Vaulting: The Entry Into Equestrian Sport

Vaulting not only looks noble and graceful but is also a highly demanding sport that also requires a lot of courage. The professional athletes you may have seen at tournaments or on television make gymnastics on horseback seem quite easy when they show their figures so confidently and confidently. But behind the practiced freestyle, there is a lot of training and preparation.

What is Vaulting Exactly?

Vaulting is a combination of gymnastics and horse riding. The horse is led on the lunge so that the athlete can concentrate fully on his movements and those of the horse. Exercise takes place alone or together as a team, with usually only one to a maximum of three people on horseback at the same time. The movements should be in harmony with the music chosen and be as flowing and light as possible.

The vaulting horse should also meet a few characteristics in order to be suitable: It should be very good-natured and patient and run particularly calmly and evenly on the lunge. In competitions and advanced riders, it runs on the left hand in a calm gallop, in beginners or in training also in walk or trot.

When vaulting, the athletes usually wear tight, elastic clothing and no riding helmet in order to be able to guarantee optimal freedom of movement and body control.

Which Figures are Shown?

In addition to jumping up and down, figures of varying difficulty are shown. The change between these should be very fluid so that a homogeneous freestyle arises.

The standard figures include the flag, flank, free basic seat, kneeling, mill, and scissors. Every vaulting athlete should learn these exercises during training.

In addition to the static elements, advanced vaulters can even demonstrate dynamic elements such as wheels, screws, rollers, and somersaults. But this requires good preparation, experience and of course a certain amount of courage – after all, the horse’s back is not only pretty high but also in motion and pretty wobbly!

Why is Vaulting a Good Introduction to Equestrian Sport?

Before the training starts, all members of a team will clean the horse and put on the equipment together with their trainer. Children, in particular, learn to deal with horses at an early age and learn to take responsibility and help independently. Since vaulting is usually done in a group, not only contacts are made, but friendships are also made, which also means enjoying the hobby and strengthening team spirit. Another advantage is that the horse is led by an experienced trainer so that the children can calmly engage in the horse’s movements without having to worry about losing control.

Riding schools often already offer vaulting groups from around 4 years of age, so that the needs of the very little ones can be specifically addressed and they are introduced to the sport in a playful way. When it comes to “right” gymnastics, the children should be tall enough to be able to reach the handle with their left hand.

What Do I Have to Consider?

Before you decide on a riding school, you should make sure that it is a good company that attaches great importance to the welfare of the animals. The horses should stand in the light, airy boxes, have plenty of exercises, as they are allowed on the paddock or the pasture, and also look visually fit and healthy. Their fur should shine and they should also look awake and interested in other ways.
You should also find out whether the vaulting instructor has a trainer license (C, B, or A).

You can get a good picture by stopping by the vaulting lessons and seeing the process on-site. Are the horses ready together beforehand? Is warming up? How do you deal with the horse and with each other? How does the trainer explain? – You can clarify all of these questions in this way and maybe even arrange a trial lesson to find out whether the sport is actually the right one!

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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