What Can Horses Be Used For?


What is Polo?The fastest ball sport in the world, it is played with four men on horses to a team. A ball is hit with a stick towards the goal, one at each end of a 300 yard long by 160 yard wide field. A game consists of 4 to 6 periods called chukkas, a chukka is 7 minutes long. Teams change ends each time a goal is scored. It can be played by men and women of any standard. The handicap system goes from -2 at the bottom to the very best at 10. In handicap tournaments the number of goals start is obtained by multiplying the difference between the two teams' total handicaps by the number of chukkas to be played and then dividing by 6. There are usually two umpires on ponies on the field, and a third man, the referee, on the side line. Arena Polo is played during the winter, three aside and in an arena 300 feet by 150 feet.

Where to play? Polo clubs can be found throughout the Country, many of them catering for beginners. Some of the Pony Clubs have also taken up polo resulting in an increase in young players.

Where to learn? The H.P.A. can supply a list of "Approved Coaches".

Who can play? There is no age limit. The H.P.A. has 2,000 members of all ages, playing through 51 clubs and 62 pony clubs.

Equipment? Helmets are compulsory. Pony Club - only one pony is needed and sticks and balls can be provided. Clubs - ponies, sticks and balls can be hired for hour sessions from some clubs. Normal games - a minimum of two ponies are needed.

How much does it cost? No more than the cost of keeping a pony, plus a club subscription of, in some cases, only a few hundred pounds. Like a lot of sports, it can also be very expensive at the top.

Polo Crosse

Polocrosse it is a team sport that is played in many different countries. It is a combination of polo and lacrosse. It is played outside, on a field, on horseback. Each rider uses a stick to which is attached a racquet head with a loose, thread net, in which the ball is carried. The ball is made of sponge rubber and is approximately 4 inches across. The objective is to score goals by throwing the ball between your opponent's goal posts.

Unlike polo, players are allowed only to play one horse, except in the case of injury. There is no restriction on their height, although the ideal should not exceed about 16 hands. Horses of all breeds play polocrosse. Just use your favourite horse!

A team consists of 6 players, divided into two sections of three who play alternate chukkas of a maximum of 8 minutes each. Six or eight chukkas compromise a full match. The three players in each section play the position of a No. 1 "attack", a No. 2 "centre", or a No. 3 "defence".

The team structure was designed to force players to pass the ball about amongst themselves thereby making it a better skilled, faster and more attractive horse sport.

The field is 60 yards (55 m) x 160 yards (146.5 m), with three separate areas. The goal scoring areas, on each end, are 30 yards long. Only the No. 1 of the attacking team and the No. 3 of the defending team can play in these areas. The middle area is 100 yards long. The line separating the goal scoring and centre areas is called the penalty line. Goal posts are 8 feet apart. To score, the ball must be thrown from outside an 11-yard semi-circle in front of the goal. Players can pick up the ball from the ground, catch it in their racquet, and ride with it. They will throw it to other players until the No.1 has possession in the goal scoring area. A player cannot carry the ball over the penalty line, but must bounce it so that they do not have possession of it while actually crossing the line. However, it can be thrown to a player over the line. When carrying the ball, a player must carry it on the stick side, i.e. right-handed players must carry it on the offside of the horse. They can, however, pick-up or catch the ball on the non-stick side provided they immediately bring it back to their stick side.

The game commences in centre field with the players lining up, one section beside the other, with the No. 1's in front. This is called a line up. The umpire then throws the ball, over the player's heads. The game recommences similarly after a goal has been scored. Whenever an attempt at goal fails, the No. 3 throws the ball back into play from behind the penalty line, as directed by the umpire. This throw must travel at least 10 yards, otherwise it is called back and the ball thrown in to all six players in a line up. The No. 3 can throw the ball to themselves or to a team member. If they elect to throw to themselves, the ball must bounce before they can regain possession, but they are to have first call on the ball, before opposition players can attempt to regain possession.

Players can get the ball from the opposition by hitting at an opponent's stick (in an upwards direction only), either to dislodge the ball or to prevent them from gaining possession of it. Riding off is also allowed, but crossing, stopping over the ball, or elbowing constitutes fouls. Sandwiching of one player between two others also constitutes a foul. Fouls result in a free throw to the offended side.

If you can ride a horse you can play polocrosse. Playing polocrosse will, in any case, help improve riding skills. All ages and abilities are encouraged to play and the Pony Club have polocrosse as a recognised horse sport. You are never too old or too young to play the game.

You don't need much equipment: just a recognised safety helmet, a racquet and a ball. For the horse you will need leg wraps and coronet boots. This is enough to get you started.


Horseball is the latest British equestrian sport, recently imported from France. This highly spectacular game has been compared to a cross between rugby and basketball on horseback and was invented by Jean-Paul Depons, a former riding instructor and rugby player. The game was created as an excercise to improve skill and discipline between horse and rider. Several concepts were developed by the French Equestrian Federation, but only horseball proved successful and, since its introduction, has become a discipline in its own right.

The game is played on a fairly small pitch and involves sudden spurts, rapid stops, half turns and acceleration, therefore horses must be well schooled and under perfect control. Riders must be reasonably experienced and confident.

