Something for all Horse Lovers....
No matter what your age or ability, there are many equestrian-sports to choose from and one that can be just right for you. As a participant or an observer, equestrian sports are exciting, fun and challenging.
Sports involving horses have been present in our history since the ancient Greek Olympics. These Olympics started around 776 BC and were celebrated through the year 393 AD. Chariot racing, the first known equestrian sport introduced into the Olympics, made it's appearance somewhere around 400 BC.
The modern Olympic Games started in 1895. The Olympics were revived by a Greek philanthropist and were held in Athens. Equestrian events were first included in the Modern Olympics in 1900. In 1912 three equestrian-sports were introduced into the Olympics. These are still recognized today and are the equestrian events of:
Competitive Dressage...is a sport that seeks to test and measure the degree and proficiency to which a horse has been trained. Think of it as competitive horse training, with competitions held at all levels from amateur to the Olympics.
Show Jumping... is a sport that measures the horse and rider's athletic ability to jump obstacles in a set course or patern.
Eventing... is a sport that combines the three events of Dressage, Show Jumping and Cross country . Cross Country riding, tests the horse and rider's athletic ability and endurance by having them gallop across a set course with obstacles such as water, ditches, and solid jumps.
More recently The FEI has sanctioned the sports of: Combined Driving, Reining, Equestrian Vaulting and Endurance Riding.
On a less serious and competitive level Equestrian-sports are a great way to show off our good horsemanship! It is a way to:
...share your passion for horses
...meet great people
...never run out of things to talk about with these great people
...keep you and your horse fit
...create wonderful memories
...Learn a lot about yourself, life and horses.
Last but not least
...equine sports provide great photo ops!
Some of my favorite equine sports, that I have participated in for fun, are trail-riding, polo and fox hunting.
You can learn a lot about yourself and your horse riding down some beautiful mountain trail
....Soaking in the world around you and feeling your horse shift and rebalance under you. Its a natural way to learn balance and rhythm needed for riding. Ever heard the saying: "horses teach you patience"? Well trail riding
can teach you trust if you are a beginner rider. It increases your confidence if you're a novice.If you are a seasoned rider it grounds you and reminds you why you love horses and riding.A good trail ride can last 30 minutes or if you are like me...I leave at dawn and return at sunset. I am always wondering what is over the next hill or around the next bend. I also love to challenge myself and my horse. Varying terrain, with water, and other natural obstacles. Fun, exciting and a great work out! Trail riding also can be practiced as a competetive sport and it's rules are goverened buy the North American Trail Ride Conference North American Trail Ride Conference
Like balls and sticks and horses?
Put them all together and you have the Equestrian-sport of Polo. In Polo the object of the game is to move the polo ball down-field, hitting it through the goal for a score.
Polo is an equestrian-sport, usually played outdoors, with four polo players on each team.A polo field is 300 yards long and 160 yards wide, the largest field in organized sport.A polo match lasts about two hours and is divided into 6 timed periods called chukkers.During half time, spectators go onto the field to participate in a social tradition called divot stomping.
What is it like to play polo? It is a fast paced game that really tests your riding skills. The object of the game is to, staying at a gallop, get your polo pony in line with the ball, and either pass it ahead to a teammate, or carry the ball down the field for an attempt at a goal. Want to check it out? The Federation of International Polo has all the details.
Some of my closest friends, that also happen to be the best horsemen I've encountered ....are cowboys.
Sitting on a well trained reining or cutting horse is a thrill! I had the opportunity many times while "hanging out with the guys".Cowboys and gals in their middle age years who had been there and done it all. Ridden for years and trained horses to cut and to rein. It was part of their required skills as ranch hands and not yet a popular equestrian-sport. Spinning, sliding stops,going from a standstill to a full on gallop and then pivoting left and right following the movement of a cow singled out from the heard is exciting to ride and to watch. This is an equestrian-sport originating in the American west and a heritage of those greatest of riders...the cowboys.Sitting around a campfire with some real ranch working, cattle cutting, cowboys and gals, was an experience difficult to be equaled and the stuff of great memories.
Now this is a wild equestrian-sport and not for the faint of heart!
Galloping over fields, jumping obstacles, in hot pursuit of the Huntsmen's cry of Tally Ho. Traditionally Fox Hunting began as a way for landowners to rid themselves of the fox that were plentiful and considered a pest to the crops and other farm animals. Today in the U.S, Foxhunting (or Drag Hunting)is an equestrian-sport that involves hounds, horses and people that pursue a scent rather than a real fox. The fun is very much in the chase!
Quote for a galloping day
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What Other Visitors Have Said
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"The rythm of the ride carried them on and on,
and she knew that the horse was as eager as she,
as much in love with speed and air and freedom." ~ Georgess McHargue
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