GRACE, agility and control.
These are just some of the abilities needed to compete in an activity that is far from your traditional equestrian sport.
Vaulting – or gymnastics on a moving horse – combines equestrian skills with the athletic benefits of gymnastics, focusing on an overall improvement in balance, fitness and coordination.
And, while standing, swinging and performing stunts on horse-back may not be the average man’s cup of tea, this young team of competitors have tackled it head-on.
After attending State Championships at the Sydney International Equestrian Centre in July, a team from Scone Equestrian Vaulting have qualified for the Australian Vaulting Championships.
Now, they are training hard ahead of the big event to increase their strength and endurance and move in perfect harmony with their equine friends.
Coach Robyn Boyle said that while challenging, vaulting is an inclusive sport for all ages and abilities.
“Competitive vaulting is judged on the smooth and correct execution of a set of compulsory exercises and a freestyle program – in addition to training on horse-back we use a vaulting barrel to develop moves,” she said.
“The Scone Equestrian Vaulting Team is an incorporated club and affiliated with Equestrian Australia.
“Scone has a strong team attending the national and is even lucky enough to have a champion vaulter from Germany join the team.”
Assisting the girls in success is gentle giant Hunterview Sinatra, lovingly known by the team as “Frank” who also happens to be the Australian national vaulting horse of the year for the third year running.
“The team performed well at state and we are hoping to win again at nationals,” Robyn Boyle said.
The nationals squad consists of 15 talented competitors including: Peyton Halloran, Daytona Halloran, Tiannah Witney, Ella Bennett, Molly Duffy, Phillip Ritter, Georgina Heard, Sarah Clark, Charlotte Clark, Grace Pratley, Justin Boyle, Jerri Dixon, Rachel Barlow, Jamie Hocking and Pauline Riedel.
The four-day competition attracts vaulters from all over Australia and runs from September 28 – October 1 at the Sydney International Equestrian Centre.