Mastering horseback riding skills enabled people, such as the Romans, the British and Native Americans, to expand their territories, seek out new food supplies and alter their lifestyles. Today, in modern societies, horseback riding is primarily a sporting or recreational event. Horseracing, rodeos and horseshows bring in spectators to watch the riders. At a horse show, competition events might include jumping or dressage. Dressage is a competition where the rider maneuvers the horse through a series of movements such as trotting, cantering and walking.
People have been riding horses for over 5,000 years, according to scientific discoveries that prove inhabitants from the ancient Asian city of Susa were equestrians.
Historically, horseback riding was credited for bringing about cultural changes, as it allowed people to venture farther and farther from their birthplace.
Horses were not found in ancient North America and Christopher Columbus is credited with bringing the first horses to the American continent from Europe, after 1492.
Initially, horseback riding was a vital skill for the soldier or warrior and a mode of transportation for people in general. Today, horseback riding is seen primarily as recreation and sport.
Horseback riding can be done bareback or by using a saddle. There are different styles of horseback riding today, which include Western and English.
Western and English styles of horseback riding require different saddles, riding equipment, outfits, riding boots and riding posture.
A horse's height is measured in hands, and a saddle (or riding) horse is approximately 14 to 17 hands tall.
- Photo Credit Early riders, circa 1910