Vaulting is one of the fastest growing sports in this country and is best described as gymnastics on the back of a moving horse. Its origins date back to Roman times but more recently the sport’s roots were probably in circus. It is an FEI discipline though as yet not an Olympic discipline. In Europe, most children learn to vault before learning to ride. This gives them fantastic advantages; they have a more instinctive sense of balance, an independent seat and harmony with the horse and its movement.
Vaulting is done in a very controlled environment—in an indoor arena with a prepared surface. The horse, lunger and vaulter work as a team, with the lunger controlling the horse, and the horse performing at a continuous gait (either walk, trot or canter, depending on the vaulter level). The vaulter performs a series of gymnastics and dance moves on the horse as it moves on the circle.
It is a wonderful way to enable children to work with horses as a team and to encourage them to develop many different skills in a fun environment. This sport is recognised as a way to help children improve their self-control, concentration, communication and memory skills whilst physically improving their co-ordination, flexibility, balance and fitness. Marked improvements in school work have been noted in children who vault and it is rewarding to see their general health and confidence increase. It prepares them for whatever life brings; interviews, competition, working in a team, communicating with all people.