Why vault? by Francie Dougherty

Great Falls Vaulters Team Picture Good question!! As a horse-loving parent, I really want my daughter to enjoy horses and riding them. And with that, there are many other thing I want for her, i.e. safety, confidence, safety, good social skills, safety, good balance, safety, passion, safety etc…., obviously safety is one of the big objectives and fun is another.

There are pros and cons to all riding disciplines and vaulting is no different however so far, (I was exposed to vaulting for the first time exactly one year ago in September) the pros column is far outweighing the cons. The amazing thing to me is that I never appreciated it before (as a matter of fact thought it was rather silly), how hard it is to do some of the basic moves not to mention the moves where the kids are piled three high, and why there isn’t a vaulting barrel and a vaulting horse at every barn. Especially the places that teach kids to ride!

Some of the more obvious positives are as follows:

  • Develop balance and beautiful posture both on and off the horse.
  • Exposure and involvement with horse sport without needing to buy a pony!!
  • Statistically the safest of all equestrian sports. The horse is controlled by a ground person, these horses are as bombproof as is possible, and the first thing the kids are taught is how to fall.
  • Helps kids develop interdependent team skills as well as basic cooperation.
  • Tremendous self-esteem and confidence and courage builder.
  • Combines several activities: horse sport, music interpretation, and gymnastics.
  • Large range of ages of kids participating.
  • REALLY Fun!!!
    Kids learn poise and showmanship with a big dose of smile no matter what happens.

Some of the less obvious positives:

  • Progressive training program that depends on skills being rehearsed and built upon.
  • Kids are evaluated on merit achievement of certain goals rather than straight competition. There are pins and medals awarded for the achievement of skills at each level.
  • The more experienced vaulters get to participate in the training of the younger vaulters as well as the green vaulting horse.
  • Health care and appreciation of the horse is mandatory.
  • There is actually no age limit for individuals to vault in International competition.
  • It’s a co-ed sport.
  • Kids learn to depend on and trust each other.

Vaulting with SSH provided mount!

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