Dressage requires the horse and rider to combine the strength and agility of gymnastics with the elegance and beauty of ballet. The result is truly the best blend of sport and art. The highlight of a dressage competition is the Musical Freestyle in which the rider creates and choreographs to music an original ride of compulsory figures and movements.
In the modern Endurance discipline a horse/rider combination must complete a prescribed course in the fastest time possible, while meeting strict veterinary criteria. Distances of 50, 75 or 100 miles are covered in a single day. Endurance riding combines riding a challenging course with your equine partner and the fun and camaraderie of camping and socializing with a group of individuals who share your same interests.
In a jumping competition the horse and rider are tested under various conditions over a course of obstacles. It is intended to demonstrate the horse's freedom, energy, skill, speed and obedience in jumping as well as the rider's horsemanship. Show jumping is a member of a family of English riding equestrian events that also includes dressage, eventing, hunters and equitation.
Eventing brings out the harmony between horse and rider that characterize dressage; the courage and stamina essential for the cross country; the agility and technique involved in jumping.
Hunters over fences are judged on performance and soundness. Judges are looking for great jumping style, quality of both looks and movement, as well as willingness, manners, and suitability of horse and rider. Hunters on the flat are judged both directions at the walk, trot, canter, and sometimes the hand gallop. Movement, manners, and quality are judged at all gaits.
HUNTER SEAT EQUITATION
Hunter Seat Equitation is a division judged on the ability and style of the riders over fences and on the flat. In over fences the riders are judged not only on their ability to negotiate a course of jumps on their horses, but also on their style and position. On the flat riders are tested at the walk, trot and canter at the lower levels, and at more difficult gaits in higher level classes.
Trail riding is riding outdoors on natural trails and roads as opposed to riding in an enclosed area such as a riding arena. Trail rides may be informal activities of an individual or small group of people, or may be larger events organized by a club. There are competitive events available, which test the horse and rider's ability to navigate obstacles commonly found on the trail.
Polo is a team sport played on horseback in which the objective is to score goals against an opposing team. Players score by driving a small white plastic or wooden ball into the opposing team's goal using a long-handled mallet.The horses traditionally called ponies, are well trained equine athletes. Able to stop and turn on a dime, they are considered faster than racehorses over short distances. Polo ponies are the most essential part of the game.
Saddle seat is a style of riding within the category of English riding that is designed to show off the high trotting action of certain horse breeds. All saddle seat riding is done on the flat. In Saddle seat, high-stepping gaits are required of the horses shown, and the rider's position, behind the center of balance of the animal, allows the riding aids to be used to encourage front leg action in the horse.