Horse Riding Sports

Both English and Western horse riding enthusiasts have numerous choices.

English Horse Riding Sports

If you like individual competition and your horse has the potential for learning to respond well to subtle cues from you, then you might consider dressage. As a matter of fact, no matter which activities you favor, dressage techniques are highly recommended for helping you establish good control over your horse.

If you prefer more action and want to feel the heat of the race, you”re likely to enjoy endurance riding or cross-country riding. Another popular event at many horse shows is jumping. Clearly, you should get some expert advice about your horse to determine if he or she has the stamina, strength, and courage for these. Eventing is a combination of dressage, show jumping, and cross-country riding.

Driving is a popular sport; keep in mind, though, that you will incur the expense of a cart or other type of horse-drawn vehicle. The transportation of both the horse and cart may also be costly.

At the high-action end of the spectrum are team sports such as polo, polocrosse, and horseball. Horse racing is also a high profile sport with plenty of excitement.

Beginners should consider participating in mounted games before choosing a sport. They are fun and varied, and will get you involved in the equestrian community. Attend gymkhana events as a spectator to see for yourself the range of activities and skills.

Western Horse Riding Sports

Western sports evolved around the skills and endurance needed for working with cattle and other animals. Breakaway roping, team roping, and calf roping are good examples. The sports of bareback riding and saddle bronc riding are among the most exciting, albeit the most dangerous, of riding sports.

Barrel racing is particularly popular with women. This sport requires great agility and bursts of speed. Pole bending is a similar sport that requires riding a pattern around a set of poles.

A more graceful sport, and one that”s a delight to watch, is vaulting, which despite its name, is not about leaping over objects but about doing gymnastics on horseback. Team vaulting is also very popular.

A sport that shows off your horse”s skills and grace is reining. This sport requires maneuvers that test your ability to guide and control your horse as well as your horse”s power and agility.

For kids, a variety of games and variations on the popular western sports are featured at rodeos designed just for children. Check out a Little Britches Rodeo or Pony Club. They”re great spectator sports!

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