Horses have been associated with mankind for eons, and the art of riding a horse has led to the development of many related competitions and sports. The question is, what are the popular horse sports and competitions?
According to U.S. Equestrian.org, the most popular horse sports and competitions include dressage, showjumping, and eventing. These sports are renowned enough to feature in the worldwide Olympic Games, and test the skill, discipline, and bond of both horse and rider.
Freddie Vasquez Jr. discusses what the major equestrian events of 2023 are and how they put the horse and rider through a series of athletic tests which make the events so popular to audiences around the world.
What are the Major Equestrian Events of 2023?
The most popular horse sports and competitions can be measured by the most highly anticipated competitions of the year around the world. Listed below are three of the popular sporting categories which bring competitors and their horses to the events.
Let’s take a closer look at not only each of these major equestrian events of 2023, but what each event entails.
The term “dressage” actually comes from the French and means something like “training.” Sometimes the horse and rider will engage in dressage simply as an art form, looking to master the discipline, but more often they train to compete in dressing exhibitions.
At the very core of the dressage sport is the goal of training a horse up to its fullest potential as a riding horse. This is done by making sure it is not only in peak athletic condition, but willing to obey the rider from memory with very little instruction.
In dressage, the horse and the rider compete in a series of tests administered at the Federal Equestrian International standards, which get more and more difficult as the competition continues. They consist of several different movements that the horse and must perform in a certain sequence.
One of the main disciplines judged in a dressage competition is the gait of the horse. A horse must have a two-beat trot with a brief suspension between each diagonal beat, and a canter of three beats with another brief suspension following. For the rider’s part, they must use the aid of their weight, legs, and hands alone to direct their horse.
Dressage has been an Olympic sport, and the fact that some dressage routines are set to the rider’s choice of music has amplified it’s popularity among horse-loving audiences. Two of the main dressage events in 2023 include:
- Chile – Pan Am Games, Santiago, Eventing, Dressage ; Showjumping CCI4
- France – Compiegne, Nations Cup Dressage
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, showjumping is a sport in which riders are carried over a set of jumps in the proper numbered order.
They are penalized if the horse knocks over any of the jump barriers or balks, refusing to clear a jump. The event is scored based on how fast the athletes can complete the jumps and how rarely they are penalized.
Each of the jumps are different, some gauging the distance a horse can jump and some measuring how high the animal can leap. Of course, because of the judgement on time, all of the athletes are also assessed by how fast they can complete the jumps.
Notable showjumping events in 2023 include:
- Belgium, Knokke Showjumping CSIO5
- Spruce Meadows Pan American CSI5 Showjumping
According to the United States Eventing Association, eventing is very similar to the human sporting event, the triathlon. This is because, like the trialthon, eventing combines three different equestrian sports into one overall test of grace and skill.
The first phase in eventing is dressage, simply displaying how skilled both horse and rider are in partnership with one another. The second phase is cross country, which involves the horse and rider completing a type of obstacle course of both natural and man-made barriers like logs and fences.
The third phase, show jumping, involves a series of fences and jumps that a horse must clear without being penalized at a quick pace.
Though this is an Olympic Event, below are some of the most popular eventing competitions scheduled to take place in 2023:
- Adelaide International Festival Eventing CC15
- Waregem, Eventng Nations Cup CCIO4
In summary, the popular horse sports and competitions of 2023 include dressage, showjumping, and eventing. Equestrian sports test the skill, discipline, and synchronicity of a rider and their animal. The bond between the horse and their rider is something that has increased the popularity of horse sports and events worldwide!