Equestrian sport includes horseback riding and a variety of disciplines such as Dressage, Show Jumping, Eventing, and others. The Asian Equestrian Federation (AEF) and the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), the worldwide governing organization for equestrian sports, regulate the equestrian events at the Asian Games.
Dressage is commonly referred to as “horse ballet,” in which the horse and rider perform a set of maneuvers. The harmony, precision, and fluidity of the horse’s movements and the rider’s aids are evaluated by the judges.
The horse’s submission, impulsion, and movement precision are critical for scoring. Dressage tests are graded on a sliding scale, with higher levels requiring more intricate moves.
Attire and Equipment
During competitions, riders must wear appropriate clothing, such as breeches, boots, gloves, and helmets. Saddles, bridles, and protective gear such as boots and bell boots are used by horses. Certain equipment is governed by rules that limit its size, kind, and design to ensure the safety and welfare of both horse and rider.
In all equestrian sports, the horse’s wellbeing is of the utmost importance. Horses are inspected by veterinarians to ensure they are fit to compete. There are rules in place to avoid horse cruelty, overuse, and mistreatment.
Showjumping and Eventing
Show jumping is passing a series of fences and jumps without collapsing. Riders are penalized one point for any fence knocked down, refusal, or other mistake. The fastest rider with the fewest mistakes wins.
Eventing is a multi-day competition that involves Dressage, Cross-Country, and Show Jumping. Dressage is performed first, followed by Cross-Country, in which horse and rider must overcome a variety of natural obstacles. Following the Cross-Country phase, Show Jumping is performed to assess the horse’s agility and obedience.
Scoring and Judging
Each discipline has its own judging criteria and scoring system. Judges assess the performance of the horse and rider based on adherence to the required movements and overall execution. Precision, impulsion, obedience, technique, and style are all graded.
To maintain fair and clean competition, equestrian sports have strong anti-doping policies in place. Drug testing of horses and riders is possible, and the use of forbidden substances is prohibited.