Vaulting is best described as a form of gymnastics on the back of a moving horse that is worked in canter on a circle under the control of a lunger, the circle must be a minimum of 15m in diameter.
Through choreographed movements, it incorporates beauty and brilliance, power and strength, elegance and precision, all in harmony with the horse. In individual competitions and the compulsory team competition one vaulter performs on the horse at any time, whereas in the freestyle team competition, up to three vaulters can perform together on the horse at any time. All vaulting tests are scored with an overall score out of 10 and judging is based on technique, form, difficulty, balance, security and consideration of the horse.
The horse and lunger are considered a competitive unit; the horse’s way of going makes up 20% of the final score and the lunger receives a medal as well as the vaulter(s) performing on the horse.
The Team (7 vaulters) and individual competitions are run separately – with vaulters taking part in one or the other. The individual competition is separate for male and female competitors. Each year there is a major championship for senior vaulters, which is either World or European, every four years vaulting is part of the World Equestrian Games.
Team Competition: This begins with the compulsory test, which is made up of eight compulsory exercises, which all seven vaulters must show in turn. The marks for each of the vaulters are added together and divided by seven, the horse is also given a mark out of 10, which is multiplied by two and added to the score. The total is divided by 10 to give a final score out of 10.
There are also two rounds of freestyle tests where the vaulters design their own programme and only six vaulters perform, with each performing at least one exercise and up to three vaulters performing on the horse at any one time. When three vaulters are mounted together, at least two must be in contact with the horse. The freestyle tests are also scored out of ten, calculated from scores given for each exercise performed, degree of difficulty, composition, performance and the horse.
Individual Competition: This includes a compulsory test, two freestyle tests and a technical test. The compulsory test is made up of a set of exercises which the vaulters must perform in a set order. Marks out of 10 are given for each exercise and the horse is also given a mark, these are then used to calculate a final score out of 10.
In the freestyle tests the vaulter designs a programme which must consist of a minimum of seven exercises, with a score given for each. The tests are scored out of 10, calculated from scores given for each exercise, degree of difficulty, composition, performance and the horse.
Meet the the British Equestrian Vaulting squad