Equestrian Unusual – Bonus Feature
Why do women not compete in sports that men are predominant in? Well, here is why! This Blog is a 7- to 10-minute read.
Here is a list of nearly unheard of, unusual equestrian sports, with a brief introduction and a YouTube video. Some you probably know in this list, but most you have not.
Ban’ei kyōsō – is a form of Japanese horse racing in which draft horses pull heavy sleds up sand ramps, urged-on by jockeys balancing on the sleds. The horses used in the races are often either purebred or crosses of Percheron, Breton, and Belgian breeds.
Camargue equitation – is the traditional style of working riding of the gardian herders of the Camargue region of southern France. It is closely associated with the Camargue horse, with Camargue cattle, and with the bouvino, the traditional cultural world of cattle farming in the Camargue.
Charreada – is a competitive event similar to rodeo and was developed from animal husbandry practices used on the haciendas of old Mexico. The sport has been described as “living history,” or as an art form drawn from the demands of working life.
Coleo – is a traditional Venezuelan and Colombian sport, very similar to a rodeo, where a small group of llaneros(cowboys) on horseback pursue cattle at high speeds through a narrow pathway (called a manga de coleo) in order to drop or tumble them.
Corrida de sortija – is a traditional gaucho sport of the Rio de la Plata area of South America. This tradition is live in the town festival of Sant Joan, in the Spanish island of Menorca and in the Italian island of Sardinia (Italy) in the village of Oristano.
Deporte de Lazo or Competencia de Lazo – is an equestrian sport of Panama, where it is among the most popular sporting events and is unofficially considered the national sport. Teams of twelve riders compete to lasso a calf weighing about 136 kilograms (300 lb) in the shortest possible time. The national association is the Federación Nacional de Lazo, which was formed in 1976.
Doma menorquina – is based on classical dressage and resembles a combination of Haute Ecole (dressage)(“High School”) and Doma vaquera disciplines. Usually, stallions 3–4 years old are trained. From the three basic gaits, walk, trot and gallop, training progresses to the Spanish walk, half pass, flying changes and piaffe and culminates in the bot, or walking courbette. The remarkable ability of Menorcan horses in the bot is the most notable element of Menorcan riding; the rider sits effortlessly on the rigid back of the sella menorquina, the Menorcan saddle.
Doma vaquera – (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈdoma βaˈkeɾa]) is the traditional working riding discipline of Spain, from which all the working riding styles of the Americas and many of those of Europe appear to derive. Along with rejoneo and acoso y derribo, it is distinct from classical Spanish haute école or doma clásica
Jigit – in some Turkic languages also spelt as yigit, zhigit or igid, is a word of Turkic origin which is used in the Caucasus and Central Asia to describe a skillful and brave equestrian or a brave person in general.
The derived term jigitovka (or jigiting) means the special style of trick riding, which originated in the Turkic cultures of Caucasus and Central Asia, and is also popular with Russian Cossacks, who adopted it from the Circassians. When performing dzhigitovka, the riders at full gallop stand up, jump to the ground and back to the saddle, pick up objects from the ground (such as coins, hats, etc.), shoot targets with various weapons, ride hanging on the side or under the belly of the horse and do other acrobatic feats
Icelandic equitation – is the traditional style of riding in Iceland. It is closely associated with the Icelandic horse.
The basis of Icelandic equitation lies in the long traditions of riding horse transport. On an island with little wood, making and using carriages or sleighs was not practical in Iceland. Thus horses had to be ridden for long distances, and the style of equitation was formed to accommodate comfort and endurance.
Indian Relay Racing – is a way for teams to compete for cash and prizes. Teams consist of one rider, three horses, two holders and a mugger. The race starts in front of the grandstands, with a standing start. Racers make one lap around the track, changing horses twice in front of the grandstands.
Jineteada gaucha – or doma gaucha is a traditional sport in the gaucho culture of Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and southern parts of Brazil and Chile. The objective is for the rider to stay on an untamed horse for a specified time, 6 to 15 seconds, depending on the category.
