Horse based sports
What is it?     What you need     Getting started     Find out more


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What is it?

  • Activities based on horse riding include dressage, jumping, racing, hunting and pony trekking, as well as simple riding for pleasure.  There are also team sports on horseback, such as horseball and polo .

  • More detailed information on these activities can be obtained from the specialist organisations listed below (for polo, see other team sports).  

  • Most of these forms of riding are carried out outdoors.  Ordinary riding, hunting and pony trekking are essentially country activities, though people do ride in parks in larger towns. 

  • Both jumping and dressage often take place in indoor arenas.  They also involve a large element of competition.  

Find out more


British Horse Society
British Show Jumping Association
British Equestrian Federation

British Horseball Association

Nottingham Horseball Club 





Horse Magazine 
H+P (Horse+Pony)
Pony Magazine 
Your Horse

British Dressage 
Horse & Hound

Getting started

  • Find a local riding group or club (see organisations above).

  • See if there are introductory sessions at your local club or riding school..

  • Consult books or magazines on different types of riding and horse-based sports..

  • Check in your local library/paper for more information.

What you need

Skills and people
  • People of all ages and both sexes take part in horse-based sports.  All these activities require a degree of skill in controlling the horse being ridden.  Jumping, dressage and racing are particularly demanding in terms of skill and quality of horse. 

  • You can ride for pleasure on your own, and many people do so.  But others like to ride with friends or family, as a social activity.  Most of the other horse based sports are usually done as part of a group or class of some kind.   

  • People with different degrees of horse skills often ride together, as do those of different ages and both sexes.  For competitive activities, skills and abilities need to be more matched 

Equipment or clothing
  • A horse or pony is an obvious essential for these activities, together with a saddle and other tack for the horse, and a hard protective hat.  

  • The horse and tack can generally be hired by the learner as part of the cost of lessons.  Serious riders usually own their own mounts.

  • Many riders wear special clothing and boots, and these are essential for hunting and the competitive activities.  

A place or facilities
  • Much riding is done in the countryside, on public roads as well as the networks of bridleways and green lanes.  

  • Training for beginners, and for specialist skills like dressage and jumping, is usually done in special outdoor fields or indoor arenas, which are generally privately owned, sometimes by riding schools.  

  • Pony trekking facilities are usually linked to holiday centres of various kinds.  

  • Horse owners need to have or find facilities for stabling, feeding and care of their animals, including shoeing and veterinary services.

Have a go - get started now


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