LEXINGTON, Ky. – One hundred one athletes from all over the country have been nominated to represent the United States at the World Equestrian Games. The youngest rider is an 11-year-old girl competing in vaulting, while a 70-year-old woman is the most senior athlete hoping to make the endurance team. Reporter Brenna Angel has the final installment of our WEG disciplines series with a look at vaulting and endurance.
What is vaulting?
Vaulting is most easily described as gymnastics performed on a cantering horse. Athletes are judged on required movements including handstands, lifting another vaulter, standing, and kneeling. The horse canters on the left hand around a circle a minimum diameter of 15 m with the horse attached to a "longe" line which is controlled by a trainer (called a longeur).
What is endurance?
Endurance is a competition true to its name, where horse and rider must complete a 100-mile course over varying terrain and finish in good condition. The course at the 2010 Games features six 10-25 mile loops. Riders complete each loop where they started it, and undergo a vet check before they begin the next loop. At the vet check, riders will dismount their horses, cool them down for up to 20 minutes and then present them to a veterinarian so that they can be evaluated on their condition at that point in the race.