There have been plenty of sports throughout the ages that are today present and loved by many. Starting from football to swimming or even the sport of golf, some sports have been around long enough that their history cannot really be traced back to a certain point in time, or a place, for that matter.

When dealing with horses and equine-related sports, we can go back to when humans first met horses. However, a sport such as equestrian vaulting has been getting attention recently, though people seem unfamiliar with it. What is equestrian vaulting and why should you care? Find out!

Equestrian Vaulting – The History and Beginnings

Equestrian vaulting is a sport where people perform gymnastics and dancing on horseback. This is what it is commonly referred to.

People using animals as part of routines can be dated back to ancient Greece and bull-hopping. There were such sports and acrobatic routines and practices throughout history on almost every continent, from the Roman Empire to the far East.

It is no wonder then, that horses would enter the equation, as animals which are pretty good with humans, docile enough and smart enough to be trained to be perfect partners for a circus act. However, the circus is not the only place where one can catch equestrian vaulting.

Modern Equestrian Vaulting

Believe it or not, there were some attempts to get equestrian vaulting into the Olympics Early on. It was used as a competitive sport at the 1920 Summer Olympics as a part of the equestrian set of disciplines. However, it was not a professional sport until the latter half of the 20th century.

It was developed in post-World War II Germany as a sport to teach children how to handle horses. From that point on, it was clear that the sport could become something more. It was recognized by the International Federation for Equestrian Sports or FEI, in 1983. The first World Championship vaulting event was held in Bulle in Switzerland, 1984. It was added as a sport in the World Equestrian Games in 1990. 

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What Are Horse Vaulting Tournaments Like?

Professional vaulters can compete alone, in pairs or in teams. The horses either walk or canter, depending on the level of competition. The horse will move in a radius of 15 meters, held and guided by a longueur or a lunger. Professionals are judged on a scale from 1 to 10. Vaulting has mandatory exercises which every competitor must perform, scissors, stand, flank, basic seat, mount, flag and mill. Then, there is the freestyle part of competing, done to music. But, both the performer and the horse are judged. The performers are judged for each exercise separately, as well as their freestyle, and the horses for their walk and behavior. 

This is equestrian vaulting or horse gymnastics/dancing, a very interesting modern sport which combines acrobatics, art and horses.

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