Crazy Horse Sports
 By Winniefield Park   •   26th Jan 2016   •   1,394 views   •   0 comments
Looking for something unusual to do with your horse? Here are just a few horse sports that are off the beaten track. These arenít just crazy activities someone thought up and tried in their backyard. Many of these are actual sports with organized competitions.

Ski joring
Ski joring didnít start out as a sport, but as a way to get around during the winter when snow covered the ground. The first ski joring was probably behind reindeer, who travelled at a nice sedate pace as they towed a person on skis. Todayís version is faster; an all-out race around a snowy track pulled by lanky, athletic Thoroughbred type horses. A variation of the sport is horse snowboarding, where the human athlete straps themselves to a snowboard rather than skis. On dry land, horse boarding is done on a skateboard type conveyance, promising a bumpy ride for the person being towed.

Really, a variation of ski joring, equiboarding or horse surfing is done in the water. Similar to wakeboarding, equiboarding uses a horse galloping along the waterís edge rather than a boat. The use of the horse limits how deep the water can be under the boarder and adds the extra danger of being close enough to crash land onto the beach. Rather than being behind the horse, equiboarders run almost parallel to the horse. And the person on the board needs to learn to lift themselves up off of the board and out of the water, rather than rely on the momentum of the speed boat to lift them up.

Horse Agility
There are horse agility clubs around the world. This is similar to dog agility competitions. Horses are trained to follow their handler through a series of obstacles. Horses are expected to climb ramps, go through tunnels, go over jumps, walk between strange objects and do many maneuvers both on and off the lead. Any type of horse can be used and Minis are a favorite. Handlers need to be agile too, as some events are timed.

Extreme Cowboy Racing
Extreme Cowboy Racing combines trail classes with horse racing. Riders guide their horses over, through and around typical trail class obstacles in a ring, but at speed. Riders may dismount for some portions. Competitors may also do some reining moves like sliding stops and quick turns. There is no set length for a race and the obstacles will vary between events. There are no requirements as to type, breed or size of horse, but western tack and clothing is required.

Horseback Shooting
Horseback shooting or cowboy mounted shooting combines horsemanship and gun shooting skills. Modern competitions donít use live ammunition. Instead, guns are loaded with blanks that will break a balloon a short distance away. The rider must shoot a set pattern of balloons while riding the horse around the arena. The final score is calculated by combining the time with any penalty points for missed targets, knocked over obstacles, or going off course. This is a western event and riders may be any age, and will compete against others of a similar age and skill level. A variation of this sport is mounted archery, where riders must use a bow and arrow to shoot targets.

So, are you ready to put something new on your bucket list for 2016?

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