Horseplay: Sports, Exhibitions, and Other Equine Activities

If you are the type of person who loves to get involved in activities and wants a horse to be a part of your experience, you are in luck. A wide range of riding activities are available for horse owners (and even non-equine owners) who want to spend quality time with the horses.
If you’re the competitive type, there’s plenty to do outside of the show circuit to keep you occupied. If you just want to do things for horses for sheer fun, you won’t find a shortage of events to choose from. Whatever your style or preference, chances are there will be a horse activity for you, as you can see in the following sections.
Most of these events are geared towards people who own their horse, with the exception of jumping. If you don’t own a horse, consider renting a horse that you can use for your activity of choice. Just make sure the horse owner is okay with what you intend to do.
Participate in the track events
In the old days, horse riding was carried out in the wild, on tracks formed by horse riders or game migratory. Riding on these tracks was both exciting and challenging, and only the toughest horses and riders survived the toughest rides.
Decades later, people who value this legacy have developed two events that celebrate trail riding while adding a competitive factor: endurance riding and competitive trail riding. The following sections look at each of these sports.
Endurance riding
The sport of endurance riding has grown in popularity over the past 30 years. The most important event, the annual Western States Endurance Race (known informally as the Tevis Cup), takes place in Northern California and has international coverage. Hundreds of smaller local events also take place across North America each year.
The goal of endurance riding is to cover a certain number of miles on horseback in the shortest amount of time. Endurance competitions often consist of 25 to 100 miles per day or multi-day runs that typically cover 50 miles per day over four to six days. The team of the horse and rider that reaches the finish line first is the winner. (Horses are subject to mandatory veterinary examinations for the duration of the competition, and only horses deemed physically fit are allowed to finish the event.)
Endurance riding calls for a team of horses and a rider who is both fit and athletic. The team must undergo serious months of conditioning training before they can compete in their endurance journey. This rigorous type of riding calls for a horse that is very well-adapted and comfortable on the trail. Riders should be very fit, too. Imagine you are sitting in the saddle for 100 miles with a few short rest periods in between. Achieving this kind of muscle strength and endurance takes a lot of effort.
All breeds of lightweight horses can participate in endurance competitions, although the Arabian horses dominate the sport due to their great ability to travel long distances. Horses on endurance rides wear whatever type of harness the rider prefers, although most people use custom-made endurance saddles and halter/bridle combinations. The following figure shows an endurance rider in competition.
The American Endurance Riding Conference (AERC) can give you more information about endurance riding.
Competitive arcade ride
Competitive trail riding is for those riders who enjoy adapting their horses for trail riding and want to refine them into a beautiful art. Competitive track events consist of rides ranging from approximately 10 to 50 miles per day across various terrains. Unlike endurance riding, competitive track events are not racing; Instead of using time as a determining factor, judges rate horses primarily on their physical condition, with their obedience to the rider along the track also as a factor in many events. Speed ​​is not important, as long as the horse and rider complete the ride in the minimum and maximum amount of time. A veterinarian and a regular judge check the horses periodically throughout the trip to determine their fitness as the day progresses.
In order to compete successfully in competitive riding, horses must be comfortable when riding on the trail, be in good physical shape, well trained and obey. Riders need to be in good shape, too, because even a 10 mile ride can mean a few hours in the saddle.
The rider determines the type of wheel, although most riders use endurance saddles and halter/bridle combinations. Almost any breed can participate in competitive trail riding.
The North American Trail Ride Conference (NATRC) has more details on competitive trail riding.
work equation
The sport that is spreading rapidly in North America is the equation. Incorporating dressage and livestock work, he began working the equation in Europe and made his way west.
The purpose of this sport is to showcase the equestrian techniques of the different countries that use mounted horses to work in the field. Riders are expected to dress according to their riding style, whether it be Western, dressage, hunting seat, or Hispanic.
At the higher levels, the working equation consists of four stages: dressage, ease of handling, speed, and cows. For those who are just getting started in the sport, the lower levels only include dressage and ease of handling. Any breed can participate, and teams of horses and riders can rise in levels as you gain experience.
The two North American organizations dedicated to the Labor Equivalency Association, the American Labor Equivalency Association and the Labor Equivalency Association, can provide you with more information.
Play polo, the sport of kings
Although the fast-paced sport of polo is seen as a contemporary activity, in fact this game is thousands of years old. Historians believe that polo originated in the Middle East around 500 BC – surprisingly, the sport is still practiced today!
Almost everyone has heard of polo, but few people know how it is played. Like football on horseback, polo is a team sport that aims to score goals against the opposing team. Riders use a long-handled mallet to push the ball toward the goal. Four riders make up a polo team, although many riders have more than one horse so they can swap horses throughout the match – hence the idea that rich people play polo with a “chain of polo ponies”.
Although the mounts used for polo are called ponies, they are not technically ponies at all. (Ponies make up certain breeds of small horses that measure 14 hands or less.) Almost any breed of horse can be used for polo, but the faster and more athletic the mountain, the better.
You don’t need to own a string of polo ponies to play polo. In fact, you don’t need to own a horse or even know how to ride at all. Polo schools are available all over the country, and they provide riding and polo lessons for adults at costs about the same as skiing or diving lessons. Contact the American Polo Association for help in finding a polo school in your area.

