Welcome to Vaulting

Vaulting is a youthful, theatrical discipline in which athletes perform on the back of a cantering horse. As such, it demands an outstanding physical condition from the vaulter, a harmonious relationship with the horse, and first-class teamwork.

Vaulting exercises include artistic mounts and dismounts, shoulder stands and handstands on the horse, carrying or lifting another vaulter, and kneeling and standing exercises. The horse is guided on a long rein by a lunger standing on the ground who ensures that a steady canter is maintained on a circle with a minimum diameter of 15 metres.

The discipline dates back to Greek and Roman times when soldiers – without stirrups and saddles – practised vaulting movements as part of their military training. Vaulters compete together on teams – no more than three may be on a horse at any one time – or in individual competitions which, unlike in all other equestrian disciplines, are separate for males and females. There are also pairs competitions, or pas-de-deux.

Vaulting made a fleeting appearance at the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp, Belgium as ‘Artistic Riding’ but the premier Vaulting competitions today are staged at the FEI World Equestrian Games™, the FEI World Cup™ Vaulting series and continental Championships.

Latest Department Updates

  • 7 Dec 2021
    FEI Vaulting - Side reins study

    The FEI is pleased to inform you of the launch of a study on the use of side-reins and draw reins in Vaulting, in partnership with the IFCE and the FFE.

    The IFCE, with the support of the FEI and the FFE, will organise different testing sessions in Europe on a series of different side and draw reins. The objective and the goal are to measure side and draw rein tensions, to define factors to ensure appropriate use of equipment for the welfare and well-being of the Vaulting Horse, as well as safety of the Vaulters.

    The study will be conducted on horses of international level with FEI level competing Vaulters performing a set number of Vaulting exercises. Data on the pressure on the side reins will be collected as well as data on the locomotion and well-being of the horse.

    The study will be conducted during 2022 and the findings will be available in Spring 2023.

    The study will include the following factors:

    • The effect of the Vaulter and exercises on the locomotion and well-being of the horse will be evaluated.
    • The locomotion data will be completed by the scoring of Vaulting judges.
    • The objective data collected will be complemented by the perceptions collected from the Lunger and Vaulter
    • An FEI Veterinary will be on site to check the condition of the horses and more specifically their mouths before and after the tests.
    • Results will be dealt with anonymously.

    A clear protocol has been established for the horses and the Vaulters (details can be shared upon request):

    • Horses and Vaulters of International level.
    • 6 side and draw reins to be tested, 3 each day.
    • Randomised order for the 6 reins, with or without vaulter, but each of them will be tested with and without Vaulter.
    • The Vaulter will be asked in advance to learn the exercises they will have to perform on the horse, the same for each of the horses. This is part of the consent form to be signed in advance by the Vaulter and lunger.
    • After each test, the lunger and the Vaulter will be asked to complete a questionnaire to report their perceptions.
    • End of spring 2022, all videos of the testing sessions will be sent to the 3 selected FEI Judges to score each horse in line with FEI rules and Guidelines. The lunger and Vaulter will be blurred in the videos.
    • The final results will be available in spring 2023.

    Organising a testing session:

    • Good Wi-Fi connexion and/or high 4G signal
    • Two days of testing.
    • Ideally in winter 2022.
    • 7 to 10 horses of international level / the Vaulter can perform on more than one horse.
    • Reserved Indoor arena for the session – can be organised in two half days if needed.
    • The environment should be as quiet as possible during the testing phase.
    • The testing session could be organised together with other training but consideration must be given to the fact that the testing session will take time for each horse.
    • If interested in hosting a testing session please send an email to the FEI Vaulting department and the complete protocol can be sent.




  • 12 Feb 2021
    FEI 2021 Rules Explainer Videos now available on FEI Campus

    The FEI Education & Officials Department have recently published explainer videos for the major FEI Vaulting 2021 Rule changes.

    These videos are mainly aimed at Officials and Athletes who are required to be up-to-date with the different rules. For the wider audience these videos will serve a rather informative purpose, providing a deeper understanding of our sport. The goal of these short videos is to highlight the most impactful rule changes and their rationale in each discipline, as well as more general regulations including the Equine Anti-Doping Controlled Medication Regulations and the Anti-Doping Rules for Human Athletes which underwent a full review in 2020.

    Here are the direct links to the below listed videos on FEI Campus by clicking on the relevant name: