35 Equestrian Sports You Can Do On Horseback

From dressage to show jumping, there are many equestrian sports that you can do on horseback. If you’re looking for a new hobby or want to get into competitive horseback riding, check out this list of 35 sports.


Buzkashi is a traditional Afghan sport that resembles polo, but with a goat carcass instead of a ball. Riders on horseback attempt to grab the goat and carry it across the goal line. The game is popular throughout Central Asia and parts of the Middle East. The name “Buzkashi” means “goat grabbing.”

There is no set rules to Buzkashi, but the most common way to play is for two teams of riders to compete against each other. The team that grabs the goat and carries it across the goal line first wins the point. Some variations of the game allow for multiple points to be scored by carrying the goat over different goal lines. The game can be played for any length of time, but is typically several hours long.

Barrel racing

Barrel Racing is a rodeo event that involves horses and riders racing around three barrels placed in a triangular pattern. The goal is to complete the course as quickly as possible without knocking over any of the barrels. Barrel Racing is a challenging event that requires good horsemanship and timing. Riders must stay in control of their horses while maneuvering around the barrels at high speeds. Barrel Racing is a popular event and can be seen at many rodeos.


Campdrafting is an Australian sport that combines the skills of cattle herding with horse riding. Contestants, known as “jockeys”, must guide their horses around a course of obstacles while at the same time keeping control of a mob of cattle. The sport is said to have originated in the 1860s when cattle were brought over from Britain to be used in the new colonies. Over time, the locals developed a unique way of moving and working the cattle, which eventually became known as campdrafting. Today, campdrafting is a popular sport that is enjoyed by people of all ages. In fact, the Australian Campdrafting Association (ACA) boasts over 5,000 members.


Cirit is a traditional Turkish sport that is similar to javelin throw. It is a popular sport in the Black Sea region of Turkey. The aim of the game is to throw a cirit, a wooden javelin, as far as possible. Cirit is usually played by two teams of three players. The game is played on a grass field, and the player who throws the cirit the farthest wins the point for their team.


Charreada is a traditional Mexican horseback riding and roping sport. It has been practiced in Mexico for centuries and is considered an important part of Mexican culture. Charreada is often compared to American rodeo, although the two sports are quite different.

While rodeo is a competitive event that features timed events such as bull riding and steer wrestling, charreada is more about traditional horsemanship and skill. Competition in charreada usually revolves around tasks such as team penning, calf roping, and flag racing.

Despite its differences from rodeo, charreada is still popular in Mexico. There are even professional charreada circuits with riders who compete for prize money. If you’re ever in Mexico, be sure to check out a charreada event – it’s a unique cultural experience!

Chilean rodeo

Chilean rodeo is a unique and popular traditional sport in Chile. It’s considered the national sport of Chile. Chilean rodeo is also known as “el rodeo chileno”.

Rodeo is a competitive sport that evolved from work done by vaqueros (cowboys) on ranches in North America. The basic idea is to rope and then ride a horse or steer, controlling it with just the use of a rope around its neck. What makes Chilean rodeo different from other rodeos around the world is that there are also various other events included in the competition, such as barrel racing, bareback bronc riding and bull riding.

The first official Chilean rodeo championship was held in Santiago in 1933. Today, the sport is very popular in Chile and there are numerous competitions held throughout the year. The most prestigious event of the Chilean rodeo season is the National Championship, which is held every year in December.

Chuckwagon racing

Chuckwagon racing is a type of horse racing where teams of horses pull wagons filled with food and supplies. The races are held in the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. The first chuckwagon race was held in 1923. The races are usually held during summer months.

Cross country

Cross country is a horseback riding event that tests a rider’s ability to navigate varied terrain. The course can include hills, water crossings, and other obstacles. Cross country is one of the three main disciplines of horseback riding, along with show jumping and dressage. Riders must be skilled at both horsemanship and navigation in order to compete in cross country events. Horse and rider teams must complete the course within a set amount of time in order to earn points. Cross country is a challenging but rewarding event, and it is growing in popularity among horse enthusiasts. If you’re interested in trying cross country riding, be sure to find a reputable stable with experienced instructors. You’ll be hooked once you try it!


Cutting is a western riding sport that involves a horse and rider working together to cut a cow out of a herd. The goal is to get the cow to move away from the rest of the herd as quickly as possible.

The sport has been around for centuries, and was once used to train horses for battle. Today, it is mostly enjoyed as a recreational activity.

Cutting is considered a difficult sport, and it takes a lot of practice to be able to do it well. Riders must be skilled at handling their horses and must be able to guide them through the herd accurately. They also need to be able to read the cows’ behavior and know when to make their move.

