Learning the Basics of Vaulting
 By Oak Valley   •   24th Jul 2012   •   7,355 views   •   13 comments
When most people talk about equestrian sports they think of the well-known disciplines such as dressage, jumping, reining, and cross country. Many people forget about vaulting and some have never even heard of it before. The most common question I get asked is "What is vaulting?Ē. The simplest answer I can give is gymnastics on horseback. No, it's not called trick riding and neither is trick riding called vaulting. They are both very different, but thatís for another time!

Vaulting, just like any other discipline can be practised as a non-competitive art or as a competitive sport. It is one of the seven disciplines recognized by the FEI. There are many vaulters worldwide, mainly in European countries, particularly German speaking countries (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) where it is practiced as basic training for horse riding. It is also popular in countries such as France, the UK, Australia, the USA, and South Africa. Vaulting is popular where I live in Canada but thereís not many clubs outside of where I live, but itís still growing!

Learning the Basics of Vaulting

Vaulting is thought to have developed in Ancient Greece and was first seen as a part of the Roman Games. Vaulting is also seen in the Renaissance history. There were numerous references to it, or similar activities to vaulting, such as cavalry troops using it to increase their abilities on horseback. Even back then they used a wooding horse before moving on to a real one. The big question is where did modern vaulting come from? It developed in post-war Germany as an exercise to improve general riding. It was introduced to the Olympic Games as ďArtistic RidingĒ in 1920, but unfortunately it never was continued in the Games. Vaulting is still a new sport. It wasnít recognized by the FEI until 1983, and wasnít included into WEG until 1990. Just last year the first World Cup Vaulting competition was held in Leipzig, Germany.

In competitive vaulting you can compete as an individual, in pairs (pas-de-deux), or on a team (at least 6 people with 1 or 2 spares). Beginners compete at a walk or trot (closer to a jog), while more experience vaulters compete at a canter. The vaulting horse is kept on a 15-metre circle and is controlled by a lunger. Competitions consist of compulsories and a freestyle routine. In canter you get two rounds for your freestyle and two rounds for compulsories, where in walk/trot you usually only get one. Your compulsories are made up of seven exercises which are: mount, flag, mill, front and backwards scissors, stand, and a flank. Each exercise is scored out of 10, and your horse is also scored out of 10. Your horse scored weighs in for about 20% of your final score for the round and it made up of not just how well your horse goes but many other things too (run in, bow, how you hand the whip to the lunger, how the lunger lunges, run out, etc.). Your freestyle or your kŁr is a routine choreographed to music and you can do pretty much whatever your heart desires! Freestyles range in length from one minute for individuals, two minutes for a pas de deux and four minutes for a team.

Horses used for vaulting are not saddled, but they wear a surcingle (or a roller for the Aussies out there!), a gel pad where the surcingle sits (donít know how common it is, but we use it to reduce stress where the surcingle sits), and a very thick and heavy pad. The surcingle has special handles in which help the vaulter preform certain moves, there are also loops near the bottom of the surcingle called Cossack stirrups. The horse wears a bridle and side reins (only in canter), with the lunge line attached to the bridle. Vaulting horses move on the left rein, with some exceptions. In practice most clubs will vault to the left and the right since it benefits the horse and vaulter. In the states for individuals, compulsories are done to the right, and freestyles to the left. In most other countries you can do both compulsories and freestyle to the left if you wish.

Iím hoping within the next few years vaulting develops even more as a sport! It would be a dream come true for it to be a part of the Olympic Games. I would recommend you try it out. I went for one practice and was hooked after that. If youíre looking for a vaulting club near you depending on your country you can look at the American Vaulting Association website, Vault Canada, Equestrian Vaulting Australia or British Equestrian Vaulting (sorry if I left out your country! Those are the only ones I know!). If you ever have any questions about vaulting, feel free to send me a message! Iíd love to answer any questions you have!

Learning the Basics of Vaulting

Learning the Basics of Vaulting

Learning the Basics of Vaulting
Horse News More In This Category:  General      Horse News More From This Author:  Oak Valley
Awesome article!!! I Have to admit.. I'm too afraid to try it. xD
  Jul 24, 2012  •  6,592 views
C H O S E N  
Wow... Now I know why Vaulting is a discipline on Peggi :)
  Jul 24, 2012  •  6,587 views
This is amazing!
  Jul 24, 2012  •  6,556 views
I would love to learn vaulting but unfortunately there are no schools near where I live :( Wonderful article though!
  Jul 24, 2012  •  6,909 views
Yay! So awesome to hear about it! We teach the basic moves at a walk and trot at the horse camp I work at, but I think it would be so neat to actually compete like you do! :D
  Jul 24, 2012  •  6,607 views
So cool!!!! Amazing stuff
  Jul 25, 2012  •  6,712 views
Brilliant article! It was so interesting. I really want to try vaulting now. After looking on the website, I've just found one half an hour away. Now to persuade my mum to take me :P
  Jul 25, 2012  •  6,592 views
Double Spur Ranch  
Cool Article and great pictures!
  Jul 25, 2012  •  6,569 views
Deleted Accounts  
i'd love to be brave enough to do things like this:/
  Jul 25, 2012  •  6,583 views
Foxchase Farm  
This is so cool I would love to try vaulting!
  Jul 28, 2012  •  6,586 views
Deep as Rhubarb  
Great article! I love vaulting, it's so much fun!
  Jul 29, 2012  •  6,612 views
LOVE THIS!! I so wish I could do more of it!! Such a fabulous article, and very well written!
  Aug 1, 2012  •  6,620 views
Bright Horizon  
Sounds interesting! I'd like to try!
  Aug 7, 2012  •  6,589 views
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