So You Want To...
When you ride horses, there is always something new to try! On this page you will find information about different styles of riding. If you know about a unique riding style, email me your information and opinions!
Dressage:
Dressage riding involves grace, strength, precision, beauty, balance, and harmony. It teaches horses to be obediant, willing, supple, responsive, and balanced.
   The best way to learn dressage is to take lessons. You may have to find an instructer who specializes in dressage. Go to a tack or feed store and ask about local instructors. Try joining a dressage organization. You can find a local dressage group at
www.usdf.org Visit the site and click on GMO (group membership organizations).
     Students and horses will develope while learining dressage. Each student moves at his/her own pace. The begining level of dressage is called the Introductory Level. This level includes the walk and trot. An advanced level is called the Grand Prix. This level includes piaffe, passage, and canter pirourettes. Your horse will learn balance, rhythm, suppleness, and extension.
      For each level of riding, there is a series of tests that let you see your improvement. You can find these tests at
www.usdf.org You will perform these tests at horse shows.
Barrel Racing:
  Barrel racing is a fast event. You have to be quck and balanced. In a barrel race event, three barrels are set up at different marked locations. The riders enter the arena at top spead and go around the barrels without knocking them down. The time is recorded. You get a 5 second  penaltie for each barrel you knock down.
    In order to barrel race, you should learn how to guide your horse while galloping. Learn how to gallop in sharp turns. When you barrel race, you go so fast that riders often lean forward and slightly out of the saddle. This helps impel the horse forward. You will also need to know the pattern of how you will go around the barrels.
Show Jumping:
   Show jumping is a competition in which horses are jumped over a series of fences or other obstacles. This event is judged. It may or may not be timed. There are four different types of show jumping: hunter, equitation, jumper, and Stadium Jumping Cources.
    Hunter jumping is designed for a smooth and flowing performance of the horse. Equitation jumping test the skills of the rider. Jumper cources are held over a course of jumping obstacles, including verticles, spreads, double and triple combinations, and many turns and changes of directions.
     Riders get faults for refusing or bolting at a fence, fall of a horse or rider(or both), horse touches a fence without knocking it down, horse upsets fence(fault depending on if fore limbs or hind limbs knocked fence down), and upsetting a water jump(again depending on front or hind limbs).
Jousting:
  Jousting is a competition between two knights on horseback. Each knight tries to knock the other off his horse. Jousting was popular in the 14th to 16th centuries. The knights were armed with three weapons: a lance, a one handed sword, and a rondel. When a night knocked his competitor off his horse, he was the winner of that round. If both fell off at the same time, it was a tie. Then there was a sword competition to determine the winner.There were usualy 3 rounds.
Saddleseat:
  Saddleseat is a form of English riding. The rider apparel is similar to that used in dressage. Saddleseat equitation is very similar to dressage. There are many different divisions of saddleseat riding. For hunters, there are hunter over fences, hunter hack, and etc. In saddle seat, there are specific rules for breeds and divisions of riding. For example, in Saddleseat Equitation, the horse must have a shaved mane and a cut tail. In a Park Class, horses are shown at extreme gaits. These horses are often high strung. In a Park Class, you don't have to stay on the rail or try to look pretty. 
Polo:
Polo matches are divided into six 7 min. periods or chukkers. The game last about one and one-half hours. The horses are mostly Thoroughbreds. The horses need rest after playing a period. So,a polo player usually brings 6 horses to the game. After resting for two or three periods, a horse may be able to return to the game.
  Polo players try to score as many goals as possible. There are four players on a team. Each player has a specific possition - either offensive or deffensive. With the momentum of galloping horses, the 160 by 300 yards playing field, and the ball's unexpected change of direction, this game is very fluid and positions constantly change.
   With rule limitations, players are allowed to hook an opponent's mallet, push an opponent off the line, and bump him with thier horse to steal the ball. Penalties are awarded as free hits. The more severe, the closer to the goal.
    After a goal is scored, teams change sides. Two mounted umpires on the field and a referee in the stands officiate the games.
U.S. Polo Association
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