If you’re interested in learning more about cutting, there are a number of clubs and organizations that offer classes and clinics. You can also watch competitions online or on TV to see how the best riders in the world do it. Give it a try – you might just fall in love with this exciting sport!


Dressage is a horseback riding discipline that emphasizes the harmonious development of the horse through gymnastic exercises and training. The name “dressage” is derived from the French term “dresser” meaning “to train.” The aim of dressage is to develop the horse’s natural athleticism and willingness to work with the rider in an effort to create a partnership that is both effective and beautiful.

Dressage horses must be well-trained and have a calm temperament, as they are often asked to perform difficult maneuvers in close proximity to other horses and riders. The focus on balance, collection, and impulsion in dressage helps ensure that these horses are able to remain calm under pressure. In addition to the beauty and athleticism that dressage can produce, the discipline is also known for its many health benefits for horses. Horses that are regularly ridden in dressage tend to be healthier and have fewer soundness issues than those that are not.

Dressage is a popular sport both in the United States and around the world. The Olympic Games feature a dressage competition, as do many other international horse shows. There are also many different dressage championships that riders can compete in at all levels of ability. If you are interested in learning more about this fascinating equestrian discipline, be sure to check out your local riding school or equestrian center. There you will find instructors who can teach you how to ride and train your horse in the art of dressage.

Endurance riding

Endurance riding is a type of horseback riding that tests the endurance of the rider and the horse. The goal is to ride for a long distance, usually over rough terrain. Endurance riders must be able to keep their horses under control while they are tired, and they must also be able to navigate difficult obstacles. This type of riding can be dangerous, so it requires a lot of training and experience. Endurance riders often compete in races, which can be very challenging. The horses that perform the best in these races are usually very fit and well-trained.

English pleasure

One activity that can be enjoyed by both English riders and those who are just learning is English pleasure classes. This type of class usually includes a variety of riding maneuvers, as well as tests on horse knowledge. English pleasure classes provide a great opportunity for riders to practice their skills, and they can also be a lot of fun!


Equitation is a form of horse riding that focuses on the use of the horse’s natural movements to achieve balance and harmony. It is not about forcing the horse to do anything, but working with its own body language and instincts to create a partnership between rider and mount. This makes equitation a very elegant and graceful style of riding, as well as a very efficient way to control a horse.

There are many different aspects to equitation, from precise technical skills to developing a strong relationship with your horse. The basics, however, center around two key things: position and communication.Position is extremely important in equitation, as it determines how well you can use your aids (commands) to influence the horse. You need to be in the correct posture and alignment so that you are able to move with the horse, using your legs, hips, and hands to give clear instructions. Good communication is also essential, as it allows you to develop a mutual understanding with your horse and work together as a team. By learning to read your horse’s body language and respond accordingly, you can achieve a level of harmony and cooperation that is truly unique.


If you’re wondering what eventing is, it’s an equestrian sport that combines three disciplines: dressage, cross-country, and show jumping. Riders compete against the clock to complete a course that includes obstacles such as fences, water jumps, and log piles. Eventing is considered one of the most challenging equestrian sports because riders must be skilled in all three disciplines.

Eventing originated in cavalry training where soldiers had to be able to jump fences while riding at a full gallop. The modern sport of eventing developed in the early 20th century, and it was first added to the Olympic Games in 1912. Today, eventing is popular around the world and there are numerous competitions at all levels. If you’re interested in trying eventing, there are plenty of resources available to help you get started. Happy riding!

Equestrian vaulting

Equestrian vaulting is a sport in which athletes complete acrobatic movements while on horseback. The objective is to stay on the horse while completing as many difficult moves as possible. This is a relatively new sport, having been developed in the early 1970s. It has since become quite popular, with competitions being held all around the world.


Gymkhana is a fast-paced, obstacle course-based sport that is popular in the United States and around the world. The object of the game is to navigate an obstacle course as quickly as possible while maintaining control of your horse. Gymkhana events are often held at county fairs and other equestrian events.

Harness racing

A type of horse racing in which horses pull a two-wheeled cart called a sulky. The races are usually around one and a half miles long. The horses wear specially designed harnesses which attach to the sulky. Races are usually run over a number of different distances, with the most common being one mile. Other distances include five furlongs, six and a half furlongs, seven and a half furlongs, and one and three quarter miles.

