Equestrianism and Sport

typical horse race

horse race

In the UK, equestrianism covers a wide variety of horse riding and one of the most popular areas of equestrianism is through sport.

Using horses in sport or as part of sport in the UK dates back hundreds of years, from dueling and racing, to horse riding during hunting.

The main sports in which a horse is used for in Britain today include:

  • Flat Racing – which is governed by the Jockey Club.
  • Steeplechase – racing on a track which can include jumping over obstacles.
  • Dressage – involving the progressive training of the horse to a high level of impulsion, collection, and obedience
  • Show Jumping – which comprises of a timed event judged on the ability of the horse and rider to jump over a series of obstacles, in a given order and with the fewest refusals or knockdowns of portions of the obstacles
  • Eventing –  also called combined training, horse trials, the three-day event, the Military, or the complete test. This combines the obedience of dressage with the athletic ability of show jumping and demands high levels of fitness.
  • Polo – whereby two teams compete against each other on horseback with the use of a ball and sticks.

Fox Hunting is often still described as a sport by some but many now simply refer to it as fox hunting.

equipment can be expensive

equipment can be expensive

Horse riding can be an expensive hobby even without the involvement of sport. Horse riding clothesHorse riding and horse riding equipment is notoriously expensive and some have argued it is an elitist sport as a result of this. However, there are ways to enter into horse riding as a sport through college and training centres. One of the main expenses in horse riding is actually looking after the animals.

Horses are expensive to keep, with stables, veterinary bills, food bills and farriers. Horseware such as saddles and grooming equipment can also cost thousands of pounds to buy. Many horse owners, whether it be for sport or enjoyment will require stable hands who will help to exercise and groom the horses for the owners. In some cases this is a job that can pay and eventually lead to professional horse racing or horse jumping career for those who show potential and an affiliation with the horses they ride.

Riding horses for sport can be a rewarding hobby, and for those who compete at professional level it is possible to make a good living with attractive financial returns. But most horse riders participate for the love of the animals and the thrill of the ride.

Article by Simon Lucas.

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