I have been riding horses for 17 years, and rode competitively for many of those years. I had a couple of friends who rode horses with me and were involved in this other equestrian sport that I didn’t know too much about. Vaulting is an equestrian sport that is a combination of gymnastics and dance on horseback. The two girls finally convinced me that I should come to practice with them and see what this whole “vaulting thing” was all about. One practice and I was hooked. That one practice was seven years ago. I have formed amazing friendships with many of my teammates, as well as bonds with the amazing gentle giants that make this sport possible.
There are many different levels of competitive vaulting; tiny tot, trot, copper, bronze, silver, and gold. Vaulting is a team as well as individual sport.
This sport has many different events including; individual compulsories, individual freestyle, team, triples, and pas de deux. In addition to these events on the horse there are also events on the barrel. It is a stationary barrel, therefore the vaulter has the opportunity to execute more difficult exercises.
Two of the main events preformed are individual compulsories and individual freestyle. Compulsories are a set of 7 set exercises that all vaulters execute is a specific order. Different levels have their own sets of rules and regulations. (I won’t get too technical) The compulsory exercises include; mount, basic seat, flag, mill, scissors, stand, and flank. These exercises are judged and scored on different aspects such as stretch and mechanics. The judge will score each move between 1 and 10, a 10 being a perfect score. In individual freestyle the vaulter has the freedom to choose your music, exercises, and transitions. Similar to compulsories each of your exercises is judged with a score between 1 and 10, as well as an easy, medium, difficult, or risk move. The following photos are a sequence of the compulsory moves in the order that they are performed in. These photos are from a regional competition last year.
The next sequence of photos are some random freestyle moves performed at the silver level last year.
As a vaulter one of our main goals is to appear that we are defying gravity, and make this challenging sport look effortless.