Gymnastics and dance moves on the back of a moving horse may sound like something only professionals should attempt, but the sport of equestrian vaulting is open to almost anyone. Doug Flynn, host of Kentucky Life, visited the Life Adventure Center in Woodford County to find out more about the sport. Local interest in vaulting picked up after the 2010 World Equestrian Games were held in Lexington.
Kara Musgrave, vaulting instructor at the Life Adventure Center, said they teach vaulting to anyone, including those with special needs.
“It’s actually one of the safest ways to have your first interaction with a horse,” Musgrave said.
The instructors begin working with children as young as 7 and have worked with adults in their 70s, but there is no upper age limit, they said.
In place of a saddle, the sport uses a device called a surcingle, which holds a big pad on the horse’s back to absorb the vaulter’s weight. The surcingle also has handles for the vaulter.
More than one person can vault at a time. “You can have up to three people on the horse at one time,” said Mikhail Proctor, an equine riding instructor at the Life Adventure Center.
The Life Adventure Center offers individual and group vaulting lessons and has competitive and recreational vaulting clubs as well.
Proctor said the center’s Unbridled Vaulting Club will be going to the national competition in Murfreesboro, Tenn., for its first big competition.