Bust Boredom With These Unusual Horse Sports

You'll love these atypical equine pursuits.
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A horse-and-rider pair takes a jump during the unusual horse sport of working equitation.

An unusual horse sport that came to the United States from Europe is working equitation, whose competitive obstacle portion may include jumping. 

Looking for something different and exciting to try in 2019? An out-of-the-box equine activity to add to your repertoire, or a new-to-you equestrian sport to pursue in earnest? 

Well, have a look right here. We’ve rounded up a sampling of unusual horse sports that are popular today. Check them out and, if spirit moves you, give one or more a try.

Equicaching. For sheer novelty, it’s hard to beat this activity--essentially a treasure hunt on horseback. All you need is a willing horse, a handheld GPS unit, and some likeminded friends eager for a high-tech hide-and-seek. Learn more here.

Working equitation. Combine Western dressage, a speed event, a trail class, working-ranch chores…and what do you get? This fantastic sport from Europe, now gaining fans in the U.S. Learn what it’s about here, watch it in action here, then try a small piece of it with this exercise. Olé!

Extreme mountain trail. Love the concept of you and your horse pitted against whatever Nature can dish out? Consider this challenging real-world trail event, which boasts courses that look like equestrian amusement parks. In a word, fun. Read up on it here, then learn how you can begin to prepare for extreme trail challenges here.

Mounted search-’n-rescue. Prefer to put your horsemanship to use in helping others? Join your local mounted search-and-rescue unit. Learn what will be required of your horse here, and find state-by-state listings of mounted units here.

Mounted shooting. Are you a pistol-packing cowboy or -girl at heart? This event lets you play the part in a safe, skills-boosting environment. Learn the sport’s nuts and bolts here, review a beginner’s how-to exercise, then watch a video of mounted shooting in action—and prepare to be thrilled.

Equine agility. Interested in groundwork that’s as competitive as it gets? Try this sport, where you guide your horse in hand (or at liberty!) through a series of obstacles with as much speed, precision, and willingness as possible. Think dog agility, only with your horse. And the bonus is fabulous basic training that will carry over to under-saddle time. Learn more here.

STILL SHOPPING AROUND? CHECK OUT MORE:

Horse camping.

Riding in a clinic.

Western dressage.

Extreme cowboy racing.

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