The Roots of Equestrian Sport

This article highlights why we braid, mount on the left side, and ride dressage: how history dictates the modern horse sport tradition.

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By: Jessica Lefroy |

Many customs observed in modern horse sport are steeped in tradition born of practicality, as elucidated in this Horse Sport article.

The military use of horses, for example, gave rise to common practices such as mounting from the left and training manes to the right, both of which facilitated the use of swords by mounted troops. Classical dressage also has its roots on the battlefield, as being able to harness and shape the horse’s natural movements provided a major strategic advantage over those fighting on foot.

Today’s hunter discipline harkens back to foxhunting, which started in the 16th century as a method of pest control for landowners. Field hunters needed the ability to jump natural obstacles and travel tirelessly for hours, hence the energy-saving, flat-kneed movement still prized in the show ring today. Hunter turnout and even the braiding of manes and tails all originated out of necessity.

To read more, go to: https://horsesport.com/magazine_articles/history-behind-equestrian-sport-customs