What is Vaulting

What a great sport and what a wonderful way to have fun with horses! Learn about horsemanship, work with others on ground equipment and on the horse and learn how to utilise and interpret music to your advantage for performance.

Vaulting is gymnastics on horseback and combines the skills of both gymnastics and horsemanship. It provides opportunities for both individuals as well as for team participation. Vaulting improves individual balance, flexibility, rhythm and coordination as well as confidence. In many clubs in Europe a period of vaulting is a prerequisite to riding because apart from the above, it also teaches harmony with the horse .

Vaulting is arguably the most spectacular of the equestrian sports. It is a relatively new sport to Australia (20yrs), but it is long established in Europe and North America.

It is an ancient sport dating back to the Minoan period demonstrating flexibility and mobility whilst on horseback. There are a large number of competitors in North America and Europe with over 100,000 vaulters in Germany alone. In competition [similar to skating and gymnastics] there are compulsory routines as well as freestyle and it is all performed to music. The routines are very varied as the range of performances on a horse is greater than is possible on a floor. The preparation of a vaulter involves fun, gymnastics and fitness work as well as training with the horse.

It is an internationally competed sport and competitions are the same as for all equestrian sports - including World and European Championships every two years. It is one of the 7 disciplines in the World Equestrian Games which are held every four years.

Success in vaulting requires specialist training not only of the competitor but also of the horse.

The execution of the more difficult gymnastic movements requires high levels of agility and rhythm as well as strength. The moves are practised on the floor and on a barrel before being transferred to the horse. At the higher levels, movements on the horse are executed at the canter and for this to be done successfully the vaulter must not only be in control of their own rhythm but must also interpret and predict the rhythm and capabilities of the horse. In order to withstand the rigours of competition, and of regular practice, which is essential for improvement, the vaulter needs to be fit and so does the horse. In addition, it is important for a group or team of vaulters to have more than one horse available for practise and use.

The ACT region can be very proud of its achievements in equestrian vaulting. Vaulting, although not one of the Olympic sports ( as there is a limit of 3 equestrian sports for the Olympics) is one of the 7 official international FEI sports. The ACT has been represented at many of the World and European Championships and CVI’s since 1996 and at the World Equestrian Games in Rome (Italy) in 1998, Jerez (Spain) 2002, Aachen (Germany) 2006 and Kentucky( USA) 2010.

What important life skills can vaulting/ riding offer?


Working with large animals and learning how to be in charge of yourself can create a big confidence lift for people of all ages.

Social Skills

Learning how to communicate clearly with horses ,coaches and other vaulters transfers to interpersonal communication. Working with a team encourages valuable team building skills


Learning to care for a horse and work with vaulters of all ages teaches vaulters how to respect and nurture both animals and people.

Physical coordination

Acquiring coordination is a big part of vaulting, with the ability to maintain balance as well as separate the use of legs and arms and differentiate upper body from lower body and left from right.

Challenge and Determination

Vaulting offers amazing challenges. Seeing yourself and others incrementally improving and being successful encourages drive and determination.


Learning new physical activities or working through problem issues requires good patience skills

Musical Appreciation

Vaulting encourages an ability to really listen to and appreciate music, to hear and use the rhythm, beat and melody to enhance performance.

Vaulting at NEqC

At the National Equestrian Centre we believe that there is much more to vaulting/riding than just being mounted on a horse. We incorporate horsemanship and handling techniques into our program so vaulters gain greater confidence with horses and become ‘Horse people’

An ongoing vaulting program for all levels from beginners to international competitors is provided by the National Equestrian Centre, at Kerrabee in Canberra. Anybody can vault and become a top level vaulter. A background or cross training in gymnastics, diving, ballet, dance or riding can be helpful but is not necessary.

The National Equestrian Centre club runs an annual National Vaulting Workshop for vaulters, coaches, lungers and judges from all over Australia with our own as well as International Coaches. The club also travels overseas and hosts clubs from other countries as an international exchange program.

Planning Your Vaulting Program

Sessions will be filled on a first come basis, so please be quick to advise us of your preferences as numbers will be limited.

If there are insufficient numbers entered for any session, that session may not go ahead until the minimum number is reached. The Squad session on Thursday is for those that want to be included in the Squads and can only be attended as a second or third session.

Vaulting Session Days and Times

Day Time(s) Class Coach
Tuesday 4:30 for 5:00 - 7:00pm; 5:30 for 6:00 - 8:00pm Canter/Open, Adv, Int (Please check which is your session) Bronwen
Thursday 5:30 for 6:00 - 8:00pm Indiv, PDD, Team Joanne
Friday 5:30 for 6:00 - 8:00pm (alternating weeks) Adult/Riding Group Joanne
Friday 5:30 for 6:00 - 8:00pm (alternating weeks) Beginners/Novice Ruth
Saturday 7:30 for 8:00 - 10:00am Open vaulters only Bronwen
Sunday 10:00am for 10:30 - 12:30pm Joanne
Sunday 1:00pm for 1:30 - 3:30pm Beginners - Prelim, Pre-Novice, Novice & once a week vaulters Ruth

Vaulting Links

Equestrian Vaulting Australia

FEI Vaulting

Sydney Vaulting Group

The American Vaulting Association