Sidesaddle – riding is a form of equestrianism that uses a type of saddle which allows a rider (usually female) to sit aside rather than astride an equine. Sitting aside dates back to antiquity and developed in European countries in the Middle Ages as a way for women in skirts to ride a horse in a modest fashion while also wearing fine clothing. It has retained a speciality niche even in the modern world.
Sinjska alka – [siɲska alka] is an equestrian competition held in the Croatian town of Sinj every first Sunday in August since 1715. It commemorates a Croatian-Venetian victory over Ottomans on August 14, 1715 in which the local Christian population of around 700 Croats in cooperation with a smaller number of Venetians managed to defend Sinj against 60,000 Ottoman soldiers led by Mehmed-paša Ćelić.
Horseball – is a game played on horseback where a ball is handled and points are scored by shooting it through a hoop with a diameter of 1m. The sport is like a combination of polo, rugby, and basketball. It is one of the ten disciplines officially recognized by the International Federation for Equestrian Sports.
Tent pegging – (sometimes spelled tent-pegging or tent pegging) is a cavalry sport of ancient origin, and is one of only ten equestrian disciplines officially recognized by the International Equestrian Federation. Used narrowly, the term refers to a specific mounted game with ground targets. More broadly, it refers to the entire class of mounted cavalry games involving edged weapons on horseback, for which the term “equestrian skill-at-arms” is also used.
Equestrian skijoring – usually consists of a team of a horse and two people: a rider for the horse, and a skier. A rider controls the horse, and the person on skis carries no poles and holds a tow rope in a manner akin to water skiing.
Team chasing – is a British equestrian sport, contested between teams of four riders over a cross-country course of about two miles, with about 25 fences to be jumped. It is a dangerous sport, and a number of injuries have occurred. The teams set off at intervals and race against the clock, the time of the third member of each team being taken as the time of the team.
Cowboy mounted shooting –(also called western mounted shooting and mounted shooting) is a competitive equestrian sport involving the riding of a horse to negotiate a shooting pattern. Depending on sponsoring organizations, it can be based on the historical reenactment of historic shooting events held at Wild West shows in the late 19th century. Modern events use blank ammunition instead of live rounds, certified to break a target balloon within twenty feet (6 m).
Campdrafting – is a unique Australian sport involving a horse and rider working cattle. The riding style is Australian stock, somewhat akin to American Western riding and the event is similar to the American stock horse events such as cutting, working cow horse, team penning, and ranch sorting.
Pato– also called juego del pato (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈxweɣo ðel ˈpato], literally “duck game”), is a game played on horseback that combines elements from polo and basketball. It is the national sport of Argentina since 1953
Buzkashi – is a Central Asian sport in which horse-mounted players attempt to place a goat or calf carcass in a goal. Similar games are known as kokpar, kupkari, and ulak tartysh[3in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, and as kökbörü and gökbörü in Turkey, where it is played mainly by communities originally from Central Asia.
Horse archery is a cavalryman armed with a bow, able to shoot while riding from horseback. Archery has occasionally been used from the backs of other riding animals. In large open areas, it was a highly successful technique for hunting, for protecting the herds, and for war.
Equestrian drill team – is a group of horses and riders performing choreographed maneuvers to music. Teams typically perform at rodeos, horse fairs, parades, benefits, and drill team competitions. Drill teams are intended to entertain, show sportsmanship, horsemanship, teamwork and dedication
Jousting – is a martial game or hastilude between two horsemen wielding lances with blunted tips, often as part of a tournament. The primary aim was to replicate a clash of heavy cavalry, with each participant trying hard to strike the opponent while riding towards him at high speed, breaking the lance on the opponent’s shield or jousting armour if possible, or unhorsing him. The joust became an iconic characteristic of the knight in Romantic medievalism. The participants experience close to three and a quarter times their body weight in G-forces when the lances collide with their armour.
Here are the more common Equestrian Sports. These sports are relatively equal of both male and female riders:
Cross country – equestrian jumping is an endurance test that forms one of the three phases of the sport of eventing; it may also be a competition in its own right, known as hunter trials or simply “cross-country”, although these tend to be lower level, local competitions.
