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What are the Different Types of Horseback Riding Styles in English Riding?

What are the Different Types of Horseback Riding Styles in English Riding?

What is English Horse Riding?

English horse riding has been around for many centuries. It originated in Europe and was brought to the United States by migrants. It is considered to be the traditional way of horseback riding. There exists a lot of communication between the rider and the horse.

Types of Horseback Riding

There are various styles of English riding, each with its unique characteristics. The concept of English riding is based on two important methodologies, the jumping techniques, and the precise stepping styles, but the various riding styles, arenas, and obstacles as well, making it even more intriguing. It is further divided into many sub-categories such as:

  • Dressage
  • Endurance riding
  • Eventing
  • Show Jumping
  • Polo


Dressage is the French word for training, is a sport in which the horse and the rider are required to perform predetermined movements. They are then judged on their form, suppleness, and the balance of the horse as well as how well the pair (the rider and the horse) executes them. It is a recognized Olympic sport governed by the FEI.


Endurance Riding

Endurance riding is a distance riding sport wherein the rider and the horse compete over a marked trail. It is more like a human marathon. The rider has to know his or her horse’s capabilities and must travel the distance within a maximum allowed time. They should also have a proper vet record along with that to win.



Eventing is a three-day equestrian triathlon, as referred to often. Beginning with Dressage on the first day followed by Cross-Country and finally ending with Show Jumping on the last day. Only one horse and rider has to compete in all the events throughout the competition. Riders get penalty points throughout the competition and at the end of the three days, the one with the lowest combined score is proclaimed as the winner.


Show Jumping

Show Jumping is a really interesting sport in which the rider and the horse are supposed to jump over fences made to knock down if the horse makes contact with them. The difficulty arises with the increasing heights of these obstacles and the layout of the course. Riders have to complete the course in a given time otherwise they are penalized. They also accumulate penalties for knocking down and refusing an obstacle. The goal is to finish the course in the least time and least penalties. It tests the agility and the obedience of the horse.



Polo is a team sport, both teams consisting of four players. It is played on a large grass field with dimensions of 300 * 160 yards and is divided into six ‘chukkers’ that are of 7 ½ minutes each. The objective of the sport is to score goals against the opposing team by driving a small white plastic or wooden ball into the opposing team’s goalpost using a long- handled mallet.


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