Overview <ul><li>Horseback riding, more snobbishly known as “Equestrianism,” is the practice of sitting on a horse’s back and controlling its movements with a bar inserted into the horse’s mouth and made of various materials. </li></ul><ul><li>Horses have been ridden since prehistory, and were the preeminent type of transportation and farming equipment before the internal combustion engine. </li></ul>A typical horseback rider
Technique <ul><li>There are two main types of horseback riding; English and Western. </li></ul><ul><li>English riding looks upright, formal, and British . </li></ul><ul><li>Western riding looks laid-back, laconic, and American . </li></ul><ul><li>Western riders use a large, chunky saddle with a “pommel” to attach lassos to. </li></ul><ul><li>English saddles lack a pommel and are smaller and sleeker, with less decoration. </li></ul><ul><li>English riding </li></ul>Western Riding
Rules <ul><li>As there are many games and competitions in which horses participate, no one set of rules could be said to describe them. </li></ul><ul><li>However, it is generally accepted that performance-enhancing drugs are not to be used and equipment should be properly secured to the horse. </li></ul>Examples of equestrian sports include, from top to bottom, racing, polo, and dressage.
Playing Surface <ul><li>Generally, horseback riding competitions and practice sessions are performed on a large, sandy, arena. </li></ul><ul><li>Some sports, like dressage, mandate specific dimensions for the arena. </li></ul><ul><li>Horse racing, obviously, requires an oval race track. </li></ul><ul><li>Indoor arenas are common features at most stables in case of inclement weather. </li></ul>A typical arena, cheaply and easily constructed of plastic sheeting and geodesic aluminum tubing A larger and more luxurious dressage arena for competitions.
Proper Attire <ul><li>Although boots and a helmet are a must for all types of horse-related activities, there are a range of costumes worn by riders. </li></ul><ul><li>Western-style riding usually entails denim jeans, cowboy boots, and a Stetson hat. </li></ul><ul><li>Dressage is sometimes done wearing gilded age evening wear like top hats and suits with coattails. </li></ul>Notice the contrast between western riding and dressage.
Equipment <ul><li>The main piece of equipment for riding a horse is, of course, a saddle, although bareback riding is also common. </li></ul><ul><li>To control the direction the horse goes and to slow it down, a bridle is also needed. </li></ul><ul><li>There are also ancillary pieces of equipment, like spurs, whips, and halters, used to control the horse more effectively in certain situations. </li></ul>A typical English saddle. The metal thing attached to the side is a stirrup. A basic bridle. Many other pieces of equipment can be attached to the bridle to make it work better. The jointed metal bar with the loops at the ends is the bit.
Levels of Experience <ul><li>At non-professional horseback riding events, riders are separated into beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. </li></ul><ul><li>Beginners are generally defined as riders who are competent at the walk and trot. </li></ul><ul><li>Intermediates are able to safely walk, trot, and canter. </li></ul><ul><li>Advanced riders are able to walk, trot, canter, and gallop. </li></ul>Beginning riders usually have smaller horses and are younger. Intermediate riders are more comfortable taking their horses outside of the arena. Advanced riders are taught to perform jumps and other complex and dangerous maneuvers.
Safety Issues <ul><li>Horseback riding is a moderately dangerous sport, comparable to mountain biking or surfing. </li></ul><ul><li>For the horses involved, however, riding is a frequent source of broken bones, heart attacks, and lacerations. </li></ul><ul><li>Horses are fragile animals, and these injuries often require euthanization. </li></ul><ul><li>Despite these problems, horse life expectancy has increased, due to improved medical care and treatment, just like in humans. </li></ul>The consequences of failing to install “Horse Crossing” signs are terrible to behold.
Controversy <ul><li>Animal rights activists are, of course, opposed to the domestication and commercial use of horses. </li></ul><ul><li>Breeding programs to produce genetically superior horses result in an overproduction of foals, many of which are killed before the age of five. </li></ul><ul><li>Despite large increases in horse quality of life and lifespan, mainly due to a reduction in working animals, inequality remains. </li></ul>The working horses above will probably live shorter, unhappier lives compared to the pampered gentleman’s pets that horses in the first world have become.
Horseback Riding in Popular Culture <ul><li>Horses are often used in period pieces as props that make movie stars look more glamorous. </li></ul><ul><li>Westerns, of course, are full of horses and horseback riding. </li></ul><ul><li>Any movie filmed in a countryside or featuring large plains is almost guaranteed to have horseback riding in it. </li></ul>An example of horseback riding in a British period piece.
Horse Husbandry <ul><li>Horses are labor-intensive animals to care for, especially in Canada’s cold climate, where they require indoor enclosures. </li></ul><ul><li>Horse stalls must be cleaned of excrement and the floors must be re-covered with fresh woodchips. </li></ul><ul><li>In areas where grass grows too slowly to feed horses, they must be supplied with grain. </li></ul>An extremely fancy row of stalls, probably constructed of better materials than the average human house.
Bibliography <ul><li>Strickland, Charlene. Competing in Western Shows & Events. Storey Books, div. Storey Communications, 1998. </li></ul><ul><li>Anthony, David W. (2007). The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World . Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. </li></ul><ul><li>Olsen, "In the Winner's Circle", Horses Through Time </li></ul>