There are so many incredibly fun, highly skilled, and exciting sports and events that take place on horseback. Some of these fun sports have been going on for centuries and are apart of certain cultures and backgrounds, while others are no longer played. But in each of them, there is excitement, skill, and a sense of grandeur that is so fun to learn about.
Happy New Year, Lowcountry! We hope all of you had a wonderful holiday, and are so excited to kick 2020 into gear. The weather has been so warm these last few weeks, that we hope you start your new year off with a fun and exciting trail ride with us! For those of you who have visited us recently, have you been inspired by your visit that you've become a little curious about what else you can do on horseback beyond trail rides? You've come to the right place! This week's blog and in the next few blogs to follow, we are going to be talking about the many fun, challenging, and unique sports that can be played on horseback.
Each of these sports we will be discussing over the next few blogs will challenge you in more ways than one. They're fun to watch and exciting to learn. Some take years to master with multiple skills needed to succeed, while others aren't played anymore. If you're here with us in the Lowcountry or are from areas close (in NC, TN, KY), this is a great area to expand your knowledge and explore the world of equestrian sports!
In this blog, we will be discussing some of the more unique and interesting equestrian sports. Each has their own special traits, tactics, and skills needed to excel and do so safely. Some you can still see in competition today while others are just for show. Maybe you've heard or seen some of these sports before, and maybe you'll learn a thing or two today!
That's right! Forget about Medieval Times for a second, and think back to when this was not just the days of yore. When princes and kings ruled the lands and were fighting for the fair princesses' hand. In its heyday this wasn't a sport found at the Renaissance festival or at themed dinner shows, it was a way of life! Jousting was an actual mid-evil sport that was very popular and needed for the training of knights and soldiers. The way it works is that two opponents on horseback wield long poles called lances (that are 6-7 feet long!) with blunted tips on their ends. Dressed in full armor, they ride full speed at one another on a specially made course that is about 110-220 yards long separated by a fence right down the middle part of the field. There is a rider on either side of the fence. The goal of each ride is to knock your opponent off of their horse before you get knocked off. If the riders make it to the end of the course without either falling off, they turn around and start again until someone is eventually knocked off. The sport was originally created to train for battle and warfare, Soldiers would learn what it would feel like to get hit or clash with someone else while wearing a full suit of armor while going very fast. Even during its height, it was also a sport for fun during celebrations, not just for training. Today it is seen in historical reenactments, renaissance fairs, and the ever classic Medieval Times dinner show. It is considered to be an extinct sport and has been for over three centuries.
Cowboy Mounted Shooting
This sport is one of the newest equestrian sports out there, despite its name. It was created in the late 1990's and is a sport for those well versed in horseback riding and shooting. Also know as mounted shooting, this very disciplined sport involves shooting at still targets while riding a horse. As of 2015, the United States is the only place this sport is still played. Each course this sport is played on is specifically designed for each race, and balloons are used as the targets. The goal is to get through the course as quickly and perfectly as possible while shooting as many balloons as you can. Each rider is timed, and each target missed and part of the track not ridden correctly are points that are added to your time. The riders with the lowest time at the end of the race wins. Riders use old fashioned western style single-action revolvers to strike the balloons, and the guns are filled with blanks. Both men and women can play and compete in this sport.
Mounted Horseback Archery
To be efficient at this sport, you need to be well versed in two skills - riding and archery. You need to be able to do both at the same time to succeed. The skills used in this sport are used for mounted hunting around the world. Those to first use these techniques were European nomads during mid-evil times, and the most famous to use it were Japanese Samurai called Yabusame. The objective of the sport is for the rider to ride without reigns on a 90 m course while shooting arrows at different targets that are placed at different distances. This sport takes a different kind of skill than most normal horseback riding or equestrian sports. It is almost harder than riding bareback, as your hands will be used to work the bow and arrow. The guidance of the horse and actual skill of riding will be left to your legs and body. The sport continues to be very popular today, especially here in the United States. Many riding clubs offer classes and courses to learn, and there are competitions held across the country.
How excited are you to come to visit us now? One trail ride could lead to you becoming the next best show rider, a career in show business, or just learning how to show off some very exciting skills. We will see you next time for the next round of equestrian sports blogs. Until then, come visit us for a ride and have a happy new year!
Middleton Place Team