The sport originated in the United States in the early 19th century, and is now popular in a number of other countries including Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The most prestigious race in harness racing is the Kentucky Derby, which is run at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Other major races include the Hambletonian Stake, which is the world’s richest harness race with a purse of over $1 million, and the Breeders Crown, which is the world’s richest all-breed harness race.

Hobby horse polo

Hobby horse polo is a sport that involves two teams of three players each. One player rides the hobby horse, while the other two players ride Shetland ponies and hit a ball back and forth. The aim of the game is to score goals by hitting the ball through a hoop. Hobby horse polo is a relatively new sport, having been founded in 2006. It is played mainly in the United Kingdom, but there are also some clubs in the United States.

Horse racing

Horse racing is a popular sport that involves betting on horses to race around a track. The horses are typically ridden by jockeys, who use a whip to encourage the horse to run faster. There are different types of races, including thoroughbreds, harness racing, and quarter horses. Betting on horse races is known as parimutuel betting, which means that the bets are pooled together and the odds are determined by how much money is bet on each horse. Horse racing is regulated by a number of organizations, including the National Horse Racing Authority in the United Kingdom and the United States Racing Association.

Horse polo, or polo

Horse polo is a sport that is similar to regular polo, but instead of using a ball, players use a wooden mallet to hit a small, lightweight plastic or rubber ball. The game is played on horseback and the object of the game is to score goals by hitting the ball into the opposing team’s goal. Horse polo is considered a dangerous sport due to the speed at which the horses can run and the potential for collisions between players. Despite this, horse polo is a popular sport with events taking place all over the world.


Horseball is a sport that combines elements of polo, basketball, and rugby. Two teams of four players each mount horses and try to score goals by throwing a ball into the other team’s goal. The game is played on a field about the size of a soccer field, and there are typically six or seven players on each team. Horseball is popular in Europe and South America.


Jousting is a sport that involves two people riding horses and trying to knock each other off their horses with a stick. It’s a very dangerous sport, and many people have died while jousting. But it’s also a very popular sport, and there are many tournaments where people can compete. Jousting is a lot of fun to watch, and it’s definitely a sport that you don’t want to miss out on. If you’re ever in the area of a jousting tournament, be sure to go and check it out! You won’t regret it.

Mounted games

Mounted Games is a type of game where the player mounts an animal and performs various tasks while riding. Mounted games were first introduced in the early 1900s, and were popular during the 1920s and 1930s. Many mounted games are now extinct, but some modern examples include polo, horse racing, and show jumping. Mounted games are considered a dangerous sport, and can cause serious injuries to both the rider and the animal.

Mounted archery

Mounted archery is a form of archery where the archer shoots arrows from horseback. The practice developed out of the need to shoot arrows farther and with more power while on horseback. Mounted archery began to decline in popularity as firearms became more common, but it is still practiced today by a small number of enthusiasts. There are several different disciplines within mounted archery, including target shooting, 3D animal hunting, and war games. In order to be successful at mounted archery, an archer must have excellent horsemanship skills and be able to accurately shoot arrows while riding at full speed.


The word “pato” is Spanish for “duck”. So what’s a duck doing in equestrian sport? In some parts of the world, particularly South America, riders on horseback chase after ducks that have been released from a pen. The first person to catch and mount the duck wins the race. This unusual sport is called “pato”. Riders must be very skilled at riding and handling their horses quickly, as well as being very good at dodging obstacles. Some people say that pato originated with the Incas, who were known to hunt ducks on horseback.

While pato is not as popular as some other equestrian sports, it is still enjoyed by many riders and spectators. There are several different types of pato races, including flat race, obstacle race, and team race. In a flat race, the riders simply race to the finish line. An obstacle race features obstacles that the riders must navigate around or jump over. A team race involves two teams of riders who compete against each other. The first team to catch all of their ducks wins the race.

If you’re ever in South America and see a group of people on horseback chasing after ducks, you’ll know that you’re witnessing a pato race!

Pleasure driving

There is something about the feel of the horse between your legs, the wind in your hair, and the sun on your face that just makes pleasure driving equestrian sports so special. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced rider, there is nothing quite like spending a sunny afternoon out on a trail.

There are many different types of pleasure driving equestrian sports, so finding one that you enjoy is easy. If you are new to riding, start with a basic trail ride. As you become more comfortable with riding, you can try more advanced activities like cross-country jumping or barrel racing.

No matter what type of pleasure driving equestrian sport you choose, be sure to take some time to enjoy the beauty of the countryside. Whether you are galloping through an open field or winding your way through a shady forest, there is always something new to see. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and enjoy some of the best riding in the world!


