The term equestrianism encompasses many disciplines. Some of them are very spectacular, but still not very popular among fans. Get to know the most fascinating ones!
Buzkashi is a sport with national status in Afghanistan. Most participants are Tajiks, Uzbeks and Turkmen. The sport arouses great controversy because it is quite brutal. During the game participants can throw themselves off the horse and beat each other.
Buzkashi consists in picking up a lambskin sack placed in the middle of the field, carrying it across the field and placing it in a conventional goal. Earlier, instead of the bag, a decapitated goat carcass or the body of a slave was used.
The game involves two teams, the number of which is not strictly defined in the rules. Players may join the drive during the game. The team that carries the sack first wins.
Specially trained stallions are used for the game, which can with their own bodies protect the participant from being pushed off their backs. The traditional Afghan game was inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Heritage List in 2017.
Tent Pegging is one of ten equestrian competitions officially recognized as a discipline by the International Equestrian Federation. The origins of Tent Pegging can be traced back to ancient times on the Indian subcontinent.
The skillful competition took its technique from armies whose war tactics involved tearing down tent pegs in the enemy camp. Soldiers performed these actions at full gallop.
Nowadays, the rules of the game involve performing complex stunts and spectacular actions while riding a horse. Thus, the contestants tear off objects from the ground, cut through fruit with a sword or take up a suspended wheel with a lance. The sport developed most rapidly in Pakistan, where it is still practiced today. The contestants compete in festive national costumes.
The game is a combination of American soccer, horse riding and basketball. The official rules of the game were created in the 1970s in France, where the sport became very popular. A standard game lasts about 20 minutes and involves two teams of 4 active players. Each team designates two substitute players who can change partners if necessary.
The team’s task is to pick up the ball equipped with special straps to make it easier to hold while riding, pass it to the other three players from the team, and then place it in the opponent’s hoop. The group that scores the most goals wins the competition. Each accurate throw is rewarded with one point. During a game of horseball, players cannot get off their horse to pick up a dropped ball.
The sport is played both outdoors and indoors. The sport has its own World Cup, European Cup and Champions League. Among the top nations are currently Italy, Great Britain, France and Germany.
Triathlon in carriage driving
This discipline combines several classic equestrian sports. The competition is divided into three days, during which competitors compete in different competitions.
The first is dressage, which is a well-known series of figures performed that demonstrate the rider’s control over the horse. In the sequence, the riders perform somersaults, half-volleys, reversing, stopping, serpentines. On the second day, the competition takes place in Eventing, which consists in overcoming various obstacles.
The last one is a skillful driving competition. The rider’s task is to maneuver during the ride in such a way that the horse overcomes narrowly set up gates on the route of several hundred meters. The winner of the triathlon is the competitor who obtains the highest marks in all applicable competitions.
Although the carriage driving triathlon consists of Olympic disciplines, it itself is not yet performed at the most important sports tournament in the world.
Featured photo: alainalele / Flickr