The object of the endurance test is to prove the speed, endurance and jumping ability of the true cross-country horse when he is well trained and brought to the peak of condition. At the same time, it demonstrates the rider’s knowledge of pace and the use of this horse across country.
Dressage – a French term, most commonly translated to mean “training”) is a highly skilled form of riding performed in exhibition and competition, as well as an “art” sometimes pursued solely for the sake of mastery. As an equestrian sport defined by the International Equestrian Federation, dressage is described as “the highest expression of horse training” where “horse and rider are expected to perform from memory a series of predetermined movements.”
Endurance riding -is an equestrian sport based on controlled long-distance races. It is one of the international competitions recognized by the FEI. There are endurance rides worldwide. Endurance rides can be any distance, though they are rarely over 160 km for a one-day competition.There are two main types of long-distance riding, competitive trail riding and endurance rides. In an endurance ride, discussed in this article, the winning horse is the first one to cross the finish line while stopping periodically to pass a veterinary check that deems the animal in good health and fit to continue. As with human marathon running, many riders will participate to improve their horse’s personal best performance and consider finishing the distance with a proper vet completion record to be a “win”.
“English pleasure” – is the generic term for a number of different English riding classes seen at horse shows in the United States, where the horse is ridden in either hunt seat or saddle seat tack.In the average English pleasure class, the horses perform as a group, exhibiting the natural gaits of the walk, trot, and canter, and may also be asked to extend the trot or to perform a hand gallop. Horses are judged on their manners, performance, quality and conformation. The horse is to give the impression of being a pleasure to ride.
In the show hunter and hunt seat world, pleasure-type classes where the horses are not to jump are sometimes referred to as “flat” classes or “Hunter under saddle.” In a variation on the pleasure class known as Hunter hack, riders may also be asked to have their horses jump two low jumps and back up. Show hack classes do not require jumping, but instead ask the horse to perform collected, regular, and extended versions of the walk, trot and canter, plus the hand gallop, usually attired in Dressage style equipment. In American Saddlebred breed competition, pleasure classes for five-gaited horses are sometimes offered, and at shows for “gaited” breeds such as the Tennessee Walker and the Missouri Fox Trotter, English pleasure classes substitute the breed’s particular ambling gait for the trot.
Equitation is the art or practice of horse riding or horsemanship.
More specifically, equitation may refer to a rider’s position while mounted, and encompasses a rider’s ability to ride correctly and with effective aids. In horse show competition, the rider, rather than the horse is evaluated. Such classes go by different names, depending on region, including equitation classes, rider classes, or horsemanship classes. Judging criteria covers the rider’s performance and control of the horse, use of riding aids, proper attire, correct form, and usually factor in rider poise and the cleanliness and polish of horse, rider and equipment. The performance of the horse is not judged per se, but a poorly performing horse is considered to reflect the ability of the rider. Equitation classes occur in the Hunt seat, Saddle seat, Dressage, and Western disciplines. A good equitation rider is always in balance with the horse, maintains a correct position in every gait, movement, or over a fence, and possesses a commanding, but relaxed, presence, able to direct the horse with nearly invisible aids.
Eventing – (also known as three day eventing or horse trials) is an equestrian event where a single horse and rider combine and compete against other competitors across the three disciplines of dressage, cross-country, and show jumping. This event has its roots in a comprehensive cavalry test that required mastery of several types of riding. The competition may be run as a one-day event (ODE), where all three events are completed in one day (dressage, followed by show jumping and then the cross-country phase) or a three-day event (3DE), which is more commonly now run over four days, with dressage on the first two days, followed by cross-country the next day and then show jumping in reverse order on the final day. Eventing was previously known as Combined Training, and the name persists in many smaller organizations. The term “Combined Training” is sometimes confused with the term “Combined Test”, which refers to a combination of just two of the phases, most commonly dressage and show jumping.
