If you've been inspired by the vaulting at the FEI European Championships in Aachen and are keen to give it a go, then take a look at these top tips
It may have been the thick end of 20 years since Horse & Hound’s Pippa Roome wore leggings in public, and her lack of flexibility may have been the despair of her gym teacher — but she was still game to take up the challenge of giving vaulting a go.
If you’re considering donning the Lycra too, take a look at Pippa’s top tips for making the most out of your first session.
Pippa’s 9 tips for first-time vaulters
1. A basic level of fitness will help you get the most out of your session — there is likely to be a physical warm-up including a short run and stretches and you don’t want to be exhausted before you get near the horse.
2. Wear tight-fitting, stretchy clothing so that you can move around easily, but nothing which is loose and could get caught. Leggings are ideal, with perhaps a long-sleeved T-shirt as your base on top. Dress in layers as you are likely to be cold initially, depending on the weather, but you will warm up quickly and want to strip off.
3. Hair should also be neatly tied up to avoid anything becoming tangled.
Great Britain's vaulters picked up a host of top 10 finishes at the FEI European Championships in Aachen (20-23 August)
4. Ballet shoes or light pumps are ideal footwear — remember, it’s highly possible you will catch another vaulter in the face with your foot, so you don’t want anything clumpy. If you think your shoes might fall off, tie or sew two lengths of elastic into loops and slip them on over your shoes.
5. Take another pair of shoes or boots to wear on the yard before and after your session.
6. Leave your hang-ups about personal space at home. You’ll need to get close to other vaulters — and you’ll be happy if they grab you if you get a bit wobbly. Similarly, you’ll need to be comfortable hanging onto other people.
7. Be brave. Letting go with both hands while kneeling or standing on a moving horse sounds daunting, but your confidence will grow quickly and you will get more out of the experience if you take the plunge.
8. Remember, you’re not riding the horse. Controlling his speed and pace is the lunger’s job, not the vaulter’s. Try to refrain from kicking him on or clicking if he gets a little lazy.
9. Point your toes! The only real difference between a standard riding position and the vaulting basic seat is that the toes point downwards rather than the heels being the lowest point.
Keen to give vaulting a go?
Contact Julie Newell on 07976 421789 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a two-hour session for £15.