Despite the speed and physical nature of the game it is fun to play and it is safe, and our Association aims to keep it that way.


1. The Game
Two teams oppose each other. They are required to gain possession of a ball, especially fitted with 6 leather handless, pass it at least three times within the teams as they race towards the goals and score by shooting through the a hoop (1 metre in diameter) suspended on a 3.5 metre poles. It is essentially a team game and any member can score. At no time may the riders dismount, but passes may go forwards or backwards and can be as short or as long as the opponents permit. Speed is of essence.

2. The Teams
Each team is composed of 6 riders and horses. Only 4 from each team are allowed on the field at the same time, but substitutions are allowed during the match.

3. The Ball
This is a junior football (size 4) enclosed in a harness fitted with 6 leather handles.

4. The Match
There are two halves, each of 10 minutes, with half time of 3 minutes. It is umpired by 2 referees, one on horseback and the other on a chair at the side of the pitch.


a. The team scoring the greatest number of goals wins the match.

b. Before the goal is allowed the ball must be passed consecutively through the hands of at least 3 of the 4 members of the team. At least 3 passes must be made without dropping the ball before a goal can be scored by shooting through the hoop.

c. The ball must not be retained by any player for more than 10 Seconds.

d. After a goal the game is restarted with a throw-in similar to those on rugby. Two players from each team form a line out (at least 5 metres from the sideline). The side with the advantage throws in the ball.

e. If the ball or a player carrying the ball or the ball goes out of play on the side
lines, the opposing team takes possession and the game restarts with a simple

f. There are three forms of penalty depending on the level of infringement.

g. All the rules are designed for the safety of horses.


Some 20 years ago the French Equestrian Federation were looking for something to develop riding skills that could be used in a Manége, would be fun to do and easy to learn.

Jean Paul Depons, a riding instructor and a rugby player came up with the concept of HORSEBALL which despite it’s English name was invented at Castillion near Bordeaux.

Horseball has become an integral part of the riding instruction in France, and the federation is energetically promoting it at home and, more recently, abroad. The country now boasts some 450 horseball clubs, which compete in national and regional leagues. France has won the European Cup on each of the occasions it has been contested so far, including this year.
Elsewhere, progress has been slower, although it is now gathering pace. Portugal and Belgium have the strongest teams after the French and the most players. The game has grown in England during the last five years since the French introduced it in an exhibition tournament at the Horse of the Year Show in 1990 and it is also starting to win converts outside Europe, including Australia, parts of the Middle East and the Americas.

The game has now been recognised by the International Equestrian Federation, which is considering including it as a core discipline. Leading horseballers reckon this could pave the way for eventual Olympic recognition.

The Game

Horseball pits four players (who can be of either sex) against each other. They compete in halves of 10 minutes each- enough to tire both horses and riders-on a pitch that is no more than 70 metres by 30 metres. The smallness of the pitch ensures that players are always in close contact, much as in the forward play in rugby and in contrast to polo in which excessive space limits thrills to short bursts. The aim of the game is to win the ball (a small football, fitted with six leather handles); make a minimum of three consecutive passes of the ball (forward as well as backwards, unlike in rugby) between at least three team-members, without dropping it, and to shoot it through a hoop 1 metre in diameter and 3.5 metres off the ground.

In a game of reasonable quality, the teams would expect to share perhaps 15 goals. After each score, or if the ball goes out of play, play restarts with a line-out contested by two players from each side. This is one of the clearest opportunities to gain control of the ball, so teams work hard on tactics to help win on their own throw in, as in rugby. Otherwise, possession changes either in the tackle or when the ball goes to ground. (There are no scrums, alas!.)

Tackling usually involves physical contact, though technically a player must grab the ball without grabbing its carrier. The carrier must hold the ball in one hand only while being tackled, but a challenge can often be evaded simply by holding the ball on the side away from the tackler. Effective tacklers overcome this by shoulder-barging the carrier to knock him/her off balance, at which point his natural instinct is to steady himself by pulling in the extended ball-carrying arm, giving the tackler a chance. When the ball is dropped the player has to slide from the saddle and sweep it up, connected to his charging steed only by the stirrups that are connected by a belly strap – an act that requires much courage and is thrilling to watch, especially when two opponents race side-by-side to win the ball.
Apart from lineouts, tactics are mostly about attack. Passing the ball within a loose diamond formation is the best option. If the attackers ride to closely together, defenders can force them as a pack away from the goal, if they are too spread out, interceptions become easy as they do if the diamond collapses into a straight line across the width of the pitch. But, ultimately, games are won by superior horsemanship. A horseballer must keep his hands free, and rely almost entirely on his legs to control his mount-to stop, turn and vary it’s speed. This, say horseballers requires more skill than polo, in which players rely on reins and a whip.

British Horseball

The English league is currently expanding and has over two hundred members. This comprises of a senior and junior league.

European Teams

The European teams include the following nationalities;

Great Britain

Side Saddle

The sidesaddle is a type of saddle on which the rider sits aside rather than astride the mount.

