Vaulting Competition

 

Vaulting Competition Today

Vaulting Today, There are three types of vaulting competition.

 
Lusitano-Vaulting CompetitionDuring a vaulting competition, the horse usually moves on the left rein which means he canters or walks counterclockwise.   Some National competitions require the horse to move clockwise and yet others have the teams perform both ways so they can evaluate the horse and performance going in both directions.  International competitions sanctioned by FEI require that movement be done counterclockwise at all times.
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Lusitano-Vaulting CompetitionThe horse does not wear a saddle for this event.   It wears a surcingle or roller which has a thick back pack which protects the horse from injuries.   It also lessens the impact of the performers movements on the horse’s back.   The roller is also designed to lessen impact of the jumps and footsteps on the horse.   This prevents the horse from getting scared or surprised by sudden moves or pressures on its back.   The lunger stands in the middle of the circle holding a rope which is tied to the inside ring of the horse’s bridle.   The lunger is not supposed to pull the horse to keep it going in circles.   Doing this calls for penalties.   He is just supposed to hold it and serve as a guide for the moving horse.
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A maximum of eight compulsory exercises are executed during a vaulting competition today, these are:

  • Basic Seat- The vaulter sits on the horse as a rider does, arms on the side and raises them up to ear level. Hands are stretched out with palms down with the fingers closed and pointing upward. The legs should be pressed against the horse’s belly maintaining the body immobile in the pose. The knees should be bent in a ninety degree angle backwards and the toes should be looking straight down towards the floor. The vaulter must hold this pose for at least four strides at a canter. The pose should be natural and flowing not forced or tight.
  • Flag- The exercises starts in the sitting position. The vaulter then jumps to his knees on the horses back, gently and following the rhythm of the music being played he stretches the right leg backwards holding it level or a little above the head’s level, the right foot’s sole should be pointing towards the ceiling and remain flat and immobile. After this is done the vaulter must raise his left arm and stretch it towards the horse’s head keeping it at the same level as his foot, again palms down with the fingers stretched and closed. The weight must be evenly distributed through the left leg all the way to the foot so that the knee does not exert excessive pressure on the horse’s back. The vaulter must hold this position during four strides too.
  • The Mill- From a sitting position the vaulter passes his right leg over the horse’s neck making a grip change as he moves the leg over. The left leg is moved over the horse’s rear with another grip change in between, then the left leg is passed over the horse’s neck and the right over the croup to complete the turn. Each move is to be made in four strides for a total of sixteen strides to execute the complete mill. The legs must always be held straight and the toes pointed and when the legs are on the same side of the horse they must be kept together.
  • Scissors- The scissors exercise is executed in two parts, both must be done perfectly and smoothly. From the sitting position the vaulter first raises himself on a handstand, when he is stretched at the highest point of the handstand he should be sideways facing the lunger with his left leg crossed over the right leg. He then descends from the handstand and lands on the horse looking backwards. The landing and height during the handstand are the key points of this exercise. The vaulter must land softly on the horse’s back, not hard and he must reach as high as possible with his legs totally outstretched and vertical to the horse’s back. The second part of the exercise is the opposite of the first so that the vaulter ends up facing forward again.
  • Stand- From the sitting position, in two fluent moves, the vaulter first sits on his shins and then stands on the horse’s back releasing the grips. In the same fluent move he then stands erect with the knees bent just a little for balance and stretches out his arms while keeping the palms looking down and the fingers together. There must be no hesitation, abruptness, or balancing during the standup, it must flow naturally like if he was standing on solid ground, he must keep this pose during four strides and remain immobile while smiling and looking confident and happy.
  • Swing off- Again from a sitting position the vaulter swings forward to gain momentum and push himself up into a handstand. The legs must remain closed while in the air and his arms must be completely stretched for maximum height. From this position, the vaulter then must push himself up with the grips to get greater height and turn in the air landing astride the horse and looking forward. This exercise requires a lot of coordination and arm strength to be able to push himself into the air and be able to do a kind of summersault and land looking forward again. The landing must also be soft and exact without the need of additional movements or support with his hands.
  • Flank- This exercise has two parts too. From the sitting position the vaulter has to swing his legs in a forward motion to gain enough momentum to raise himself and lie down on the horse’s back in one swift movement. Once in position he will stretch his arms and legs as far as possible remaining parallel to the horse’s back with his legs stretched and raised almost to a handstand position. From there he must roll his body to the inside of the horse, remain there a few seconds and finish in the starting sitting position. The exercise is then repeated but the vaulter rolls his body to the outside of the horse after repeating the initial movements. The vaulter must remain complete immobile and stretched while his body is turned to either side.
  • Vault on- From the sitting position the vaulter jumps up onto the horse’s back towards the front of the horse. Standing on the left leg he gently and slowly raises the right leg backwards until it is higher than the head as he leans forward towards the horse’s head. The vaulter’s shoulders must remain parallel to the horses shoulders at all times and his left leg solidly planted on the horse’s back. When maximum altitude is reached with the outstretched right leg, he must hold the position for a few seconds and them slowly lower the leg and gently return to the sitting position.
  • Lusitano-Vaulting CompetitionThese are the required exercises for one vaulter on a horse.   When the competition involves two or three vaulters, the exercises are basically the same but include other moves which must be performed between both or the three members of the team.   All of them have to, at one time or another, act as the main vaulter while performing exercises.   There is no star with a helper or two helpers.   Each member of a team may specialize in certain moves and exercises.   They must be able to perform any of the positions required for the execution of any of the required routines.
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    Lusitano-Vaulting CompetitionThese exercises are judged not only for the execution and motions required to accomplish them.   They are also judged for the final position, the height of the legs or arms when raised, the coordination and flow of movement and the ease with which the vaulter completes them.   The horse is judged for his continued canter and permanent stride and for his calm and composure as the vaulter jumps and moves around on top of him.   The lunger is only holding the guide.   He is not supposed to pull the horse or encourage him or speaks to him.   It is the horse’s responsibility to execute his part of the exercise by himself.
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