Junior Rider Round Table: What’s the Point of Equitation?

Equitation isn’t in the Olympics, it’s mostly dominated by juniors, and it’s presence at shows is almost exclusively in North America. So, what’s the point of this discipline? We asked a few juniors to weigh in on why equitation is important for riders to study, no matter what their riding goals may be.

Elli – “To teach you the basics. To teach you how to ride the hard jumper courses at a lower level. The jumpers is basically equitation at 1.45m, or at 1.20m or at 1.30m. It’s technical courses with bigger jumps.”

Samantha – “Equitation is invaluable. If you look at the really high level riders, the American riders, and you watch them do jumper courses at the highest level, at the Olympics and the big 1.60 m, they make it look so easy, so flawless. Like McLain Ward for example, his position over every jump is just picture perfect. His line from hands to the bit is picture perfect. That’s really the point of the equitation, it’s to really nail the basic position, nail the basics. You need all of that to jump the big courses, you have to have that to carry over. If you skip it, not to say you can’t do it, but it’s definitely a completely different look and it’s just not going to be as smooth. When you watch the European riders, they are amazing, they are incredible, but it’s a different style. So that’s what it’s great about the American system of riding, that we have this division that we can pass through and really work at the basics. When we get to the higher levels it makes it a lot easier if we have the basics down. It makes it easier to tackle the really difficult courses.”

Claire – “It teaches you the fundamentals. How to have an effective position. When you get to the big stuff, your position does play a factor and how you ride, how technical you are.”

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