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Equestrian sports: a complete guide for amateurs and professionals

Equestrian sport is a sporting practice that encompasses different disciplines that combine the work between a rider and a horse, putting into practice different exercises depending on the speciality.

Therefore, if you like the world of horses and you are thinking of taking up a sport of this type, at Equspaddock, as experts in equestrian equipment, we have prepared a complete guide so that you can choose according to your needs. Enjoy the sport, the animals and nature at the same time!

History and evolution of equestrian sports

Sport with a horse is a practice that dates back thousands of years. And if we are talking about riding for sporting and competitive purposes, it was already practised in ancient Greece and Rome. This is why equestrian disciplines are so popular nowadays and why there is such a great interest in them.

It can be said that horse riding and equestrian sports are part of the most popular culture and traditions in Spain, and therefore, it has different practices such as military horsemanship or dressage.

How many equestrian sports are there?

As we mentioned before, this type of exercise is one of the most practised in our country and there is a great variety of possibilities. In addition, each discipline has different levels of difficulty and can be adapted to the rider, whatever their experience in the equestrian world.

Disciplines in equestrian sports

Based on official data from the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), there are seven equestrian disciplines:

  • Dressage: this practice is based on the precision, harmony and fluidity of the movements performed by rider and horse together. There is a jury that regulates and judges the precision, elegance and obedience of the animal when performing different exercises.
  • Show jumping: in this case, the ability of the rider and horse to overcome obstacles is measured. Therefore, it requires practice, technique, precision and power from both.
  • Complete equestrian competition: this discipline is one of the most demanding and requires the most experience as it combines dressage, show jumping and cross-country. In this way, the versatility and endurance of the rider-horse combination is put to the test.
  • Stalking and tackling: in this test, the horse, guided by the rider, must chase an artificial fox with a pack of dogs along a pre-established course.
  • Harnessing: In this discipline, horses pull carriages and are tested on speed and different skills.
  • Reining: In this type of equestrian sport, the horse’s skill, control and precision in circles, changes of direction and slides are measured.
  • Tumbling: this is one of the most striking and demanding, as the rider performs acrobatics on a galloping horse. Therefore, good balance, excellent rider-horse coordination and strength are required.

These are the different equestrian techniques, although the most recommended for beginners can be summarised as: basic horsemanship, dressage and show jumping. If you are an experienced rider, you can try reining, full equestrian competitions or vaulting.

Whatever type of riding you do, it is advisable to adapt it to your skills, needs and physical preparation. The most important thing is that you have fun and enjoy yourself with your horse.

Essential equipment for equestrian practice

When practising any of these equestrian sports, it is important to have the best possible equipment. Above all, because this will influence the learning, safety and effectiveness of the rider. Therefore, if you are thinking about horse riding or any other equestrian speciality, you must have:

– Helmet.

– Riding boots.

– Comfortable and flexible trousers. And if they are specific for horse riding, even better.

– Gloves.

– Riding jacket.

– Whip.

– Saddle, although they usually leave it for you in the riding centres.

– Bridles and reins for the horse.

– Stirrups.

Tips and techniques for beginners and advanced riders

As we have mentioned in this article, the different practices of this sport can be adapted to different levels of difficulty. Therefore, depending on the experience of the rider and the horse, here are some tips.

If you are a beginner, this is the first time you have ridden a horse or you have very little experience, we recommend that you start with basic lessons to get to know the horse and its behaviour. In this way, you will be able to get to know the horse better and adapt to it. In addition, it is important that you use all the necessary riding equipment for safety and fluency.

It is also important that you have a lot of patience and learn little by little. This way, the animal will gain confidence in you and you will work much better together.

On the other hand, if you are an advanced rider with experience, it is interesting to train frequently to improve your technique and progress in your movements. You can also sign up for competitions to test yourself as a team and even try new techniques. This way, you will learn more exercises and movements together with your animal and you can continue to have fun.

In short, equestrian sports offer a wide range of possibilities, whatever your level. So, if you are thinking of taking up one of them, we recommend that you go to a centre and let the riding experts help you choose the best discipline for you. And if you already have experience, compete and win prizes with your horse!

At Equspaddock, as lovers of the equine world, we closely follow all these types of sporting practices and competitions. So, we know first hand how exciting and fun they are. Find out!

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