Friday, November 23, 2007

The World Equestrian Games

Yesterday I noticed a rebroadcast of show jumping on TV. It was interesting how these riders could jump their horses over all of those different fences and other obstacles, and having the horse barely touch one will reduce their chances of winning quite significantly. And then one man completed the course without knocking down any of the rails and won a lot of money. I had no idea that such events happened up in Calgary, Alberta.

I discovered that show jumping is one of several equestrian games and is even an event at the Summer Olympics, but some consider the FEI (Fédération Equestre International) World Equestrian Games to be more prestigious than the Equestrian events at the Olympics.

The FEI World Equestrian Games are held every four years in between the Olympic Summer games, with competitions in seven areas:
  • Dressage - how well a horse responds to the rider's aids for requested movements while staying relaxed. This type of a competition tests the horses ability to be an excellent riding horse. Horses are tested on obedience, balance, suppleness, and rhythm.
  • Show Jumping - how well and how fast a horse and rider jump over fences on a course.
  • Eventing - tests dressage, show jumping, and cross country. The cross country event has the horse and rider jump over a variety of obstacles that are more permanent than the fences in show jumping, and over a longer distance.
  • Endurance Riding - controlled long distance races. Races are typically 50 or 100 miles and the first horse to cross the finish line wins.
  • Vaulting - vaulters do gymnastics or dances on horseback while the horse is moving.
  • Combined Driving - also called horse driving trials. This event has a team of horses pull a carriage and driver. The driver must negotiate the team around a course while only using their hands and voice to lead the horses.
  • Reining - the rider has the horse perform a set pattern of movements while moving quickly: circles, spins, and stops. The horse is judged on its responsiveness to the rider.
I have never know very much about the equestrian type sporting events, and there are more equestrian events than those held at the World Equestrian Games.

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