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What is Equestrian Vaulting?


Equestrian Vaulting is a competitive, recreational and therapeutic discipline where both gymnastic and dance elements are combined and performed to music on the back of a specially trained moving horse.  It is used around the world as an introduction to the equestrian world and is recognized as a technique for developing strong riders in all disciplines. It can be practiced either competitively or non-competitively and is open to both males and females. Therapeutic or Interactive vaulting is also used as an activity for children and adults who may have balance, attention, gross motor skill, or social deficits. 


Vaulting is a form of artistry, recreation, and entertainment. Vaulters range in age from 4 and older, practicing individual and team skills and routines. Vaulting is also used on a therapeutic level in some instances. People with disabilities can often benefit from interacting with the horse and team members, and by doing simple movements with the help of "spotters".  Also, vaulting is often seen on a recreational level, through vaulting demonstrations and recreational classes.


What is Competitive Equestrian Vaulting?

Los Angeles Equestrian Vaulting Club trains vaulters to be competitive at a national and world-class level of excellence. 


As an FEI recognized discipline since 1983, vaulters compete regionally, nationally and worldwide as individuals, pairs (called pas-de-deux) and teams. Beginning vaulters compete at the walk or trot while experienced vaulters compete at the canter.  This variety of events creates an engaging competition for spectators as they watch athletes of all ages perform breathtaking routines that include artistic mounts and dismounts, shoulder stands and handstands on the horse, carrying or lifting another vaulter, kneeling and standing exercises. 


All vaulting competitions are held over two rounds composed of compulsory and freestyle tests. During Compulsory Tests vaulters must perform seven designated exercises that are scored on criteria on a scale from 1 to 10. Freestyle tests, performed to music, allow vaulters the artistic freedom of building both dynamic and static exercises to create an artistic performance. Each vaulter, pair or team creates their own routine to music of their choice.


Judging is based on technique, form, difficulty, balance, security, and consideration of the horse. Today, horse, lounger, and vaulter are considered a competitive unit and the performance of each is reflected in the final score. Vaulters most important teammate, the horse, must be a consummate athlete with good character, temperament and balance being essential as 20% of the overall score come from his way of going. The horse is guided on a longe line by a lounger, standing on the ground, who ensures that a steady, true, canter is maintained on a circle with a minimum diameter of 15m while the vaulter performs.


Competitive vaulters of all skill levels in the United States currently compete in regional competitions throughout the year culminating each August with the AVA/USEF National Vaulting Championships.

Elite level vaulters often move on to compete in International Vaulting events which are held around the world. Although equestrian vaulting  has not been included as an Olympic sport since 1920, vaulters and enthusiasts alike hope to see it included again.  The current premier Vaulting events (Games, Championships, and Series) are:  


FEI World Equestrian Games™

The FEI World Equestrian Games™ - are held every four years in the even years between the Olympic Games. In 2010, the Games did cross the Atlantic for the very first time and were held in Kentucky (USA).

Our coach, Blake Dahlgren, along with all the members of Team USA brought home the Gold Medal for the US.  The next Games will be staged in 2014 in Basse-Normandie (FRA).


FEI World Cup Vaulting - after a successful test season in 2010-2011, the first official FEI World CupTM season 2011-2012 was successfully launched. The calendar of this season was composed of 5 events from Kiel (GER) in October 2011 to the Final in Bordeaux (FRA) in February 2012. 


The FEI World Vaulting Championships were held from 15-20 August 2012 in Le Mans (FRA). Our coach, Blake Dahlgren along with his Pas de Deux partner, Megan Benjamin of Mt. Eden Vaulters brought home the bronze medal for the United States.

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