:
Too many obstacles are knocked down by the horse instead of cleared.
If the horse refuses to participate. Most events do overlook the first couple of refusals but at the same time, this severely affects a rider’s ability to complete the obstacle course on time.
Stadium jumping is probably easier to get into than dressage. If you want to try, we recommend getting some show jumpsparaphernalia so that you can train more effectively.
As the name implies, this is a sport which judges a horse’s ability to race over a long distance. Riders are allowed to compete with any horse breed at all but typically Arabian ones are preferred for their high endurance abilities.
Usually, these races happen over distances of 50 to 100 miles and can sometimes take two days. For example, a two-day race can require riders to complete 50 miles each day.
If you want to get into endurance riding, you’re going to need a breed of horse that’s cut of such a sport. Secondly, you’ll also need to work on your own endurance as it’s not easy on the body to ride over such long distances in one go.
These are just 3 of the most common equestrian sports that we thought you might enjoy either watching or participating. There are plenty of others to choose from such as vaulting, eventing or reining if you want to explore further.