We’ve made it! We have finally reached our 10th and final stop on our Structure for Every Style Trail Ride. Last week’s stop was exciting, but is has nothing on today’s riding style—vaulting.
Watch out Gabby Douglas
Vaulting is literally gymnastics on horseback. Its origins are believed to be traced back to ancient Greek games. Some believe it started in Crete. Regardless of where it started, people have been performing acrobatics on horseback for over 2,000 years. In more recent history, vaulting has been one of the main attractions in circuses.
People vault both competitively and for fun. Vaulting was introduced as a competitive sport in the US during the 1950s and 1960s. It is a sport of gender neutrality and is one of the seven disciplines recognized by the FEI. Vaulting has always been more popular in Europe than in the US, but has recently started gaining popularity in northeastern America.
No room for error
Any horse breed can be used in vaulting as long as they’re disciplined and can keep a consistent gait. Horses are lunged in a circle either at the walk, trot or canter, depending on the rider’s level of experience. While the horse is being lunged there are seven exercises every rider must do, along with a freestyle routine to music. The seven movements are mount, basic seat, flag, mill, scissors, stand and flank. Riders are judged on a scale from 1 to 10. In the event of a tie, horses are judged to break it. Freestyles can be done either individually or in teams and can last for up to one minute for individual, and four minutes for team. Some freestyle moves include mounts and dismounts, handstands, kneeling and standing and aerial movements, like jumps, leaps and tumbling.
An Olympic-size arena
Competitions are done in completely enclosed arenas and vaulting movements require a large amount of head room and wide open space. This requirement is one of the reasons ClearSpan Fabric Structures are perfect for vaulting arenas. They have extremely high clearances and can create any size building from 20′ to 300′ wide and any length. Like traditional gymnastics, vaulting thrives on spectators. With Hercules Truss Arch Buildings, the customization options are endless. A mezzanine level can be added for judges viewing, bleachers or spectator seating is available, too. Also, judges need to easily see the movements and technique of both horse and rider. ClearSpan vaulting arenas solve this potential issue with the abundant natural light that permeates through their translucent fabric covers.
Vaulting is a very dangerous, yet exciting equestrian sport, one I’d love to watch! This concludes our Structure for Every Style Trail Ride. It has been a fun journey and I hope you all enjoyed the ride. Thanks for joining us!
Which do you think is harder-traditional Olympic gymnastics or vaulting?