The Origins of Equestrian
Equestrian is the proper term that encompasses all things related to the many different forms and functions surrounding horseback riding. This could mean English riding, Western riding, dressage, jumping and flat out horseback racing. Humans and horses have a long and storied history – a deeply intertwined relationship. Without the horse, modern man does not achieve the status he holds today. Since the first wild horses were “broken” or domesticated proper – they have been involved in industry, recreation, art and religious duties, utilized as a mode of improved transportation and finally integrated into human competitive sporting undertakings. Also, as really good friends. It could be arguably stated that the horse is the most important animal ally the human being has ever encountered. Or has been lucky to encounter…
Equestrian as we know it today first emerged in the modern iteration of the sport during the Olympics in the year 1900. The three main categories that are recognized today were established a little more than a decade after this and are as forth – dressage, show jumping and “combined training” or Eventing for short. These are universally recognized categories and are governed by the FEI or International Federation for Equestrian Sports. Dressage is a form of horse showing where the deep, masterful training of the animal is put on display. The key in this discipline is the unwavering ability of the animal to perform tasks and movements upon the immediate request of the rider without any impulse to act on its own recognizance. To run free and to be disobedient is to be a poor dressage horse. The bond between man and beast is paramount and on display at all times. Show jumping is just what it sounds like. There is a judged, timed event where the horses and athletes will complete obstacles as the rider instructs without error or without the animal actually refusing to attempt the obstacle. Again, as it is with dressage, the deep bond between the horse and the rider is on display. “Combined training” or Eventing, is an amalgamation of various parts of the aforementioned disciplines. Eventing takes into account everything the horse and rider can muster – training, jumping, animal husbandry, the relationship between the man and beast. In short – it is a deep test of all the aspects of placing human beings in direct contact with a horse. It’s a fantastic display of the way we depend on one another as different species. And how we all choose to interact with each other…
Training for Equestrian
This is a tough sport. Hands down. You are not only responsible for your physical well being, you are responsible for your horse. Your partner. If your trusty steed has been neglected in any way the both of you will suffer the repercussions. An elite equestrian athlete will be mindful of both parties’ posture, mood, stability and limitations (both physically and mentally). The general responsibility of animal husbandry will dictate the equestrian athlete’s training to start. Taking care of large animals with their own complex cognitive abilities will push the dedicated equestrian athlete outside of their comfort zone. The dedicated athlete will spend a copious amount of time with their horse. Cleaning stalls, feedings, grooming and perhaps most critically bonding. This will provide the athlete with a good chunk of training (ever been on a farm?!?). It’s important to note that with equestrian that this is not an individual sport. This is a team sport, with a different species. Just getting to the point where one can compete will take a spirited, significant effort. Of course the athlete will have to build leg strength, ability and agility but that is not the main focus of this ancient dance. The athlete must bond with a magnificent animal that – at some times – will be quite cantankerous. This sport is about having oneself together and then being willing and able to commit to letting another being take the reigns… (How’s that for an analogy?)
How Does VitaGaming play into this?
We can help. Anyone who has been around horses – or large animals in general – knows it takes a certain level of acumen. They will test you. Early and often. If you are not ready to get in the stables – in the chutes – in the barrel races, they’ll know. Call it intuition. For this reason, we recommend ‘Brain Tech’ for athletes focused on equestrian (or farming/ranching/animal husbandry in general). ‘Brain Tech’ optimizes nerve function for learning and memory and includes nootropics and adaptogens to boost brain function to help with mental energy, mood balance and task performance. It will also help the mind cope with mental fatigue and burnout. The horse is a fine animal and very intelligent. Aware and sensitive to the surroundings. In tune. Perhaps more than the human athletes at times. Equestrian is an ancient and respected form of sport. If horses could speak they would tell us more than we could ever know about them. Do your best to listen. Game on! Good luck.