The sidesaddle was designed for use by women, as it was considered unbecoming for a lady to straddle a horse whilst riding. This results from cultural norms in Western Europe in the Middle Ages where a lady or gentlewoman was much more restricted in her movements. Physically this translated into a social restriction that prevented her from riding astride. Such folk beliefs as riding astride would destroy a girl's virginity, or would provide a woman with an unnatural sexual stimulation persisted in some areas until the 1930s. It was also practical, since long dresses were the required fashion. However, these rules for riding aside applied only to women of wealth or social pretension, farm women undoubtedly rode astride.

The modern sidesaddle consists of two pommels mounted on a flat stuffed saddle. One pommel is nearly vertical (mounted approximately 10 degrees left of top dead center and curved gently to the right and up so to cup the right thigh of the rider with the right thigh lying at the top center of the saddle). The rider places her right leg (if she is sitting on the left side of the horse) against this top pommel. The outside of her lower right leg will rest against the left (near) side of the horse. There is a second pommel below on the left of the saddle. This is called the leaping head. It is mounted about 20 degrees off top dead center of the saddle. This pommel is curved gently downwards as to curve over the top of the left leg. The rider places her left leg beneath this pommel, and rests her left foot in the stirrup. In an emergency the rider can squeeze her right (top) leg downwards, and her left (bottom) leg upwards to create an extremely strong grip. It is tiring for both the rider and the horse to maintain this emergency position, and most riders rely upon good position, balance, and coordination to maintain their seat.

Only one stirrup is used. A whip is often carried on the off (right) side, to act in place of lady's outside leg for cues. If the rider wears a spur, she will wear it only on the left boot. The sidesaddle whip is about three feet long and used to cue the horse on the off side, and thus takes the place of the right leg. Neither the spur or the whip should be regarded as a cruel device. They are used for cuing, not punishment.

The horse used in sidesaddle riding must have special training to acclimate it to the placement of the rider and the use of the whip for cueing. The saddle must be fitted to the horse. This requires a specialist experienced in sidesaddle construction.

Modern sidesaddle may be seen in dressage, eventing, show-jumping, western pleasure, and saddleseat. But the most common place to see a sidesaddle is the hunt field, where the tradition is carried out by various sidesaddle devotees.

The two main types of sidesaddle in use are the Western and English sidesaddles.

The sidesaddle fell out of general use for several decades, but the sport enjoyed a revival in the 1970s. Sidesaddles were long regarded as a quaint anachronism by many in the horse world, but modern riders are finding new applications in the show ring, in historical rides and re-enactments, and in parades. In addition, the sidesaddle is a staple in many therapeutic riding programs, because the design of the saddle provides extra security to the ride. Sidesaddles are also used by people who have lost part of a leg below the knee.

The riding habit used in English sidesaddle riding appears to be a dress, but is actually a special construction. The rider wears ordinary jodhpurs, over this she will wear an apron like skirt that is open in the back. When the rider is on horseback, the appearance is of a woman wearing a dress (the jodhpurs are covered). This apron is necessary as wearing a long skirt would actually be dangerous as the skirt beneath the rider could become entangled in the pommels and the extra cloth would cause discomfort as it bunches under the rider.

Warning: If you find an old sidesaddle in an attic or barn, do not attempt to ride it unless you have it reconditioned. Sidesaddle riding places great stress on the underpinnings of the saddle. If the wood tree has become rotten the horn can break off from the saddle and result in a fall. This weakness will not be visible from the outside. Sidesaddle reconditioning requires complete removal of the leather and examination of the tree. A visual inspection is not enough to determine its safety. If you are a Civil War re-enactor and are interested in riding in a 'real' single pommel or "U" pommel sidesaddle typical of the mid-1860's in the US, be advised that this saddle is regarded by most modern sidesaddle riders as too dangerous to ride. The single horn saddles make attractive decorations, but should not be used on horseback.


Endurance Riding


Endurance GB is the governing body for the sport of Endurance (Competitive Long Distance) Riding Great Britain, formulating the rules and organising rides to cater for all levels of ability, whether you simply want to compete occasionally at local events or aim eventually for top class and international competition. We provide and manage well over 100  events a year for members of the Association riding registered horses and ponies as well as many social and pleasure rides, to encourage non-members.

Show Jumping

Show jumping or "jumpers" is a member of a family of English-discipline equestrian events that includes dressage, eventing, hunters and equitation. Jumping classes are commonly seen at Horse shows throughout the world, including the Olympics. Sometimes shows are limited exclusively to jumpers, sometimes jumper classes are offered in conjunction with other English-style events, and sometimes show jumping is but one division of very large, all-breed competitions that include a very wide variety of disciplines.