Equestrian vaulting –, or simply vaulting, is most often described as gymnastics and dance on horseback, which can be practiced both competitively or non-competitively. Vaulting has a history as an equestrian act at circuses, but its origins stretch back at least two-thousand years. It is open to both men and women and is one of ten equestrian disciplines recognized by the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (Fédération Équestre Internationale or FEI). Therapeutic or interactive vaulting is also used as an activity for children and adults who may have balance, attention, gross motor skill or social deficits.
Vaulting’s enthusiasts are concentrated in Europe and other parts of the Western world. It is well established in Germany and Switzerland and is growing in other western countries. Vaulting was first introduced in the United States in the 1950s and 60s but was limited only to California and other areas of the west coast. More recently, it is beginning to gain popularity in the United States northeast.
Harness racing – is a form of horse racing in which the horses race at a specific gait (a trot or a pace). They usually pull a two-wheeled cart called a sulky, or spider, occupied by a driver. In Europe, and less frequently in Australia and New Zealand, races with jockeys riding directly on saddled trotters (trot monté in French) are also conducted.
Horse racing – is an equestrian performance sport, typically involving two or more horses ridden by jockeys – mainly men (or sometimes driven without riders) over a set distance, for competition. It is one of the most ancient of all sports, as its basic premise – to identify which of two or more horses is the fastest over a set course or distance – has been unchanged since at least classical antiquity. This sport is also very dangerous, with 700 to 800 horse deaths per year- an estimated amount of two breakdowns out of 1000.
Horse races vary widely in format and many countries have developed their own particular traditions around the sport. Variations include restricting races to particular breeds, running over obstacles (cross-country), running over different distances (typically a mile, mile and a quarter, mile and an 8th, mile and a 16th), running on different track surfaces and running in different gaits. While horses are sometimes raced purely for sport, a major part of horse racing’s interest and economic importance is in the gambling associated with it, an activity that in 2008 generated a worldwide market worth around US$115 billion. Many people use a handicapper which is one who assigns weights for a handicap race and makes selections based on past performances.
Polo – is a horseback mounted team sport. It is one of the world’s oldest known team sports. The concept of the game and its variants date back from the 6th century BC to the 1st century AD. The sport originated from equestrian games played by nomadic Iranian and Turkic peoples. Polo was at first a training game for cavalry units, usually the Persian king’s guard or other elite troops.It is now popular around the world, with well over 100 member countries in the Federation of International Polo. It is played professionally in 16 countries. It was an Olympic sport from 1900 to 1936. Polo has been called “the sport of kings”. It has become a spectator sport for equestrians and society, often supported by sponsorship. The game is played by two opposing teams with the objective of scoring goals by using a long-handled wooden mallet to hit a small hard ball through the opposing team’s goal. Each team has four mounted riders, and the game usually lasts one to two hours, divided into periods called chukkas (or “chukkers”). Arena polo has similar rules, and is played with three players per team. The playing area is smaller, enclosed, and usually of compacted sand or fine aggregate, often indoors. Arena polo has more maneuvering due to space limitations, and uses an air inflated ball, slightly larger than the hard field polo ball. Standard mallets are used, though slightly larger head arena mallets are an option.
Pleasure driving – and Competitive driving is a horse show class seen in the United States, which features light breeds of horses and ponies hitched to a two or four-wheeled show cart. Horses are driven at a walk and two speeds of trot, generally designated as a working or regular trot and an extended “strong” trot. Many horse breeds compete in Pleasure driving. Most classes are judged on the horse’s manners, performance, quality and conformation.
Reining is a western riding competition for horses where the riders guide the horses through a precise pattern of circles, spins, and stops. All work is done at the lope (a slow, relaxed version of the horse gait more commonly known worldwide as the canter), or the gallop (the fastest of the horse gaits). Originating from working cattle, reining is often described as a Western form of dressage riding, as it requires the horse to be responsive and in tune with its rider, whose aids should not be easily seen, and judges the horse on its ability to perform a set pattern of movements. The horse should be willingly guided or controlled with little or no apparent resistance and dictated to completely. A horse that pins his ears, conveying a threat to his rider, refuses to go forward, runs sideways, bounces his rear, wrings his tail in irritation or displays an overall poor attitude is not being guided willingly, and is judged accordingly.
