Competing against other horse and riders as well as having your own personal goals is a great way of assessing and challenging yourself and gives you a drive and determination to succeed and win against others. Hard work and a thorough understanding of the sport you wish to compete in are essential requirements to being a successful competitor.
There are many different riding sports available to cater for the individual and team player in both jumping and non jumping areas.
Endurance riding is when horse and rider must cover a set distance as quickly as possible without overstress, with distances varying from 25 miles (40 km ) to 100 miles (160 km). Veterinary checkpoints need to be negotiated along the way, so map reading and navigational skills are essential, as well as a fit horse and rider.
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Western Riding Competitions
Western riding competitions test the skills of the horses agility as well as the riders skills and technique. Competitions can vary from barrel racing which is a fast and furious race around barrels, to the working cow horse competition where the skills of the horse and rider to maneuver a cow around the arena are tested.
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This is a fast moving team event with four riders in each team, all aiming to score as many goals as possible against the opposing team. Polo is ridden on a pitch with a goal at either end and the skills required are mallet and ball skills with excellent riding.
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Driving competitions are held in show rings where combinations can be judged on turnout and appearance of both horse, carriage and driver. Their are also competitions where an obstacle course has to be maneuvered, and it is the requirement that the driver get their team of horses around the course as quickly and efficiently as possible.
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Four riders form a team who compete all together around a cross country course, the first three riders through the finish will count as the team with the aim being to make it around the course as quickly as possible. Refusals and run outs do not count so it is all down to speed, with the fastest team around being the winner.
Horses racing is a fast moving and exhilarating sport where horses can be raced both on the flat over a set distance or over fences, some racing requires the horse to be ridden and other races require the horse to pull sulkies.
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These are games on horses. These games can be done as an individual against others or as part of a team and involve games such as bending in and out of cones and the egg and spoon race. You and your horse will need to be fit and agile to be successful at mounted games. The pony club hold regular competitions for a variety of sports including mounted games where branches hold both "in house" competitions as well as inter branch competitions.
Eventing is a three phase competition where horse and rider will need to be skilled in dressage, show jumping and cross country. Eventing starts at 'intro' level and proceeds up to 'advanced' with competitions being either one, two or three day depending on the class, with competitions held both in the UK and abroad. Horse and rider are able to gain points for good results which allow them to qualify and progress up to the next level which becomes more technical and challenging in all three phases each time.
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This is where a course of eight to twelve show jumps are ridden in an enclosed arena, the object being to go clear around the course and inside the optimum time. Once clear you then qualify for the jump off which is a timed event where a shortened course is ridden at speed with the fastest clear being the winner. Some examples of show jumping classes include the Puissance, the Derby, Find Your Own Line and Speed Classes to name but a few.
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Dressage is a highly competitive sport in which horse and rider have to perform a series of set movements around a marked arena, the type of movement required will depend on the level that is being performed but will increase in difficulty starting from introductory level and moving all the way up to Grand Prix which is the most technical. These dressage tests are pre written in the order that they are to be performed in and are marked by a judge who watches the test and grades each movement out of ten, the higher the total mark the better. These tests form a natural progression alongside the very basis of dressage which is training, and as the horse develops the technical difficulty of the tests can also increase.
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Showing classes can be both in hand or under saddle and give you the chance to show off your horses conformation and way of going against other horses of the same category. Horses need excellent conformation, movement and turnout not forgetting the correct correct tack and paper work to qualify for the breed classes which include classes such as working hunter, riding horse and show hack.
Vaulting is when gymnastic exercises are performed by a rider or riders whilst on a horse which is on the lunge. Competitions are held both nationally and internationally.
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