With a plethora of horse events to choose from, it can be difficult to decide what area you want to train in. Narrowing your focus and specialty is important so you can excel in competitions. Notice your natural abilities and the personality of your horse to help you decide which events might be best for you.
1. Show Jumping
Show jumping events involve a high level of skill for the rider and a manageable horse ready to listen to cues. Events focus on courses created with different jump obstacles, including horse jump coops, liverpools, crossrails and oxers. Points are gained by avoiding faults and finishing the course quickly. Faults occur when a pole falls, if a horse takes too long to finish a course or if a horse refuses an obstacle.
2. Equestrian Vaulting
This event is like gymnastics on horseback, with one to three riders performing choreographed movements while the horse canters in a circle. Vaulting scores are judged on balance, difficulty, technique, form and security. The horse itself also makes up part of the score depending on how well they move and handle the rider.
Dressage competitions are meant to show a horse’s strength and athletic ability. The movements are graceful and elegant and judges look for horses who are calm throughout the event. Training horses for dressage can take up to a decade, making this more of a marathon sport than a sprint.
4. Horse Racing
A rider in a horse race is called a jockey and each race shows their skill and stamina to stay in the race with the horse. Races can be sprints or up to two miles long, with different categories based on the type of horse. Most tracks are grass covered, while synthetic tracks are becoming more available.
This event shows the ability of a rider to choose the correct pacing for the horse in each piece of terrain. The winner is the first horse to cross the finish line, with some trails being 100 miles in one day.
A reigning event uses a scoring system based on movement, which shows how smooth and quick a horse can complete the activities. A horse is meant to require little to no direction while completing an almost three minute segment of movements including galloping circles, sliding stops and spins.
Which horse event will you decide to train in for your next competition?