Jumper courses are held over a course of show jumping obstacles, including verticals, spreads, double and triple combinations, and many turns and changes of direction. The purpose is to jump cleanly over a set course within an allotted time; time faults are assessed for exceeding the time allowance. Depending on the type of competition, jumping faults are incurred for knockdowns only, or horses may be also penalized for "ticks" (where the horse touches the fence during a jump but does not knock it down) and blatant disobediences, such as refusals (when the horse stops before a fence or "runs out"). For every obstacle that is knocked down, four "faults" are earned. Horses are allowed a limited number of refusals to take an obstacle before being disqualified, but fault points are added to their score for each one. Until recently, three faults were incurred for each refusal, but was changed to four faults by the FEI (Federation Equestrian International), as it was decided that a refusal is a more serious mistake than a downed fence on the part of the horse. If they take more than the time allowed for the course, they earn one quarter of a fault per extra second. Tied entries jump over a raised and shortened course known as a jump-off; if entries are tied in the jump-off, the fastest time wins. Riders walk both the course and the jump-off course before competition to plan their ride.

The more professional the competition, such as "A" rated shows in the United States, or the international "Grand Prix" circuit, the more technical the course. Not only is the height of an obstacle raised to present a greater challenge, technical difficulty also increases with tight turns and shorter or unusual distance between fences. For example, a course designer might set up a line so that there are six and a half strides (the standard measure for a canter stride is 12 feet) between the jumps, making it more difficult for the rider.

Jumper courses, especially at the highest levels, are highly technical, requiring boldness, scope, power, accuracy, and control; speed is also a factor, especially in jump-off courses and speed classes (in which time counts in the first round). A jumper must jump big, bravely, and fast, but he must also be careful and accurate to avoid knockdowns, and must be balanced and rideable in order to rate and turn accurately. A jumper rider must ride the best line to each fence, saving ground with well-planned turns and lines, and must adjust the horse's stride for each fence and distance, while avoiding knockdowns. In a jump-off, a rider must must balance the need to go as fast as possible and turn as tight as possible against the horse's ability to jump cleanly.

The final rankings are based on the lowest number of points or "faults" accumulated. In case of a draw, the horse with the fastest time ranks higher.


Dressage (a French term meaning "training") is a path and destination of competitive horse training, with competitions held at all levels from amateur to Olympic. Its fundamental purpose is to develop, through standardized progressive training methods, a horse's natural athletic ability and willingness to perform, thereby maximizing its potential as a riding horse. At the peak of a dressage horse's gymnastic development, it can smoothly respond to a skilled rider's minimal aids by performing the requested movement while remaining relaxed and appearing effortless. For this reason, dressage is occasionally referred to as "Horse Ballet." Although the discipline has its roots in classical Greek horsemanship, mainly through the influence of Xenophon, dressage was first recognized as an important equestrian pursuit during the Renaissance in Western Europe. The great European riding masters of that period developed a sequential training system that has changed little since then and is still considered the basis of modern dressage.

Early European aristocrats displayed their horses' training in equestrian pageants, but in modern dressage competition, successful training at the various levels is demonstrated through the performance of "tests," or prescribed series of movements within a standard arena. Judges evaluate each movement on the basis of an objective standard appropriate to the level of the test and assign each movement a score from zero to ten - zero being "not executed" and 10 being "excellent." A score of 9 (or "very good") is considered a particularly high mark.
There are two sizes of arenas: small and standard. Each has letters assigned to positions around the arena for dressage tests to specify where movements are to be performed.

The small arena is 20 m by 40 m, and is used for the lower levels of dressage and three-day eventing dressage. Its letters around the outside edge, starting from the point of entry and moving clockwise, are A-K-E-H-C-M-B-F. Letters also mark locations in the middle of the arena: Moving down the center line, they are D-X-G, with X in the center. Since the combination of Canadian Equestrian Federation (CEF) and United States Dressage Federation (USDF) tests in 2003, the small size arena is no longer utilized in rated shows in North America.

The standard arena is 20 m by 60 m, and is used for tests in both dressage and eventing. The standard dressage arena letters are A-K-V-E-S-H-C-M-R-B-P-F. (It is unknown who began the lettering system or why the arrangement was chosen.) The letters on the long sides of the arena nearest the corners are 6 m in from the corners, and are 12 m apart from each other. The letters in the middle of the arena are D-L-X-I-G, with X marking the center.

At the start of the test, the horse enters at A. There is always a judge sitting at C (although for upper-level competition, there are up to five judges at different places around the arena).

The dressage arena also has a centerline (from A to C, going through X in the middle), as well as two quarter-lines (halfway between the centerline and long sides of each arena).

Dressage horses are shown in minimal tack. They are not permitted to wear boots (including hoof or bell boots) or wraps (including tail bandages) in competition, nor are they allowed to wear martingales or training devices such as draw or running reins or the gogue. Due to the formality of dressage, tack is usually black leather, although dark brown is seen from time to time.

An English-style saddle is the required piece of tack for riding dressage, specifically a "dressage saddle" which is modeled exculsively for the discipline. It is designed with a long and straight saddle flap, mirroring the leg of the dressage rider, which is long with a slight bend in the knee. The dressage saddle usually has a deeper seat than a jumping saddle, with a higher cantle and pommel, to help hold the rider in a deep seat. However, many dressage masters shun the deep seat, believing that a rider should not need the saddle to help them stay in place. The saddle is usually placed over a square, white saddle pad. A dressage saddle is required in FEI classes, although any simple english-type saddle may be used at the lower levels.

When a dressage saddle is used, a short dressage girth should also be used.

