In a previous post, we explained the differences between Western and English riding. Both types of riding have their own disciplines, or activities, commonly associated with them. In this post, we give you a crash course in several of those disciplines so that you’ll know what people are talking about if you ever hear them mention cutting or hunt seat.
Barrel Racing - The horse must turn around 3 barrels at high speed without knocking them over. The fastest horse and rider win!
Cowboy Mounted Shooting - This relatively recent sport involves riding a horse while shooting blank guns at balloons in a set pattern. Participants are judged based on their speed and accuracy.
Cutting - The horse and rider enter a herd of cattle and separate one animal from the group. They must prevent it from rejoining the herd for a certain amount of time.
Reining - The horse moves in various patterns, including circles and slides. It’s judged based on its obedience and accuracy.
Rodeo - This event combines several typical cowboy activities, including roping and barrel racing. Participants also try to remain seated on a bronco - an untrained horse - or bull, for 8 seconds.
Roping - In this speed contest, the rider throws a lasso at a steer, or young neutered male cattle. The rope is attached to the horse’s saddle horn. The rider then dismounts and ropes the steer’s legs.
Dressage - In this competition, the horse must move in set patterns and movements, such as circles. The horse is judged based on its accuracy, obedience, and presence. In a variation known as quadrille, 2 or more pairs of horses move to music.
Eventing - This competition with military roots combines dressage, cross-country jumping, and standard jumping.
Hunt Seat - A person riding hunt seat sits farther forward in the saddle, both for jumping (hunter over fences) and on-the-ground riding (hunter under saddle). The horse is evaluated on its style. Due to the discipline’s origins in fox hunting, the jumps are often painted natural colours with plants around their base to mimic a natural hunting setting.
The opposite of hunt seat is saddle seat, in which the rider sits far back in the saddle, and the horse moves with a high-stepping gait.
Jumper - This discipline tests horses purely on their ability to negotiate jumps cleanly - the judges do not take the horse’s style into account.
Mounted Games - The pony and rider participate in a variety of tests of their speed and accuracy, such as picking up objects. The event takes place at a gallop and involves getting on and off the pony repeatedly. If the rider makes a mistake, they must stop and correct it.
Polo - This sport played on a grassy field involves 2 teams of 4 riders. They use mallets to knock a wooden ball between goal posts.
Who knew there were so many activities you can do on horseback! Do any of them sound like fun? Let us know in the comments!
Hello, My name is Shelby Gatti, and I am the owner of Shelby Ranch. I love being able to share my passion for animals with you and your family. At Shelby Ranch you can expect a ton of family adventure from horseback riding to mechanical bull riding & axe throwing.