Equestrian vaulting is a fun and exciting sport which everyone can enjoy.
Otherwise known as gymnastics on horseback, vaulting was a popular sport in Roman times. This evolved along different paths to become circus bareback riding, roman riding, trick riding and more recently it has become a highly competitive international sport.
Valley Farm is probably most famous for its success in this field, having competed nationally and internationally for more than eight years.
Vaulting is an excellent, fun way for all riders to improve their confidence and balance, and is especially good for developing a deep seat in canter. It can also be a good way for non-riders to get used to horses and horse-riding.
The sport involves either individuals or groups of up to three people performing movements on a horse. Starting off with simple moves, like sitting with the arms out, while the horse is walking, to shoulder stands, forward rolls and backward flips in canter!
All the moves are taught on a tin/wooden horse before moving on to the real thing, and are practised in walk before moving on to canter. You can progress at your own speed, and need only do moves you feel confident with, so don't let the antics of some professionals scare you off!
If you are interested in developing your vaulting or riding skills, or are simply looking for a fun way to keep fit then Vaulting could be for you. If you love horses, dance, gymnastics and fun then you will love vaulting.
Private or shared private one hour, or half hour lessons can be arranged for individuals or groups.
We run a monthly fun group on Saturday afternoons open to all.
We cater for all ages and abilities. Come along and give it a try. Spectators welcome.
During school holidays and half term we usually include vaulting lessons in our Children's Activity Days.
Vaulting is also a popular choice for birthday parties.
What is Vaulting?
Vaulting, sometimes known as voltige is an international sport supported by the FEI, which combines dance and gymnastics on a moving horse.
Who is vaulting for?
Anyone can vault. There are competitive teams and individuals, but lots of people vault just for fun or to improve their riding. The handles and soft pad used for vaulting can be beneficial for helpful for people who have less mobility in their legs, allowing them to feel the enjoyment of riding while being able to hold on securely with their hands.
It is a wonderful way to develop coordination, strength, balance and creativity whilst working in harmony with the horse. Vaulters also develop self-confidence, trust, responsibility, and learn to work in a team.
We offer classes to both children and adults. Vaulting is a popular choice for corporate groups, as at basic level on one of our exceptionally patient horses, adults who have never been near a horse in their lives have great fun learning how to kneel, sit backwards and sometimes even stand up!
For the more dedicated, classes are offered from novice to advanced international standard.
Am I too old or too young?
There is no upper or lower age limit, you just need to be able to follow instructions. You only have to do moves that you feel comfortable with, so everybody in a group can progress at their own speed. We encourage parents of young children to help, and to walk next to the horse until the child feels confident. Many parents end up having a go. (but you don't have to!)
Do I need to be able to ride?
No, you don't need to know how to ride, because the horse is not controlled by you, but by an experienced lunger. Vaulting can greatly improve your riding, and in many countries children are encouraged to learn to vault before they try riding.
Is Vaulting Safe?
Yes, vaulting has an excellent safety record. Studies have shown it to be one of the safest of all equestrian disciplines. Many factors contribute to the safety of this sport including the fact that the horse is controlled at all times by an experienced trained lunger, not the vaulter. Vaulting is performed in an enclosed ring with soft footing. Vaulters are taught to condition their bodies with stretching and strengthening exercises and are also taught safe mounts and dismounts at all levels. Most exercises are learned on a stationary barrel before being performed on the horse. You can learn more about safety from British Equestrian Vaulting or the American Vaulting Association. The risk of serious injury is minimal compared with riding in a car, roller blading, or riding a bike.
Why are helmets not usually worn?
Studies have shown that helmets are not necessary when vaulting, as with other forms of gymnastics. In fact wearing helmets can increase the risk of injury to the vaulters and horse. For more information on this read the American Medical Equestrian Association article titled Vaulting Safety and the Use of Protective Headgear Http://asci.uvm.edu/equine/law/amea/may96nws.htm
or see https://www.americanvaulting.org/safety/FaulknerArticle.pdf
We are however happy for beginners to wear protective headgear while they are learning the basics if they wish to. Hats are not safe once you progress to team work, as they could injure another vaulter, and are not practical once you move onto rolls, and shoulder stands etc, as they could get caught up on the tack.
What should I wear?
To start with you will need close fitting clothing which you can easily move around in. Later a leotard and leggings or cat suit are ideal. In winter you will need layers as you will get quite warm once you start moving. Vaulting shoes or gymnastics shoes are ideal, but to begin with any soft shoes that cannot slip off will do, ie trainers or thick socks if you prefer.
Where can I get vaulting shoes and leotards?
We buy ours online from dancemania, but you could also try dance or gymnastics shops.