Reining equestrian sports is a western-style horseback riding competition. Competitors are judged on their ability to show control and finesse over their horses while completing a pattern of designated maneuvers. Maneuvers can include circles, serpentines, spins, and lead changes. Reining is a popular spectator sport, and is also contested in regional and national competitions throughout the United States. The World Equestrian Games, held every four years, features a reining competition as one of its eight core disciplines.

There are three major reining organizations in the United States: the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA), the Reining Horse Association of America (RHA), and the Reining Cowboy Association (RCA). The NRHA is the largest reining organization, and sanctions more than 2,000 competitions each year. The RHA is the second-largest reining organization, and sanctions nearly 1,000 competitions each year. The RCA is a relatively small organization that sanctions around 100 competitions each year.

Reining horses are typically Quarter Horses or Thoroughbreds that have been bred for their athleticism and agility. They are usually ridden by men, but there is a growing number of women competitors in the sport. Reining horses are also used in other western riding disciplines, such as cow horse events and working cow horse competitions.


Rodeo is a sport that originated in the United States. It involves riders on horseback trying to stay on a bucking animal for as long as possible. Riders can also attempt to throw a rope around a calf’s neck and drag it away. Rodeos are popular contests and entertainment events in North America.

Show hunter (British)

Show hunter is a type of equestrian sport in which the riders show their horses in a designated area. The purpose of this sport is to display the horse’s natural movement and jumping ability. In order to do well in show hunter, the horse must be calm and have a good temperament. The course that they ride on is typically composed of fences of varying heights, spread out over an open field. There are also classes for junior riders, as well as those who are just starting out in the sport.

One of the most important things that judges look for when judging a show hunter class is how smooth and graceful the horse moves. They will also take into account how easily the horse jumps the fences, as well as its overall condition. In order to be successful in this sport, the rider must have a lot of control over their horse and be able to guide it around the course.

If you’re interested in learning more about show hunter, there are a number of different resources available online. You can also check with your local equestrian center to see if they offer classes in this discipline.

Show jumping

Show jumping, also known as “jumpers”, is a part of horse show competition involving a horse and rider jumping over a series of obstacles. The purpose is to jump cleanly over a designated course of fences, usually with the fewest errors possible. Riders are judged on their ability to navigate the course with speed and accuracy, and on their horse’s obedience and athleticism.

The obstacles in show jumping are typically designed to test the horse’s agility, balance and bravery. They may include verticals (upright fences), water jumps, oxers (a type of spread fence which includes two elements that curve outward from either side of the center pole), and combinations (two or more fences placed close together). Many riders also compete in show hunter competition, which is judged on the horse’s manners, obedience, and ability to jump cleanly over a course of natural obstacles, like logs and hedges.


A steeplechase is an obstacle race in horse racing. It is usually a long-distance race, and often involves jumping fences or other obstacles. The name comes from the fact that the horses have to jump over a hurdle (the “steeple”) as part of the course. Steeplechasing is also an equestrian sport. Riders compete in jumping events, sometimes crossing country expanses and rivers. Many riders consider steeplechasing one of the most challenging sports there is. It tests the horse’s stamina, agility and jumping ability.


Equestrian Sport Sur-papakh is a sport that is similar to horseback riding. However, in this sport, the riders use a large, inflatable raft instead of a horse. The raft can be ridden in a number of different ways, including standing up, sitting down, or lying down. Equestrian Sport Sur-papakh is considered to be a very challenging sport, as it requires a great deal of balance and coordination. In addition, the riders must be able to navigate through rough water conditions.

Team penning

The Equestrian Sport Team penning is a sport that involves three people on horseback, who must work together to herd cows into a pen. It’s a popular sport in the United States, Canada, and Australia.

Tent pegging

Equestrian Sport Tent pegging is a sport that involves using a peg to stab into the ground and hold a tent in place. It can be done solo or as part of a team. The aim is to complete the course in the quickest time possible. There are many different obstacles that can be included in a course, such as water hazards, fences, and walls. It is a popular sport in many countries, including the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Western pleasure

Western pleasure is one of the most popular equestrian sports. It’s a judged event where horses are shown in a very natural way, as if they were being ridden on the open range. The horse is shown at a walk, trot, and canter, and is also asked to back up and stop. This event is all about the animal’s movement and fluidity, so the rider must be skilled in training their horse to be obedient and responsive. Western pleasure is a great way to show off your horse’s natural beauty and athleticism.


While horseback riding is the most popular equestrian sport, there are many more that you can do on horseback. From racing to polo and even skijoring, there’s something for everyone who loves horses. Have you tried any of these other sports? What was your experience like?