sport

Gymnastics on Horseback

Horseriding is fun – alright. But you know what’s always more fun? Bringing a friend.

mangia minga - gymnastics on horseback, team RVC Gilching Junior 1

As a kid, my mum always wanted my brother and me to do some sort of club sport. Swimming, taekwondo, tennis – I’ve tried them all. Until I came across equestrian vaulting and got hooked.
Whenever I told people about what sport I did. most of them must have pictured show jumping, pole vaulting or gymnastics on a pommel horse. The description “gymnastics on the back of a cantering horse” usually triggered a response like “Oh, like in a circus?”.

mangia minga - gymnastics on horseback, team RVC Gilching 2

Once I retired from my (not extremely stellar) vaulting career, within two weeks I joined the local softball club (again a sport that in Germany triggeres puzzled faces). Incidentally, our team of maybe 12 girls we sported three vaulting veterans!

Last weekend, after years of absence from vaulting competitions, one of these lovely ladies and I decided to dip our toes into an arena again. So we headed out to Vaterstetten where the regional championships for Upper Bavaria (Oberbayern) were held. It was a weird feeling, recognizing some of the same old faces that have been around the scene forever; or the little girls I used to coach when they were barely in elemantary school and now are approaching the other side of puberty.

The sport has come a long way even in the past few years. The team freestyles have become a lot more technically challenging, more dynamic, diverse and creative. And the leotards finally boast all those beautifully vibrant colours that make photographing them so much fun!

mangia minga - gymnastics on horseback, team VV Ingelsberg 1

mangia minga - gymnastics on horseback, team RVC Gilching 1

mangia minga - gymnastics on horseback, team RVC Gilching 2

Curious? Bavarian competition dates are posted on Voltigieren Bayern and there’s plenty of clubs that run classes for children age 4 and up, like my old club in Weßling. But it’s not only Germans that vault, many countries have national organisations, like the American AVA.

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