Summer is coming! Summer is coming! SUMMER IS COMING!
Obviously this is a big day, the pinnacle point of the year where we strip off our clunky winter boots & mitts and don our short-shorts & self-tanner! But for a select group of rural dwellers this marks an extra special occasion (that is NOT planting season! -.- ). For horse lovers this is the first spring ride… one often spent on your rump, or the flat of your back staring up at the clouds wondering how you got there as your mount kicks, flips, and twirls away their pent up energy from a quiet winter more or less spent indoors. I’ve gotten bit with the horse bug today and came across a few summer equestrian sports I am so happy to have discovered even existed!
This is one I know a little bit about, Voltige; the art of gymnastics & acrobatics on horseback. Cavalia is perhaps the most popular/modern example of this sport, but if you think it’s easy wait until you see THIS VIDEO! I practiced voltige for about 2 years at Horses of the Sun, and let me tell you… I’ve never been is such good shape as I was then!
Nearly everyone has heard of jousting, as exhibited by modern restaurant Medieval Times… but did you realize that there are still groups of people who actually participate in the sport? Never mind jousting there are still some schools, such as Academie Duello in British Columbia (Canada), who also teach mounted combat with swords, and even archery on horseback!!
This style of riding is similar to both voltige & medieval riding, but instead of the rider doing the ‘work’, the horse is! I don’t even know if there is a world for this form besides ‘trick’ riding, but it is honestly so much more than that! These horses performs exercises and moves that were originally meant to be a style of close-quarter fighting for the horses; the best example I can give is of the ‘World Famous Lippizaner Stallions’ from the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. I got the chance to see them perform once in Ottawa and they were amazing! These horses are literally perfection!
Gymnastics & dancing not your thing? Why not check out Bonaire Ranch and take a swim instead?
I think I can officially count myself as one of those crazy horse people because I would love to try all of these! Especially Pato, Polo, & Fox Hunting! Did you know that in Pato if the ball is dropped you have to reach down from your galloping horse and grab the ball off the ground with your hands?! Yea! Crazy! For once I am counting my blessings to be located in the Ottawa area, where I have access to not only the country & its horses but a surprisingly large number of these activities!
Maybe this summer will be even more exciting than I had originally thought? 😛