Popular Types of Equestrian Sports

Popular Types of Equestrian Sports

Equestrian sports, or sports utilizing horses, are varied and many have been around since ancient times. Horse competitions comprise a vast array of events, which can vary by region. Here are some of the top equestrian sports that are popular today.


Sometimes called horse dancing, dressage is a sport that involves a great amount of training, precision and trust between horse and rider. Dressage, a French word meaning training, can be an exercise used as a step to other horse riding skills or as a stand-alone sport. The events in competition usually involve the performance of movements against a standard, with scores given based on precision and aesthetics.

Show Jumping

Another type of equestrian event seen in competitions is show jumping, which involves a rider guiding a horse through an obstacle course of various jumps. The types of obstacles found in courses can include fences, walls, bushes or water. Schooling horse jumps are common types of obstacles found in show jumping and are comprised of two verticle beams and a crossbar. Scoring is based on the willingness of the horse to complete the jumps, the ability of both horse and rider to stay upright and the passage of jumps without touching the obstacles.


Similar to a triathlon, eventing is a competition that involves three separate sporting competitions combined into one event. These competitions may take place over a single day or split up over three separate days but must be completed by individual teams of rider and horse. Eventing competitions combine dressage, show-jumping and cross-country phases. The cross-country portion of eventing is a course set up to simulate riding in the countryside and includes various natural obstacles within a specified time limit.

There are many more types of competitive equestrian sports, but these three events are some of the most popular in the world. Large-scale competitions, including the Olympics, have included equestrian sports for centuries and will probably continue to do so for many more.

Paul watson