Horse Sports

Horse Sports

It’s not altogether clear when man first domesticated the horse. Paleolithic Cave paintings over 30,000 years old depict horses, but the painters were most likely painting their food source rather than their transportation source. Rare pale-ontological finds in Kazakhstan point to the domestication of the horse first occurring around 6000 years ago when wild ponies were domesticated and used as a means of transport.

The competitive nature of man makes it likely that shortly after domestication of horses saw them used as transport and work animals, that their riders soon found ways to compete, show off an improve their riding skills. Racing of one kind or another almost certainly sprang up directly after mankind first sat on the horse, there is evidence of Chariot racing by the Romans as far back as 2500BC.

As the types (pony, horse, heavy horse) and breeds of horse grew, so did the types of horse sports that were participated in. Where horses were used for transporting heavy loads, pulling competitions were created. In areas were herding of animals was the most common horse use, various tasks that simulated this ranching work were made into competitions.

With the horse used less and less as a work animal across the world, more and more they are used solely for pleasure riding, and horse sports. Horse Sports are great fun to watch and compete in and are popular throughout the world.

Here we are detailing many of the most popular modern horse sports in the Western world, as well as some from the past and from more obscure regions of the world including Mongolia and Afghanistan.

We hope you enjoy reading about them.

4-H Horse Program


4-H is a popular organization for young people to learn about leadership, responsibility and other life skills. The four H's in 4-H represent head, heart, hands and health. Each of these areas is developed through educational opportunities like meetings,

4-H Horse Program2013-06-29T00:00:00+02:00

Ban’ei Racing


Ban'ei racing is a type of pulling race currently practiced in Hokkaido, Japan. Draft horses pull heavy sleds over ramps in a race that tests speed, endurance and strength.

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Barrel Racing


Barrel racing is a traditional western horse sport in which riders race to complete a course around a set of barrels. The horse travels in a clover-leaf pattern in this exciting rodeo event. The sport requires agility of both horse and rider. Barrel racin

Barrel Racing2013-06-29T00:00:00+02:00

Bronc Riding


Bronc riding an exhilarating, rough-and-tumble rodeo competition where the best and bravest cowboys face off as over 1,000 pounds of pure muscle attempts to throw them off. Bronc riding can be divided into two divisions: saddle bronc and bareback bronc. I

Bronc Riding2013-06-29T00:00:00+02:00



Buzkashi is a mounted game originating in Central Asia, particularly Afghanistan, in which players attempt to pick a goat or calf carcass off of the ground, carry it to a goal, and throw it into the goal in order to score points.


Calf Roping


Calf roping is a rodeo sport in which a rider attempts to rope a calf with a lasso while atop a horse. The rider must then dismount the horse and tie the calf down, wrapping the rope around three legs. The calf must remain tied for six seconds in order fo

Calf Roping2013-06-29T00:00:00+02:00

Camargue Equitation


Camargue is a unique area in southern France in which modern cowboys herd Camargue cattle with the beautiful breed called the Camargue horse. The name has come to represent the region, the horse and the cattle. The word equitation represents the style of

Camargue Equitation2013-06-29T00:00:00+02:00



Charreada is a style of rodeo that originated in Mexico and is still a rich part of Mexican tradition and culture. The rodeo sports showcase the skills of the ranchers who worked on haciendas in Mexico, training and herding animals.


Chuckwagon Racing


Chuckwagon racing is an exciting sport that plays tribute the cross-country wagon rides of early North American settlers. In chuckwagon racing, a team of participants race across the track. Since the first Calgary Stampede, chuckwagon teams of drivers and

Chuckwagon Racing2013-06-29T00:00:00+02:00

Competitive Trail Riding


Competitive trail riding is a sport of endurance and skill in which horse and take part in a long-distance journey, traveling anywhere from 15 to 40 miles in a given day. Trail rides are organized in day trips or even multiple day journeys. The main diffe

Competitive Trail Riding2013-06-29T00:00:00+02:00

Cowboy Mounted Shooting


Cowboy mounted shooting is an exciting and fast-paced event in which riders shoot at targets will moving in patterns through the arena at a gallop. The sport requires precision, excellent riding skill and shooting accuracy. Cowboy mounted shooting is popu

Cowboy Mounted Shooting2013-06-29T00:00:00+02:00

Cowboy Polo


Cowboy Polo is similar to its British counterpart, traditional polo, in the game format, although most other aspects of the game are different. Cowboy Polo is a mounted sport in which riders attempt to score on the opponent

Cowboy Polo2013-06-29T00:00:00+02:00

Draft Horse Showing


Draft horse shows are horse showing competitions designed specifically for draft horses. Most draft horse shows involve a driving portion in which the ability of the strong breed of horse is showcased. The draft horse show is a much like other animal show

Draft Horse Showing2013-06-29T00:00:00+02:00



Dressage, originating from the French word for "training" is an exquisite equestrian technique. Dressage competitions can be watched from beginner level through the Olympics. Additionally, many riders use dressage as a training technique, even if their sp


Endurance Riding


Endurance riding is competitive equestrian sport in which riders race in a long-distance competition. The races are generally at least 80km long and are usually along trails. Endurance riding events can be one day or multiple day events. Throughout the ri

Endurance Riding2013-06-29T00:00:00+02:00

Equestrian Mounted Drill Team


Equestrian mounted drill teams are teams made up of riders on horseback, performing a series of synchronized movements to music. The performance is a sort of dance on horseback, and the team wears matching uniforms and often hold up flags and perform flag

Equestrian Mounted Drill Team2013-06-29T00:00:00+02:00

Equestrian Tent Pegging


Tent pegging is an equestrian discipline in which horseback riders use a lance or a sword to stick objects and carry the objects on the end of the lance. The mounted rider travels at a gallop to spear the peg, which is made of cardboard or wood. The sport

Equestrian Tent Pegging2013-06-29T00:00:00+02:00

Fox Hunting


Fox hunting is a thrill-of-the-chase sport in which a fox, or wild quarry, is pursued across the countryside by a pack of hounds and a group of people on horseback. The hunters on horseback follow the hounds as the clever fox maneuvers through the open co

Fox Hunting2013-06-29T00:00:00+02:00

Goat Tying


Goat tying is an exciting rodeo event most commonly displayed in amateur and junior level rodeos. Similar to calf roping, the object of goat tying is to be the fasted competitor to tie the legs of a goat with a rope, after dismounting from a horse. Goat t

Goat Tying2013-06-29T00:00:00+02:00

Harness Racing


Harness racing is a variety of horse-racing in which the horses are harnessed to a cart and travel around a course at a trot or a pace. Harness racing is reserved, in most countries, for Standardbred horses. Standardbred horses derive their name from a st

Harness Racing2013-06-29T00:00:00+02:00

Horse Eventing


Combining dressage, cross-country and jumping across a multiple-day event, eventing is the pinnacle competition in equestrian sports. These tests cover every aspect of horse training, from relationship between horse and rider to agility to endurance. Hors

Horse Eventing2013-06-29T00:00:00+02:00

Horse Pulling


Horse pulling is an exciting sport in which either an individual horse or a team of horses pull a heavy object a predetermined distance. The winner in horse pulling is the horse or team that pulls the heaviest amount of weight. Draft horses are used in ho

Horse Pulling2013-06-29T00:00:00+02:00