Free vaulting lessons for an introductory period at Legacy Equestrian Centre
Pictures on this page by Paul Townsend

Vaulting and Gymnastics on Horseback

Legacy Equestrian Centre now offers a vaulting program. We have a large indoor arena available for all the fun.

NO horseback riding experience or gymnastics experience is required!

FREE for an introductory period!

  • Horse and equipment will be provided.
  • Please wear runners and bring a hard hat, or bicycle helmet, if you have one.
  • Call to confirm attendance. (902) 644 - 2555
  • Please bring a completed waiver. Click Here for waiver.

Click Here to see more vaulting photos

Vaulting Lessons available at Legacy EquestrianWhat is Vaulting?

Vaulting is a rapidly growing sport which can best be described as ‘gymnastics on a moving horse’. The horse is controlled by a lunger and moves in a 15 metre circle. Most exercises are performed at canter, although practising difficult manoeuvres and some fun classes are done at walk.
The horse wears a bridle, (with the lunge line usually attached direct to the inside bit ring), and a specially designed roller with two large handles either side of the withers. The roller is used to keep a large back pad in position and the handles enable the vaulters to mount and carry out various exercises on the horse with a great feeling of security.

With a qualified teacher and lunger, vaulting helps build up balance and confidence on the horse, as well as general athletic ability. You don’t need to be able to ride to vault, but vaulting can greatly improve your riding skills.


Vaulting is an all year round sport, an indoor or outdoor arena is used for working on the horse (depending on the weather), along side the barrel or ‘practice horse’. In very bad weather a lot of work can be done on the barrel and in the gym. Barrel competitions are held in the winter when working with the horses may be slightly curtailed.
All vaulters have the opportunity to be involved with the care of the horse, without the responsibility or expense of owning one. A monthly subscription is paid to the vaulting club and the cost of tuition and caring for the horse is shared by the group.
Being part of a vaulting group is a lot of fun. With the use of music vaulters can work as a team, but there is also the opportunity for vaulters to perform individually as well as pairs or trios.
At competitions there is often a fun Fancy Dress class as well!

A Brief History of Vaulting

Vaulting and horseback gymnastics at Legacy Equestrian Center in Nova ScotiaThe earliest root of vaulting date back until the Pre-Romanic Ice Period in South Scandinavia in 1500 BC . Stone paintings give an impression what these people thought of “Artistic Riding”. These pictures depict horses with persons standing on them.

Others see roots in the bull dancers of ancient Crete. Even in the Classical Olympics in Greece “Artistic Riding” was part of the competitions.

Also there was vaulting at Roman games, people where performing acrobatic and dance-like movements on the backs of cantering horses about 2000 years ago. Julius Cäsar mentioned the excellent riding skills of the Germans in his famos “De Bello Gallico”.

During the Middle Ages vaulting was part of the education of knights and noblemen. In Baroque Times this kind of sport was more regarded as a means of expressing personal wealth and good taste. The present name of the sport comes from the French “La Voltige” during this period.

Every graduate from a higher military education in cavalry troops regarded vaulting as a prephase for an advanced equestrian education. They were already familiar to the so called “wooden horse” for training purposes. In our days vaulters use a “vaulting barrel” to practise the movements they will perform on the horse.

Vaulting was included as “Artistic Riding” by cavalry officers in the Olympic Games 1920 in Antwerpen. The team gold medalist was Belgium followed by France and Sweden.

Modern vaulting, much as is practiced today, was developed in postwar Germany as a means of introducing children to equestrian sports. In the sixties vaulting moved to the neighburing countries and to the United States.

In 1983, vaulting became one of the equestrian disciplines recognised by the FEI. The first European Championships took place 1984 in Ebreichsdorf, Austria and the first World Championships 1986 in Bulle, Switzerland.


Vaulting Photographs
Pictures on this page by Paul Townsend