October 2016 - OC Vaulting Wins Big

Young vaulting club brings home national titles.

by Gibran Stout

Equestrian vaulting club, OC Vaulting, brought home several national titles at the 2016 USEF Vaulting Championships, in Murfreesboro, TN, Aug. 4-7.  While the team practices on several horses, they hauled their team horse, Gigi, (a “PMU” draft cross “baby”) to Tennessee and back to capture these titles.  They swept their division and brought home the Championship titles for Team, Pas de Deux and Individual, all in the trot division.

Photo: Andrea Fuchshumer

Photo: Roy Friesen

The theme of the Team routine was Mary Poppins and the vaulters ranged in age from 10-16 years old.  Thirteen-year-old Griffyn said, “I had a lot of fun with my friends and teammates and it was really cool watching the high level vaulters.”

Meanwhile in LeMans, France, during the World Vaulting Championships, we witnessed history.  For the very first time a hand-to-hand handstand was performed in competition by Team Wildegg from Austria (Kathi Lu and Nikolaus Luschin).

One of the great things about this sport is watching people push the boundaries of strength and fitness combined with harmony with their equine partner.

Even among equestrians, a lot of people are unfamiliar with equestrian vaulting, often confusing it with “trick riding.” However, it is far from that.

Vaulting is currently one of only seven disciplines recognized internationally and governed by the FEI.  Equestrian Vaulting traces its origins back to military training in ancient times. It is the combination of gymnastics and dance, on the back of a cantering horse, to music.

At all vaulting competitions there are three main events; Team or Squad event, which is six total vaulters, taking turns performing freestyle dance and gymnastic movements, with up to three vaulters, at a time, on the horse. Pas De Deux is two vaulters performing on the horse simultaneously—often likened to pairs figure skating routines. Lastly, Individual competition is one vaulter, performing alone, on the horse. All routines are performed to music.

In addition to an exciting competitive international sport, vaulting is also excellent cross-training for riders, fun recreation and introduction to horses for kids, and the foundation of most therapeutic riding programs. Vaulting is also the safest of all equestrian sports, despite the fact that helmets are not allowed.

Photo: Jim Dill

OC Vaulting is a young club, and is the first and only competitive equestrian vaulting club in Orange County. Started in 2013 it is comprised of youth vaulters, ages 5 and up. The coaching staff ranges from professional acrobats and aerial artists to national champion gold vaulters giving a vast range of coaching experience and training.

OC Vaulting holds their vaulting and acrobatic practices at the OC Fairgrounds Equestrian Center, in Costa Mesa. The club also is very active in the Southern California community by performing vaulting demonstrations at fundraisers, and other local events.

For details about this club or events please visit our website at: www.ocvaulting.com.

To find a vaulting program, or club near you  visit the website for the American Vaulting Association at: www.americanvaulting.org.