Equitation refers to classes where the rider's style is judged.
In an equitation class, your horse doesn't have to be the smoothest
jumper in the world, or the most elegant mover, the rider is the
one being judged, and the horses' movement is irrelevant to some
Equitation divisions range from beginner walk-trot through open
equitation. In the flat equitation competition, riders are judged
on how well they handle riding skills, such as walking, trotting,
and cantering. Riders should be able to show precise handling of
their horse at the walk, trot, and canter while maintaining proper
equitation and control.
A knowledgeable equitation rider establishes a straight line from
his/her elbow, through forearms and reins to the horses mouth. Shoulders
are another common area for equitation faults. Some equitation judges
will ask riders to answer questions on anatomy, tack, and equitation.
There are three types of equitation saddle seat, hunter seat, and
stock seat. In hunt seat equitation, riders compete over fences
and in separate classes, and at the walk, trot and canter on the
Unlike the more common hunter classes, hunt seat equitation judges
the rider rather than the horse. Riders will receive penalties if
their horse refuses a jump. Certain fundamentals of equitation are
rigidly observed in judging. In general in a hunter equitation class
as long as the horse clears the fences in a jumper competition it
does not matter what it looked like. Saddle seat equitation may
include a pattern to be ridden, often at different gaits with several
changes in direction. Stock seat equitation is a western discipline.
Jackets are required in all equitation classes, with the exception
of hunter equitation classes where jackets are preferred but not
required. The rider must remain on the same mount throughout all
phases of an equitation class until the judge requests a change.
In equitation classes, only the rider is being judged therefore
no penalty should be assessed because of the horse's conformation,
color or movement. Many riders compete in specific divisions where
they earn points in Equitation classes, the points count for class
year end awards.
About the Author
Rob Daniels has been an equestrian rider for 25 years. He has studied
various disciplines additional articles are available at: Riding
Stable - http://www.riding-stable.com
and Horse Stall http://www.horse-stall.net