Rodeo – is a competitive equestrian sport that arose out of the working practices of cattle herding in Spain, Mexico, and later Central America, South America, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines. It was based on the skills required of the working vaqueros in the charreria and later, cowboys, in what today is the western United States, western Canada, and northern Mexico. Today, it is a sporting event that involves horses and other livestock, designed to test the skill and speed of the cowboys and cowgirls. American style professional rodeos generally comprise the following events: tie-down roping, team roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, bareback bronc riding, bull riding and barrel racing. The events are divided into two basic categories: the rough stock events and the timed events. Depending on sanctioning organization and region, other events such as breakaway roping, goat tying, and pole bending may also be a part of some rodeos. Rodeo is mainly a male dominated sport.
Show Hunter – The Hunter division is a branch of horse show competition that is judged on the horse’s performance, soundness and when indicated, conformation, suitability or manners. A “show hunter” is a horse that competes in this division. Show hunters, ideally, show many qualities that were rewarded in the fox hunting field such as manners, fluid movement, and correct jumping style. They are shown in hunt seat style tack. Any breed can be exhibited, but at the highest levels they are usually of Warmblood or Thoroughbred type, though a hunter-style pony is also seen in youth classes. Some classes are restricted to horses of certain breeds or height. In the United States, show hunters are primarily exhibited over fences in various divisions, including Green Hunter, Working Hunter, Conformation Hunter and so on, with a few additional classes offered for horses shown in-hand or on the flat, known as “Hunter Under Saddle.” In the United Kingdom, competition over fences is called “Working Hunter,” and the term “Show Hunter” describes classes held on the flat. Whilst there are similarities between the American and British classes, there are differences in scoring, attire and type.
Show jumping – also known as “stadium jumping“, “open jumping“, or simply “jumping“, is a part of a group of English riding equestrian events that also includes dressage, eventing, hunters, and equitation. Jumping classes are commonly seen at horse shows throughout the world, including the Olympics. Sometimes shows are limited exclusively to jumpers, sometimes jumper classes are offered in conjunction with other English-style events, and sometimes show jumping is but one division of very large, all-breed competitions that include a very wide variety of disciplines. Jumping classes may be governed by various national horse show sanctioning organizations.
A steeplechase -is a distance horse race in which competitors are required to jump diverse fence and ditch obstacles. Steeplechasing is primarily conducted in Ireland (where it originated), the United Kingdom, Canada, United States, Australia and France. The name is derived from early races in which orientation of the course was by reference to a church steeple, jumping fences and ditches and generally traversing the many intervening obstacles in the countryside.Modern usage of the term “steeplechase” differs between countries. In Ireland and the United Kingdom, it refers only to races run over large, fixed obstacles, in contrast to “hurdle” races where the obstacles are much smaller. The collective term “jump racing” or “National Hunt racing” is used when referring to steeplechases and hurdle races collectively (although, properly speaking, National Hunt racing also includes some flat races). Elsewhere in the world, “steeplechase” is used to refer to any race that involves jumping obstacles.The most famous steeplechase in the world is the Grand National run annually at Aintree Racecourse, in Liverpool, since its inception in 1836 (the official race was held three years later), which in 2014 offered a prize fund of 1 million pounds.
This sport is dominated by males.
Western Pleasure is a western style competition at horse shows that evaluates horses on manners and suitability of the horse for a relaxed but collected gait cadence and relatively slow speed of gait, along with calm and responsive disposition. The horse is to appear to be a “pleasure” to ride and very comfortable, while being very smooth. Most light horse breeds in the United States and Canada may compete in western pleasure classes, either in open competition or at shows limited to a single breed. However, horse conformation and temperament play a role in this event, and hence animals that are calm, quiet, have collected, soft gaits and the strong muscling required to sustain slow, controlled movement are the most competitive.