Watch and learn about the horse sports played around the world - show jumping, rodeo, polo, dressage, reining, eventing, barrel racing, cross-country, thoroughbred racing, horseball, polocrosse & MORE!
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Barrel Racing tests the horse’s athletic ability and the rider’s horsemanship skills. The team runs a cloverleaf pattern around three preset barrels in the fastest time possible. While both sexes compete at youth and amateur levels, at collegiate and professional levels the competitors are mainly women.
Combined Driving is Eventing with a team of horses and a carriage. The horses and drivers compete in three purposefully similar phases – dressage, marathon, and cones. The fast and furious action of a marathon, the cross-country cousin is largely attributable to the sport's explosion with the public in recent years.
Cowboy Mounted Shooting involves a horse, cowboy, and their guns negotiating a course filled with targets. The cowboys use two 0.45 caliber single action revolvers firing blanks at balloons mounted on posts in various patterns. Each revolver is loaded with five blanks. The rounds are timed, ranging between fifteen and thirty-five seconds, and there are ten balloons. There is a five second penalty for each missed balloon and a ten second penalty for not running the course correctly.
In cross country jumping, the horse and rider’s endurance, skill, and agility are put to the test as they run a prescribed course through fields and forests up to two miles long. The course is set with an optimal time that the horse and rider must complete it in. The team negotiates logs, ditches, streams, banks, hills, and fences in the pursuit of a clear round of zero penalties for disobedience, falls, rider errors or time overage. The lowest score wins.
Dressage is a test of the horse and rider on how well they can perform a series of prescribed movements. Derived from the French verb “dresseur”, meaning “to train”, the top dressage students have impeccably trained their horses to develop harmonious and fluid movements performed from seemingly imperceptible signals. Dressage is an extremely difficult discipline and has deep historical and classical roots. The USA National and FEI governed levels exist to promote uniformity internationally.
Endurance riding is a timed test of a horse and rider team’s ability to traverse a marked and measured cross country trail over natural terrain covering 50 to 100 miles a day. Riders are allowed twelve hours to complete a 50-mile ride and twenty-four hours for a 100-mile ride.
Eventing is the equestrian’s triathlon: Dressage. Cross Country Jumping. Show Jumping.
It is a true test to a horse and riders’ complete ability – grace, bravery, endurance, poise, and precision. Throughout the event, penalty points accrue. The pair with the lowest score at the end wins.
Horseball is a team sport based on offense and defense with the objective of scoring goals by throwing a ball through a vertical hoop on the opposition's end. There are six team members – four players and two substitutes. Team members must make a minimum of three passes between three different players before scoring. The ball cannot be with a rider for more than ten seconds while they are on the attack. When the ball falls, riders must pick it up without dismounting the horse.
Mounted Games are amazingly fast and played on ponies by people of all ages. The many different Mounted Games require a high degree of athletic ability, riding skills, hand-eye coordination, perseverance, competitiveness, and teamwork.
Polo, also known as “the sport of kings”, is one of the world’s oldest known team sports. Dating to the 6th Century BC, Polo originated in Persia as a training game for the Persian King’s cavalry. Two teams compete to score goals using a long-handled wooden mallet to hit a small hard ball through the opposition’s goal. Each team has 4 mounted players, and they compete to score the most goals throughout the match.
Polocrosse is just what it sounds like – Polo meets Lacrosse. Each rider uses a fiberglass stick with a loose net attached to carry, pickup, pass, and shoot a sponge rubber ball. A team of six rotates two different groups of three throughout the match – an attackman, defenseman, and midfielder. The most goals scored at the end of the last chukka wins.
Reining events are designed to show the athletic ability of a ranch-type horse within an arena. The horse and rider perform twelve specific patterns, exhibiting compulsory movements that include small slow circles, large fast circles, flying changes of lead, rollbacks, dizzyingly quick 360-degree spins, and the hallmark sliding stops. Scoring is based on smoothness, finesse, attitude, quickness, and authority.
Roping events are one of the western sports that the public is most familiar with. Roping demonstrates one of the most exciting aspects of the working cowboy. Simulating the need to capture cattle, competitors are tasked to lasso the cow over the head, on the horns, and/or around the hind legs before securing the animal as the event dictates. The fastest time wins. There are three different roping events:
In a show jumping event, aka stadium jumping, horse and rider are required to jump a series of obstacles within a time limit. The course includes fences no more than 5.25 feet (1.6 meters) high typically placed less than 40 feet (12 meters) apart. There are three major classes that score their competitors based on different standards.
The sport of vaulting combines dance and gymnastics on a moving horse. Vaulters may compete individually, in pairs, or as part of a team. In team competitions, up to three members of the team are on the horse at once doing a variety of moves! Competition levels are broken down by the speed of the horses’ gait.