At the lower levels of dressage, a bridle should use a plain cavesson, drop noseband, or flash noseband. As of 2006, drop nosebands are relatively uncommon, with the flash more common. At the higher levels, the flash and drop are not used, and a plain cavesson or a crank noseband is permitted. Figure-eight nosebands are rare, and usually only seen in the dressage phase of eventing. Riders are not allowed to use Kineton nosebands, due to their severity.

The dressage horse is only permitted to use a mild snaffle bit, and the rules regarding bitting vary from organization to organization. The loose-ring snaffle with a mild single- or double-joint is most commonly seen. Harsher snaffle bits, such as twisted wire, corkscrews, slow-twists, and waterfords are not permitted, nor are pelhams, kimberwickes, or gag bits. Upper level dressage horses are ridden in a double bridle, using both a mild bradoon and a stronger curb bit. Double bridles are also required at the FEI levels.

Dressage horses are turned out to a very high standard, as competitive dressage is descended from royal presentations in Europe. It is traditional for horses to have their mane braided. In eventing, the mane is always braided on the right. In competitive dressage, however, it is occasionally braided on the left, should it naturally fall there. Braids vary in size depending on the conformation of the horse, but Europeans tend to put in fewer, larger braids, while horses in the United States usually have more braids per horse (possibly from the influence of hunter-style riding in the country). Braids are occasionally accented in white tape, which also helps them stay in throughout the day. The forelock may be left unbraided; this style is most commonly seen on stallions.

Horses are not permitted to have bangles, ribbons, or other decorations in their mane or tail. Tail extensions are permitted in the United States.

The tail is usually not braided (although it is permitted), because it may cause the horse to carry the tail stiffly. Because the tail is an extension of the animal's spine, a supple tail is desirable as it shows the horse is supple through his back. The tail should be "banged," or cut straight across (usually above the fetlocks but below the hocks when held at the point where the horse naturally carries it). The dock is pulled or trimmed to shape it and give the horse a cleaner appearance.

The bridle path is clipped or pulled, usually only 1-2 inches. The animal's coat may or may not be trimmed. American stables almost always trim the muzzle, face, ears, and legs, while European stables do not have such a strict tradition, and may leave different parts untrimmed.

Hoof polish is usually applied before the horse enters the arena. The horse should be impeccably clean, with a bathed coat and sparkling white markings. Foam should not be cleaned off the horse's mouth before he enters the arena.

Quarter marks are sometimes seen, especially in the dressage phase of eventing, however they are not currently in style for competitive dressage.

The rider's clothing
Dressage riders, like their horses, are dressed for formality. In competition, they wear white breeches, that are usually full-seat leather to help them "stick" in the saddle, with a belt, and a white shirt and stock tie with a gold pin. Gloves are usually white, although less-experienced riders or those at the lower levels often opt for black, as their hand movement will not be as noticeable. The coat worn is usually solid black with metal buttons, although solid navy is also occasionally seen. For upper-level classes, the rider should wear a shadbelly with a yellow vest or vest points, rather than a plain dressage coat.

Riders usually wear tall dress boots, although field boots may be worn at the lower levels. Spurs are required to be worn at the upper levels. A whip may optionally be carried, though its length is regulated.

If the dressage rider has long hair, it is typically worn in a hair net. Lower-level riders may use a hunt cap, derby, or helmet with a safety harness. Upper-level riders are required to wear a more formal top hat, matching their coat.


Eventing is an equestrian event which comprises dressage, cross-country and show-jumping. This event has its roots as a comprehensive cavalry test requiring mastery of several types of riding. It has two main formats, the one day event (1DE) and the three day event (3DE). It has previously been known as Militaire, Horse Trials, and Combined Training.Dressage
The dressage phase (held first) comprises an exact sequence of movements ridden in an enclosed arena (usually 20 x 60 meters). The test is judged by one or more judges who are looking for balance, rhythm and suppleness and most importantly, obedience of the horse and its harmony with the rider. The challenge is to demonstrate that a supremely fit horse, capable of completing the cross country phase on time, also has the training to perform in a relaxed and precise manner.

At the highest level of competition, the dressage test may ask for half-pass, shoulder-in, haunches-in, collected, medium and extended gaits, flying changes, and counter-canter. The tests may not ask for Grand Prix movements such as piaffe or passage.

Each movement in the test is scored on a scale from 0 to 10, with a score of "10" being the highest possible mark. Therefore, if one movement is executed terribly, it is still possible for a rider to get a good score if he reorganizes and does well in the following movements. The good marks are added together, minus any errors on course, and rounded to two decimal digits. The scores of all the judges (if more than one judge is present) are averaged to two decimal points. To convert this score to penalty points, the average is subtracted from 100 and the final figure is multiplied by 1.5.

