4 Popular Equestrian Sports

Equestrian sports, i.e., those that involve horses, date back to ancient times and are still popular today. There are many different types of sports available for horses and handlers to participate in together. Some have been around for centuries while others are relatively new. Some are widespread, while others are relatively confined to a particular geographic area. Here are a few of the most popular equestrian sports.

1. Racing
There are several different types of horse racing events. Flat racing involves horses ridden by jockeys running around a track and competing against one another to come in first. There are no obstacles or jumping involved. Cross-country racing involves navigating a course spread out over miles and incorporates the element of an obstacle course.

2. Showjumping
The goal of showjumping is simple: Navigating an obstacle course without hitting or knocking over any of the jumps. While the concept is simple, it requires precision and accuracy of the rider and agility of the horse. Horses are trained with horse jump cavaletti to prevent them from hurting themselves while they learn the necessary skills.

3. Team Sports
The combination of horse and rider could be considered a “team.” However, team equestrian sports involve many horses and riders on one side competing against another. One of the most popular team equestrian sports is polo. Players mounted on horseback use a long-handled mallet to try to move a ball along a field to score goals.

4. Dressage
It is hard to explain dressage to someone who has never seen it. It involves taking a horse through a predetermined series of moves and steps and requires enormous discipline on the part of both the rider and the horse. Dressage is sometimes referred to as equestrian ballet because of the exacting movements and because it can be set to music, although this is not a requirement.

Another popular equestrian sport is eventing, which combines elements of showjumping, cross-country racing, and dressage.

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