Jeanine van der Sluijs works a vaulting routine on horse Wagner PR Saturday

Jeanine van der Sluijs works a vaulting routine on horse Wagner PR Saturday

Vaulters take part in provincials challenge in Ponoka

Equestrian vaulters from Alberta and Saskatchewan converged on Ponoka’s Calnash Ag Event Centre during a provincials challenge.

Equestrian vaulters from Alberta and Saskatchewan converged on Ponoka’s Calnash Ag Event Centre last weekend to take part in their own provincial challenge.

Joanna Head, show committee member for the Alberta Equestrian Vaulting Association, said the sport is relatively young in Canada and clubs are still growing across the country. She said at this level of competition, vaulters who perform a cross between dancing and gymnastics on a moving horse need to get points in Vault Canada events if they want to compete on the international level.

Provincials is the first step to getting to that higher level of competition, said Head. “This is sort of the training level for the international competition.”

She said there has been continued growth in the sport and she says a new club in Airdrie is starting up. Ponoka residents could also join a club in Rocky Mountain House. There are three clubs in Saskatchewan and several in British Columbia as well. Anyone looking to learn more about the sport are recommended to get as much time practicing as possible.

“If they can get to one of the clubs, that’s probably their best option,” explained Head.

She said horse riding skills are not as important as gymnastics and dance skills when it comes to equestrian vaulting. Head advises kids start at ages between seven to eight years, but added there are members who start at the age of three years. “It’s more body co-ordination and preparation type of thing.”