These Gymnasts Do Their Tricks On A Moving Horse

Vaulting at the F.E.I. World Equestrian Games compete individually or in teams.

Thomas Brüsewitz of Germany, riding Dante 4 and working with lunger Nelson Vidoni (not pictured)during the Longines FEI World Cup Individual Vaulting male - round 2- at Madrid Horse Week on November 25, 2016 in Madrid, Spain. (Davide Mombelli/Corbis via Getty Images)
Corbis via Getty Images

As if gymnastics isn’t impressive enough, athletes who take part in the F.E.I. World Equestrian Games take it up a notch. They By compete on horseback, in what’s called vaulting. Gymnasts compete in individual women’s and men’s events, pas de deux (a pair consisting of two men, two women or one man and one woman), and squads, made up of six athletes of either sex. The athletes are judged on performance, technique, artistic value and the horse.

Julian McPeak, a spokeswoman for the United States Equestrian Federation, told The New York Times vaulting is a combination of gymnastics and ice-skating. “They do the lifts like they do in ice skating, but they’re on a moving animal.”

Vaulting maneuvers include mounts and dismounts, shoulder stands, handstands, lifting another vaulter and kneeling and standing exercises. During the performance, the horse is controlled on a long line so that it canters in a steady rhythm.

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