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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is Equestrian Vaulting?

A. Equestrian vaulting is the art and sport of gymnastics and dance performed to music on the back of a moving horse. Vaulting is one of the equestrian disciplines recognized nationally by US Equestrian (USEF) and internationally by Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI)

Equestrian vaulting is best described as:

  • the artistic combination of dance and gymnastics performed to music on the back of a moving horse.

  • a harmonious bond between horse and athlete that creates awe-inspiring acrobatic displays of skill and precision.

  • a fun sport that builds strong life skills essential for personal and athletic development

  • a safe sport for competitive, recreational and adaptive athletes of all ages and experience levels

Q. Is Previous Experience Required?

A. No previous experience is required to try vaulting or to experience our fun sport. Since vaulting is taught in a controlled environment, athletes of all ages and experience levels can participate. Beginning athletes practice and compete on a walking horse, then progress to trot, then canter based on strength, height, and ability to mount and perform on the horse.


Q. What Skills Does Vaulting Help Develop?

A. Equestrian vaulting helps young athletes build strong life skills that are essential for personal and athletic development. Through vaulting, athletes build physical coordination, balance, strength, creativity, imagination, problem-solving, teamwork, trust, responsibility, and self-confidence. 

  • Coordination, Balance, Strength: These core skills develop naturally over time as a result of stretching, gymnastics-style conditioning and time spent vaulting on the horse. Over time, our coaches help to fine-tune these skills so that each student can reach their full potential.

  • Self-confidence: Vaulters learn to exceed their own expectations, and discover how to be the best versions of themselves.

  • Creativity: Vaulting fosters creativity through artistic exploration, and elements of dance and music.

  • Teamwork: Vaulters learn to work together with both the horse and longeur, and with other team mates.

  • Responsibility: Vaulters are responsible for a variety of horse duties each lesson (depending on vaulter age and level). These duties might include brushing, feeding and watering the horse, putting the equipment on the horse, walking the horse to cool it down after a lesson, and cleaning out the horse's stall.

  • Trust: Vaulters learn to trust their coach, longeur, horse, and each other. As vaulters mature in the sport, trusting and being trust-worthy also grows.

Q. What Is The Best Age To Start Vaulting?

A. Vaulting is for all ages from toddler (tiny tots) through adult and any age in between. One of the nicest things about vaulting is that individuals of all ages and experience levels can safely participate in our fun sport. 


Q. What Programs Does SHVC Offer ?

A. Shadow Hills Vaulting Club offers equestrian vaulting instruction and competition support for:

  • Competitive Vaulting - Beginning through Elite Level Athletes wishing to train and compete individually and on teams.

  • Recreational Vaulting - Fun Classes for Pony Clubs, 4-H Clubs, Homeschool Groups, and Adults.

  • Adaptive Vaulting - Individualized lessons for children and adults with physical and cognitive disabilities.

Q. What is Competitive Vaulting at SHVC?

A. SHVC offers year-round training and competition support for developing and high performance athletes. SHVC participates in Regional, National, and International competitions each year, as well as community performances and dress rehearsals. We encourage vaulters at all levels to follow their dreams of competing, and we work with each vaulting family to develop an individual plan that suits their athlete's current skill level, interests, time committment, and the family's financial ability. Please contact us to find the right competitive vaulting experience for you.

Q. What is Adaptive Vaulting at SHVC?

A. Adaptive vaulting is a unique combination of sport and recreation which uses the movement of the horse to aide in improving  the quality of life for children and adults living with physical, cognitive, and emotional challenges. 
Benefits of adaptive equestrian vaulting include:

  • Develops motor skills, rhythm, coordination, and flexibility

  • Improves strength, balance, and stamina

  • Provides opportunities to experience movement and sensory input

  • Provides a fun experience that fosters creativity and builds social skills

  • Builds confidence and self-esteem


Q. Is Vaulting a Safe Sport?

A. Yes, according to the American Vaulting Association, vaulting is the safest of the equestrian sports, and is also documented as  safer than riding bicycles, playing on playground equipment, participating in baseball and softball, skating, soccer, and trampolines. Vaulting is always done in a very controlled environment—in a fully enclosed arena, in a consistent, large circle, in soft footing, with the horse attached to a "longe" line and controlled by an experienced trainer (called a longeur). Vaulters are taught to condition their bodies with stretching and strengthening exercises, and are also taught safe mounts and dismounts at all levels. Also, most exercises are learned on a stationary apparatus, called a vaulting barrel, before they are performed on the horse. With its stringent reporting guidelines for member clubs, the AVA safety reports show that most vaulting injuries are comparable to those seen in gymnastics. While it can be a thrilling spectator sport, vaulting has a lower injury rate than many other everyday activities.

Q. What should I wear to class?

  • T-shirt and leggings or sweatpants

  • Running/tennis shoes for warm-ups, stretching and getting the horse ready

  • Vaulting shoes for vaulting (water shoes, ballet, tennis, or other soft shoes may be worn to begin

  • Hair should be pulled away from the face. Long hair should be in a ponytail or bun.

Q. What should I bring to class?

  • 1 signed SHVC & SHRC release form for each child/adult participating in a class or visiting our facility for the first time.

  • Water bottle

  • Healthy snack

  • Jacket or warm sweatshirt for cooler days

  • Sunscreen 

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