All four feet of the horse exit the arena during the test: Elimination
The horse resists more than 20 seconds during the test: Elimination
Errors on course:
1st Error = minus 2 marks
2nd Error = minus 4 marks
3rd Error = elimination

The next phase, cross-country, requires both horse and rider to be in excellent shape and to be brave and trusting of each other. This phase consists of approximately 12-20 fences (lower levels), 30-40 at the higher levels, placed on a long outdoor circuit. These fences consist of very solidly built natural objects (telephone poles, stone walls, etc.) as well as various obstacles such as ponds and streams, ditches, drops and banks - based on objects that would commonly occur in the countryside. This phase is timed, with the rider required to cross the finish line within a certain time frame (optimum time). Crossing the finish line after the allowed time results in penalties for each second late. At lower levels, there is a speed fault time, incuring penalties for horse and rider pairs completing the course too quickly. Penalties are also incurred if the horse refuses to jump a fence or if the rider falls off. The penalties for disobendiences on cross country are weighted severely relative to the other phases of competition to emphasize the importance of courage, endurance and athleticism. Fitness is required as the time allowed will require a strong canter at the lower levels, all the way to a strong gallop at the higher events.

Horse trials, which may be held over one or two days, have only one phase of cross country. If the trial is held over the course of two days, dressage and show jumping are usually held the first day, with cross country on the second.

Recent years has seen the controversy of short and long format three day events. Traditionally, three day events had dressage, endurance and show jumping. Endurance day consists of 4 Phases, A, B, C and D. Phase A and C are roads and tracks, with A being a medium paced warm up to prepare the horse and rider for Phase B, a steeplechase format at an extremely fast pace over steeplechase-style fences. Phase C is a slow paced cool down coming off of Phase B, in preparation for the toughest and most demanding phase, D, or Cross Country. Before embarking on Phase D, in the "ten-minute box," horses must be approved to continue by a vet who monitors their temperature and heartrate, ensuring that the horse is sound and fit.

Three day events are now offered in traditional format, with endurance day, or short-format, with no Steeplechasing (Phase B). Short format offers a shortened roads and tracks phase as a warm up for cross country. The 2004 Olympic Summer Games in Athens, Greece chose the short format, due to lack of facilities, time and financing, which sparked a large debate in the eventing community whether to keep Steeplechase or just offer Cross Country. International competitions offering the traditional format are rated in level by stars, with one being the lowest level, and four being the highest. CCI* is an international three day event offering Phases A-D at a relatively low level, where CIC*** would be an international three day event not offering steeplechase.


  • Refusal, run-out, or circle at an obstacle: 20 penalties
  • Second Refusal, run-out, circle at the same obstacle: 40 penalties
  • Third Refusal, run-out, circle at the same obstacle: Elimination
  • First fall of rider: 65 penalties
  • Second fall of rider: Elimination
  • Fall of horse (shoulder touches the ground): Mandatory Retirement
  • Exceeding Optimum Time: 0.4 penalties per second
  • Coming in under Speed Fault Time: 0.4 penalties per second
  • Exceeding the Time Limit (twice the optimum time): Elimination

Other faults:'

  • Competing with improper saddlery: Elimination
  • Jumping without headgear or a properly fastened harness: Elimination
  • Error of course not rectified: Elimination
  • Omission of obstacle: Elimination
  • Jumping an obstacle in the wrong order: Elimination
  • Jumping an obstacle in the wrong direction: Elimination
  • Retaking an obstacle already jumped: Elimination

Before the last phase, horses are inspected by a vet to ensure that they have not incurred any injuries as a result of their exertions on the previous day. It is usually a very formal affair, with the horses braided and well-groomed, and the riders dressing up. It is also a very nerve-racking time, as the "pass" or "fail" determines whether the horse may continue on to the final phase.

The last phase, showjumping, tests the technical jumping skills of the horse and rider, including suppleness, obedience, finess, and athleticism. In this phase, 12-20 fences are set up in a ring. These fences are typically brightly colored and consist of elements that can be knocked down, unlike cross country obstacles. If the horse and rider are not in adequate shape or do not have the technical skill, then they will knock down the poles, incurring penalties. This phase is also timed, with penalties being given for every second over the required time. In addition to normal jumping skills, eventing show jumping tests the fitness and stamina of the horse and rider, generally being held after the cross country phase.


Knocking down an obstacle: 4 penalties
First Disobedience (refusal, run-out, circle): 4 penalties
Second Disobedience in the whole test: 8 penalties
Third Disobedience in the whole test: Elimination
First Fall of rider: 8 Penalties
Second Fall of rider: Elimination
Fall of horse: Mandatory Retirement
Exceeding the time allowed: 1 penalty per second
Jumping an obstacle in the wrong order: Elimination
Error of course not rectified: Elimination
The winner is the horse and rider with the fewest penalties. Ribbons and prizes are usually presented while mounted, before the placegetters take a lap of honour around the arena.


Horse racing is an equestrian sport which has been practiced over the centuries; the chariot races of Roman times are an early example, as is the contest of the steeds of the god Odin and the giant Hrungnir in Norse mythology. It is often inextricably associated with gambling. The common nickname for horse racing is The Sport of Kings.

One of the principal forms of horse racing, which is popular in many parts of the world, is thoroughbred racing. Harness racing is also popular in the eastern United States and more popular than thoroughbred racing in Canada and Europe. Quarter horse and Arabian racing are also popular in the western United States and Florida.

