Guide to Vaulting

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.


A team is made up of one horse, one lunger and six vaulters. The competition is made up of three tests across two rounds – a Compulsory and Freestyle test (round 1), and a second freestyle test (round 2).

The compulsory test sees all six vaulters complete eight compulsory exercises. The first freestyle round sees vaulters design their own programme, in which six vaulters perform, with up to three vaulters performing on the horse at any one time (two must be in contact with the horse at all times).

The compulsory and first freestyle tests are qualifiers for round 2, and after averaging the teams scores from both, the top twelve squads go through to contest the second freestyle test.

Scoring: Teams are scored out of ten during each round; all three scores are added together and divided by three to give the final score.


Men and women compete separately for individual titles. There are two rounds contested in the individual championship, with four tests contested over the two rounds. Compulsory and freestyle tests are competed in Round 1, and in Round 2 a technical test and a freestyle test are competed. The top fifteen vaulters (based on an average score from Round 1) go forward to compete Round 2.

Five specific areas are judged in the technical test (jump force, timing & rhythm, suppleness, balance and strength) before the Individual champions are decided in the final freestyle competition. 

Scoring: vaulters are scored out of ten for each round of the competition. The score for round 1 is taken and divided by two; this is replicated with the score for round 2. The final score is calculated as an average of the scores from both the first and second rounds.


Competed for the first time at a WEG in 2014, only freestyle tests are performed in the pas-de-deux event. The competition takes place over two days with two freestyle rounds contested. The 12 highest placed pairs from the first round go forward to contest the second round.

Scoring: scores are added together for both freestyle rounds and are divided by two.

World Equestrian Games


Visit the British Equestrian Vaulting website for more information about the sport

Visit the FEI website for more information about the different disciplines and events