There is nothing quite like watching the beauty of a well-bred and well-trained horse. The events that have developed over centuries of equestrian sports are quite diverse. Here are four that are entertaining to watch and easy to understand, even the first time you see them.
- Barrel Racing
One of the sports influenced by the West is barrel racing. If you have ever attended a rodeo, you probably remember watching the horse and rider race toward three barrels that are placed around the arena in a large triangle. They quickly turn around each barrel as quickly as possible and race to the finish line. If the horse and rider knock over a barrel or even hit it, they are penalized.
Youth and adults compete in reining competitions that exhibit how well-trained a typical ranch horse is. The riders are judged on how easily they can lead their horses through a series of patterns that exhibit their skills — such as sliding stops and spins. This is also a Western-influenced sport.
- Stadium Jumping
Show jumping is an event that is well known and is even included in the Olympics. Jumping is an English style equine sport that tests the agility of the horse to clear various obstacles and equine jumps. The rider must control the speed and timing of their horse to get the fastest time possible without disturbing any of the obstacles.
Equestrian vaulting was popular even back in Roman times. It requires gymnastic abilities for the individuals — like you can see in the circus when the riders stand on the backs of the horses. Sometimes, up to three riders are performing choreographed movements. Watch for bareback and trick riding that will keep you at the edge of your seat.
Watching these equine sports on television or YouTube is fun. Being there in person is even better, so if you ever get the chance — take it!