Horse riding has been considered a sport in its own right since antiquity. As a result, there are currently many ways to practice this activity. From Rodeo to jumpers and polo, riders have no choice but to choose. They can also practice alone or as a team.
The Olympic Games are one of the most prestigious sports competitions in the world and represent a dream for many athletes. During this historic event, riders can participate in three disciplines: dressage, CCE (equestrian eventing) and CSO (show jumping). Equestrian events were the only ones to be mixed during the Olympic Games.
For dressage, the competition consists of movements and figures to show the horse’s abilities, the quality of his training and the great mastery of the rider. The judges observe both the sequence and the execution of the requested figures.
During the CSO, the horse must cross several obstacles in a certain order and as quickly as possible, without dropping them. The principle is simple, but the difficulty lies in combining dexterity and speed.
Finally, the CEC brings together three exercises to be performed with the same mount : an obstacle course, a cross-country event and a dressage test. Horses and their riders are rated based on the results obtained in each test.
World Equestrian Games
The World Equestrian Games (WEC) is the World Equestrian Games held in the world of equestrian. The competition is comprised of eight disciplines including dressage, CCE, CSO, endurance, harness, reining, para-Equestrian dressage (for riders with a disability) and aerobatics.
The team is divided into different categories depending on the number of horses leading the wagon (1, 2 or 4) and the nature of the horse (ponies, draught horses or blood horses). The competitions also include several successive tests, including dressage, handling and marathon.
Endurance tests are generally carried out on a marked course, at free or imposed speed, with or without couplings. They can compete over a distance of 20 to 160 km, depending on the level of the competitors. Throughout the route, veterinarians frequently check the vital signs of horses to limit the risk of accidents.
Inspired by Western horse riding, reining consists of chaining patterns to enhance the handling of the horse through the quality of its dressage. The equine is guided with flexible reins and one hand throughout the course. The complicity of the rider and his mount is really decisive for the quality of execution of these successive movements.
As one of the World Equestrian Games events, vaulting consists of performing various figures on the horse and in music. These movements can be carried out at a gallop or at a pace, alone or as a team. To facilitate the execution of the choreography, the equidé is equipped with a wide carpet and a surfaix. The notation takes into account the finesse of the execution, the regularity of the gait and the artistic expression.
In a less artistic way, equestrian team sports are relatively numerous and are often challenging for riders like horses. Polo and horse-ball are among the most popular disciplines in the world. The two teams usually compete on standardized fields and use standardized equipment to be on a level playing field.
In polo, teams are made up of three to four riders. Replacements are allowed for all players. The goal is to throw the ball in the opponent’s goal using a mallet. After a goal, the two teams exchange sides. In this way, no party is favoured by the possible defects on the turf field.
The horse-ball sees teams of four riders, plus two alternates, competing in a career. They have to send a ball with leather handles to the opposing goal, which is high up. In addition, players must complete at least three assists before attempting to score. If the ball is on the ground, the riders must stay in the saddle to pick it up.