ault into gymnastics
I love watching the gymnastics competition at the Olympics every four years, which is probably why I get such a big kick out of vaulting, too. Vaulting is basically gymnastics on horseback.
In vaulting, participants perform a number of actions on the back of a moving horse who has been fitted with a special surcingle, a leather strap with handles that goes around the horse’s barrel (see the following figure) and gives the vaulter something to hold onto. Rider movements include
Basic seat: The vaulter sits on the horse with arms held out to the sides.
Flag: The vaulter jumps to his or her knees on the horse’s back and extends one leg out straight behind with arms extended.
Mill: This move is equivalent to the work done on the pommel horse in gymnastics. The vaulter swings his or legs and body into different positions while holding onto handles on the surcingle.
Scissors: The scissors requires swinging into a handstand on the horse’s back as the legs scissor out to either side.
Stand: The vaulter stands on the horse’s back with arms held out to the side.
Flank: In this complicated series of movements, the rider holds onto the vaulting saddle and swings his or her legs up and through the air. Eventually, the vaulter lands next to the horse in the finale of the movement.
The vaulting is done both competitively and also for exhibition. In a vaulting competition, you can participate as an individual or as part of a pair or team. The competition starts to trot and make your way to the trotting. Some therapeutic riding programs also use jumping maneuvers to help the physically and mentally disabled gain balance and muscle strength. Defenders learn their craft on a barrel horse (a fake horse) first before graduating to use a real horse.
To get involved in jumping, join a local jump club. You can find a club by contacting the American Vaulting Association.

Digging on horseback
If your favorite scenes in the Hollywood Westerns contain dramatic footage of cavalry coming to the rescue, a pit team ride might be for you. Drilling is having a group of riders doing maneuvers together as a rider sitting alone calling out directions. Digging on horseback is a lot of fun, and gives riders a chance to meet and socialize with others who enjoy the same activity.
Drilling on horseback is a very ancient activity, going back to the Roman armies and possibly even earlier. In the old days, when horses were the primary vehicles of war, pits were used to train cavalry soldiers to follow orders accurately and obediently. Today, teamwork pits is for fun. Riders who enjoy digging get together and form clubs that practice at least once a week. They perform their precision engravings at parades, at county fairs, and during horse shows.

Most practice teams consist of ten to twelve pairs of horses and jockeys, sometimes more. The training communicator gives the commands that the horse and rider teams follow. Each command requires a specific movement, and when several teams of knights and knights perform these movements in tandem, the group ends up moving as a unit. The figure shows the drilling team working together.
Because of the military basis, the work of the training team calls for discipline on the part of the rider and obedience on the part of the horse. You need to memorize each maneuver and have your horse perform it the moment you hear the command. In the pits, you practice with gallery drills, and after a few drills with your group, you will know exactly what is coming from the piercing caller. The choreographed drills you perform at fairs, horse shows, and team drill competitions are the same drills that you and your team have practiced at home (or in the arena) many times.
Most digging teams use Western saddlery and apparel, although English and breed-specific saddles (such as traditional saddles made specifically for the riding breed) may also appear.
You can locate a digging team in your area by requesting a referral from your local forage and forage store. Or try searching online or in a regional horse publication for fair notices or coaching teams looking for new members.

Ride rallies
If you’ve always wanted to take part in a parade but can’t walk and play sousaphone at the same time, a horse might just be the answer. Maybe you could ride and play susavon, instead! Then again, maybe not, but have you ever seen a parade without horses? Horses and parades go hand in hand. As a jockey, you are automatically eligible to move from Parade Moderator to Parade Participant.
Riding in a parade can be very fun. You and your horse are in the spotlight (along with your imaginary companions), and all you have to do is look good and wave!
The equestrian units you see at big shows like the Tournament of Roses Parade are part of organized riding groups. Riders may be members of a riding club, representatives of a local riding club or breed organization, or part of a horseback training team group (see previous section). The theme of the group in the show usually represents everything the club is about. For example, if the club is a military-style riding group for juniors, the kids will wear their uniforms and most likely carry flags. If the jockeys are a local Palomino horse club, all the horses are Palominos in their best costume.
To participate in a large parade, you must be a member of an organized riding group (unless you are a local celebrity and you can justify participation based on your individual merits) and have a number of small parades under your belt. If you live in a small town, your local show may be small and informal enough that individual riders can sign up as well.
If riding at the big rally suits you, your first step is to join a local riding group. Among all the different types of riding groups, choose the one that best suits your age group and riding interests. Your Department of Parks and Recreation should be able to provide you with some names and numbers of ride groups in your area.

reenact history
If you like to watch period movies, especially those set during the Civil War or the Indian Wars, you’ve no doubt seen a reenactment in action. Although the huge budgets of today’s motion pictures might lead you to believe that all those soldiers and cowboys you see on the silver screen are professional actors, in reality, these characters are usually seasoned, dressed up in vintage clothes and riding their horses into a fictitious image. Battles are periodically whether the cameras are present or not.
Re-enacting famous battles has been the hobby of thousands of knights for decades, as well as for non-knights playing foot soldiers in this mock war. These live across the country and recreate battles from various wars and periods. The most famous Civil War reenactments are, though re-enactments of American and American cavalry battles, Revolutionary and British battles, and clashes from the Mexican-American War, among many other events celebrated throughout the year in the United States by riders who They seem possessed by the spirits of those who came before us.
Engaging in reenactment first means joining a reenactment group. It is not difficult to find these groups if you have an internet connection. Putting “reenact”, “horse” and your status in the search engine should give you a list of groups near you.
After you find reenactment groups in your area, you can decide what kind of person you want to portray from the past. If the Civil War interests you, you have to decide whether you want to be on the Union side or the Confederate side. If you like the idea of ​​re-enacting American cavalry fights, you should decide what role you would like to play. After you join a group, you will find out all about how re-enactment works and how you can incorporate your horse.