The breeding, training and racing of horses in many countries is now a significant economic activity as, to a greater extent, is the gambling industry which is largely supported by it. Exceptional horses can win millions of dollars and make millions more by providing stud services, such as horse breeding.

In the United Kingdom, there are races which involve obstacles (either hurdles or fences) called National Hunt racing and those which are unobstructed races over a given distance (flat racing). The UK has provided many of the sport's greatest ever jockeys, most notably Gordon Richards. See also United Kingdom horse-racing.

In Ireland, noted for its racing history, the Derby-winning thoroughbred Shergar was kidnapped on February 8, 1983. He has never been found. The multiple Gold Cup winner Best Mate also hails from Ireland, while the great Red Rum was bred there, before moving across the Irish Sea to be trained.

At all official horse races, there is a gambling station, where gamblers can stake money on a horse.

The three most common ways to bet money are: bet to win, bet to place, and bet to show. Bet to win means that you stake money on the horse, and if it comes in first place, the gambler will receive the money. In bet to place, the gambler will stake money on the horse to come in first or second place, and if the horse does, the gambler wins money, but not as much as he would have if he had bet the horse to win. Bet to show means the gambler stakes money on the horse to come in first, second, or third. If the horse does, the gambler wins money, but not as much as they would have if they had bet on the horse to win or to place. In betting to place and betting to show, there is less risk of losing money.

In the UK and Europe, betting to show is less commonplace since the number of "payout places" varies depending on the size of the field that takes part in the race. For example, in a race with seven or less runners in the UK, only the first two finishers would be considered winning bets with most bookmakers. Three places are paid for eight or more runners, whilst 14 runners or more will see the first four places being classed as "placed". Betting to place takes on a different meaning in the UK and Europe for this reason. In the US a place bet would only pay out if the horse in question finished first or second, whilst in the UK, a place bet would be deemed a winner based on the aforementioned criteria.

The term "Each Way" bet is used across the globe, but again has a different meaning depending on your location. An each way (or E/W) bet sees your total bet being split in two, with half being placed on the win, and half on the place. US bettors would only see a payout for a first or second place finish with this type of bet, whilst European and British bettors (or "punters") would receive a payout if the horse either wins, or is placed based on the place criteria as stated above. Most UK bookmakers cut the odds considerably for an each bet, offering the full odds if the horse wins but only a third, a quarter or a fifth of the odds if only the place section of the bet is successful.




Therapeutic horseback riding is an alternative therapy for individuals with a range of physical, emotional, cognitive, and social special needs. There are several different kinds of programs that utilize horses and horseback riding for therapeutic benefits. Sometimes referred to as equine assisted therapy, therapeutic riding is usually most effective in children because of the nature of mental, physical and social development. However, equine assisted therapy produces very favorable improvements in riders of all ages. There are hundreds of programs around the world as well many organizations dedicated to the various forms of equine assisted therapy. "Therapeutic riding" refers specifically to horseback riding lessons for people with special needs in which the therapeutic benefits of riding are a result of learning riding skills. Other forms of equine assisted therapy include hippotherapy, in which a certified therapist uses the horse as a therapeutic tool, and equine facilitated psychotherapy in which a certified mental health professional utilizes the horse in various ways for therapeutic benefit. Therapeutic riding is sometimes considered a form of animal assisted therapy. As with canine assisted therapy and dolphin therapy, the contact with another living being and the special bond people form with animals is used as a therapeutic tool. However, horses provide more than just skills acquired from a relationship with an animal or learning to care for an animal. Riding a horse provides a unique and often profound therapy for many people. The motion of the horse, concentration needed to require riding skills and communication between therapist/instructor and rider allows people with a variety of disabilities to benefit from riding. Riding, like many other alternative therapies, can also be considered a form of recreational therapy. That is, because riding is an enjoyable activity for many people, therapeutic riding is also used as a quality of life therapy for people with degenerative diseases as well as a 'fun therapy' for children and adults alike. Riding is a rapidly growing field with much diversification. Although it is termed 'alternative,' horseback riding has been recognized by many medical professionals and therapists as a very effective therapy for just about anyone.

Horse Drawn Vehicles

Throughout history and before, there has been a huge number of types of horse-drawn vehicle. A hundred years ago, every schoolboy would have been able to recognize and name dozens of them but now, they are largely replaced by motor vehicles. However, many have their respective Wikipedia article and this one is intended as an index to those. The links are listed together with a brief summary which may be a little longer where the separate article does not yet exist.

A cart was a two-wheeled vehicle. It often went with a qualifying name according to its intended use. It came in two forms; un-sprung - sturdy and load carrying and sprung - light and usually, primarily for carrying people.
An Ambulance had much the same purpose as the modern one. Details of the design varied but would be a lightly-built and well-sprung, enclosed vehicle with provision for seated casualties and stretchers.
A Barouche is an elegant, high-slung, open carriage with a seat in the rear of the body and a raised bench at the front for the driver, a servant.

Farm Work

The plough (American spelling: plow) is a tool used in farming for initial cultivation of soil in preparation for sowing seed or planting. Ploughs are also used by industry underseas, for the laying of cables, as well as preparing the earth for side-scan sonar in a process used in oil exploration.

