Monday, 17 Jun 2024

Equestrian Sports

Equestrian sports, also known as horseback riding, involve the skill of riding with horses. This activity is both a recreational pursuit and a competitive sport. Equestrian events have been part of the Olympics since the early 20th century, with some events still being featured today. These events include dressage, show jumping, and eventing.

Aside from the Olympic events, there are other equestrian competitions that are not part of the Olympics but are organized by the FEI (International Federation for Equestrian Sports). These include combined driving, endurance riding, reining, and vaulting, and they are part of the World Equestrian Games held every four years.

Various types of equestrian sports exist beyond these organized events. Some examples include thoroughbred horse racing, steeplechasing, American quarter horse, Arabian horses, endurance riding, and harness racing, which is popular in Europe, New Zealand, and Australia.

FEI Equestrian Sports

The FEI (International Federation for Equestrian Sports) oversees and organizes several equestrian disciplines. These include:

  • Dressage: Riders and horses perform a series of predetermined events from memory.
  • Show Jumping: Riders navigate sets of obstacles within a specific time, aiming for a clean round.
  • Eventing: A combination of three races—dressage, cross-country, and show jumping—taking place in a single competition.
  • Combined Driving: Drivers guide a carriage pulled by horses through three events: dressage, marathon, and cones.
  • Endurance Riding: Competitors and horses race over long distances in this discipline.
  • Reining: Riders guide horses through precise patterns of spins, circles, and stops.
  • Equestrian Vaulting: A discipline that combines gymnastics and dance performed on horseback.
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Other Equestrian Sports

In addition to the FEI equestrian disciplines, there are other types of equestrian sports, including:

  • Cross-Country: Riders must navigate over 30 to 40 obstacles within a set time, incurring penalties for exceeding the allocated time or refusals.
  • Western Pleasure: A horse show competition where horses are evaluated for their manners and composure.
  • TREC: A French equestrian sport that tests both the horse and rider in three separate events.
  • Gymkhana: A multi-game equestrian event that showcases the talents of horses and riders.

There are many other sports involving horses that are performed while riding on their backs. For a complete list of these sports, including horse racing, team sports on horseback, and horse rodeos, refer to the list of Sports on Horses.


Q: What are some popular equestrian events in the Olympics?
A: Some popular equestrian events in the Olympics include dressage, show jumping, and eventing.

Q: What is the FEI?
A: The FEI, or International Federation for Equestrian Sports, is the governing body for equestrian disciplines and organizes events such as dressage, cross-country, and show jumping.

Q: Are there other types of equestrian sports besides those in the Olympics?
A: Yes, there are various equestrian sports beyond the Olympics, such as endurance riding, reining, and vaulting.


Equestrian sports, also known as horseback riding, encompass a wide range of disciplines and activities. From the Olympic events of dressage, show jumping, and eventing to other sports like endurance riding and vaulting, there is something for everyone in the equestrian world. The FEI oversees and organizes many of these disciplines, ensuring their standardization and fair competition. Whether it’s navigating obstacles, performing intricate dressage movements, or racing over long distances, equestrian sports offer a unique blend of athleticism, horsemanship, and partnership between horse and rider. Explore the world of equestrian sports and discover the thrill and beauty of this timeless pursuit.

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To learn more about equestrian sports and explore the complete list of sports involving horses, please visit our website