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.

Horse Show Jumping


Jumping is perhaps one of the most well-known of the equestrian disciplines. The obstacles horses are expected to conquer test the will of the horse as well as the athleticism, suppleness and obedience. Typically, horse and rider will be expected to clear

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Jereed is a mounted equestrian sport played in Turkey involving javelin throwing. The players in jereed throw a blunted spear at their opponents in order to earn points. The sport is a rich part of Turkish tradition both historically and today.




Jousting was a popular sport for nearly 400 years in England during the Middle Ages. During the jousting competitions, men, typically knights or of royal lineage, would ride on horseback dressed in full armor and attempt to dismount their opponent using a


Leadline Horse Shows


Leadline horse shows are equestrian competitions intended for young riders to learn about horse riding as well as horse showing. In leadline, the child, usually age 7 or under, rides on top of the pony, while an adult holds the leadline and shows the hors

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Mounted Archery


Mounted archery is an exciting sport in which participants shoot arrows at targets while galloping on a horse. Mounted archery dates back in history across most continents and many people groups. While the style may have differed, mounted archery has been

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Mounted Orienteering


Mounted orienteering is a sport in which competitors on horseback attempt to use clues, a compass and a map to find markers hidden throughout a course in the least amount of time. The sport is competitive, intelligent and a lot of fun, particularly for ho

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National Hunt Racing


In the UK and Ireland, jumps races are often referred to National Hunt Racing. Horses that move from the amateur point to point races move into the National Hunt races.

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Para-Equestrianism is an exciting adaptation of equestrian sports for horse enthusiasts. Para-equestrian sports are recognized by international equestrian organizations and the Paralympic games alike. Para equestrian events are divided by the ability of t


Pole Bending


Pole bending is a rodeo sport in which a horse and rider race around poles in a timed event. The horse with the fasted finishing time is declared the winner, without incurring any penalties.

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Polo is an intense and prestigious game played on horseback in countries around the world. The game is fact-paced and exciting. Both horses and riders must be incredibly athletic to compete at national and international levels.




Polocrosse is an exciting equestrian sport that combines the thrill of mounted polo with ball skills of lacrosse. Polocrosse in a competitive and fast-paced game that is currently played in countries across the world. The sport is open to anyone with a ho


Pony Club


Pony club is an equestrian organization designed for young people to engage in horseback riding, grooming and showing. Pony Club in the United States focuses on training children about grooming, flat riding and jumps courses. Pony club is for young people

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Reining is a western-style equestrian sport in which horses perform a series of movements based upon the riding skills necessary for life in the west of the United States. The movements are a series of approved maneuvers, usually seven or eight that both


Roadster Horse Showing


A roadster is a style of horse showing that shows the horses hitched to a small carriage. Unlike other driving competitions, roadster competitions are about showing the horse, rather than winning a race.

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Scurry Driving


Scurry driving is a fast-paced and exciting carriage-driving equestrian sport in which two ponies harnessed to a carriage race to complete the course in the fastest time. Scurry driving is generally a shorter name for Double Harness Scurry Driving.

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Sidesaddle Riding


Sidesaddle is a style of riding that began as a necessity for female riders wearing skirts and has carried on throughout the years as a competitive class. In the sidesaddle seat, both of the rider's legs are on one side of the horse, thus maintaining bala

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Steer Wrestling


Steer wrestling is an exciting discipline that has long been a part of the rodeo tradition. In the steering wrestling event, a mounted cowboy jumps off of his horse in to a steer and proceeds to wrestle the steer. The sport is dangerous and fast-paced and

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Stunt Riding or Trick Riding


Trick riding, also know as stunt riding, is an exciting equestrian discipline in which riders perform a series of dangerous and exciting stunts on horseback while moving at rapid speeds. Similar to vaulting, the trick riders are strong, yet graceful and p

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Team Penning


Team penning is a thrilling rodeo sport in which a team of ranchers attempt to move cattle away from a herd and bring that cattle to a pen. Team penning if fast and exciting, showcasing the talents of both horses and riders.

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Team Roping


Team roping is a two-man roping event in which two riders on horseback rope a calf. Cowboys compete for the fastest time in successful roping in this event.

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Vaulting is an equestrian discipline that is as much sport as it is art. In a vaulting competition, riders perform gymnastic movements while on horseback either individually, in pairs or in teams. These acrobatic movements require a great deal of skill, a