The plough can be regarded as a development of the pick, or of the spade. Ploughs were initially pulled by humans, later by oxen, and later still in some countries, by horses. Modern ploughs are, in industrialized countries, powered by tractors.

Ploughing has several beneficial effects. The major reason for ploughing is to turn over the upper layer of the soil. This may also incorporate the residue from the previous crop into the soil. Ploughing reduces the prevalence of weeds in the fields, and makes the soil more porous, easing later planting. Excessively deep ploughing or digging brings up subsoil and mixes subsoil with topsoil. This can damage the soil.

The early German word before sound-shift is plug and in Old Prussian plugis. After the German sound shift (p = pf) it became the modern German word Pflug.

Pulling Barge Boats

 narrowboat or narrow boat is a characteristically narrow (and usually long in comparison) boat of a distinctive design, most commonly used on the canals in the British Isles.
 the context of British Inland Waterways, "narrow boat" refers to the original working boats built in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries for carrying goods on the narrow canals (where locks and bridge holes would have a maximum width of 7 feet) built in the English midlands during the industrial revolution. The term is extended to modern "narrowboats" used as homes and for recreation, whose design is an interpretation of the old boats for modern purposes and modern materialsIt is customary to use the term with a space (narrow boat) when referring to an original boat or a replica, and to omit the space when referring to a modern boat used for leisure or as a residence.

Although some narrow boats were built to a design based on river barges, it is incorrect to refer to a narrowboat (or narrow boat) as a barge. In the context of the British inland waterways, a barge is usually a much wider, cargo-carrying boat or a modern boat modelled on one, certainly more than 7 feet wide (actually up to 14ft wide).

It is incorrect (or at least will invite scorn) to refer to a narrowboat as a longboat, although this name was sometimes used in the midlands in working-boat days. It is common to ridicule the use of the term longboat by commenting that the speaker has suggested that Vikings have re-invaded Britain via the Trent and Mersey Canal! However, it should be noted that: (a) the Vikings did in fact invade England via the rivers; (b) they did so in longships, not longboats (which were a type of ship's rowing/sail boat used until the 19th century).

Usage has not quite settled down as regards (a) boats based on narrowboat design, but too wide for narrow canals ; or (b) boats the same width as narrowboats but based on other types of boat. To many ears, "Wide-beam narrowboat" and "Dutch-Barge-style narrowboat" are both terms which jar.

The first working narrow boats played a key part in the economic changes accompanying the British Industrial Revolution. They were wooden boats drawn by a horse walking on the canal towpath led by a crew member, often a child. Narrowboats were chiefly designed for carrying cargo, though there were some packet boats, carrying passengers, letters, and parcels.

Boatmen's families originally lived ashore, but in the 1830s as canals started to feel competition from the new railways, the familes took up home afloat - partly because they could no longer afford rents, partly to provide extra hands to work the boats harder, faster and further, and partly to keep families together.

The rear portion of the boat became the cosy "boatman's cabin", familiar from picture postcards and museums, famous for its space-saving ingenuity and for its interior made attractive by a warm stove, a steaming kettle, gleaming brass, fancy lace, painted houswares, and decorated plates. Although such descriptions rarely consider the actual comfort of a large family working an extremely hard and long day, and sleeping in the one tiny cabin, it is no doubt true that at the time there were many workers in harder, indoor, trades with less healthy conditions and worse accommodation where the family were separated for long hours rather than being together all day. Nonetheless it was impossible for such mobile families to send their children to school, and most boat people remained illiterate and ostracised by those living 'on the bank'.


Lancashire Constabulary is the Home Office police force responsible for policing the ceremonial county of Lancashire in the North West England.

The force's headquarters are at Hutton, in the city of Preston. The force has over 3,000 officers as well as 500 Police Community Support Officers. The routine patrol officer is not armed but does carry a baton, a CS spray, and handcuffs. All officers and civilian members of staff are required to wear a stab proof vest when on duty and "not in an office environment"; most choose to wear their vest at all times.

Although officers are not routinely armed, Lancashire has several Armed Response Teams carrying G36 assault rifles, Glock pistols and Taser guns. The force also has a Eurocopter helicopter based at BAE Warton, near Preston.

The force is split into eight divisions, six geographical and two tactical. However, the split is approximate, and divisions are deliberately vague, giving a seamless approach to policing in the Lancashire area. The geographical divisions and their headquarters are as follows:

Northern - Lancaster (B Division)
Western - Blackpool (A Division)
Central - Preston
Southern - Leyland
Eastern - Blackburn (E Division)
Pennine - Burnley
The remaining two tactical divisions, labelled only "G" and "T", are based at the force headquarters in Preston.

Under proposals made by the Home Secretary on February 6, 2006, it was to have be merged with Cumbria Constabulary. These were accepted by both forces on February 25, and the merger would have taken place on April 1, 2007.[1]. However, in July 2006, both Cumbria and Lancashire Constabularies decided not to proceed with the merger, due to difficulties over funding and start-up costs.

Other Uses For Horses


Milk Round










Pleasure Riding

The Equine

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