An Inside Look at Vaulting’s Compulsory Movements

April 7th, 2014 9:30 AM | Comments Off on An Inside Look at Vaulting’s Compulsory Movements

Hello again!

Now that I have some time before the next competition in southern California, I thought some of you may be thinking “What the heck are these Compulsories you speak of?”  or “How does the Technical Test work?”.  Well, wonder no longer for here is an inside look at how vaulting works!

For today I thought I’d cover the compulsories; the 7 basic exercises that every vaulter performs in the first round of any competition.  They are judged out of ten points and are the building blocks of nearly every other move!  It’s these 7 moves that you learn when you first start vaulting.  The moves are as follows: Basic Seat, Flag, Mill, First half of Scissors, Second half of Scissors, Stand, and Flank Dismount.

  • The Basic seat is exactly what it sounds like, you just sit (correctly and with good posture) on the horse with your arms outstretched to the side at eye level. This is held for a count of four canter strides as are all static compulsory exercises.


  • For the Flag, you must begin is a “box” position on your hands and knees and extend your left arm and right leg until you achieve and hold the proper stretched position.


  • The Mill is actually what many riding instructors teach students to become more at ease on horseback; a series of leg passes (lifting your leg and placing it on the other side of the horse) in a counter clockwise direction so that you eventually complete a 360 degree rotation all while keeping a four canter stride rhythm for each leg.


  • Scissors used to be scored as one move being the average of the two halves.  It’s now judged as two separate moves: Forward and Reverse scissors.  In the Forward Scissors, the goal is to swing from a sitting position to a handstand while turning your body and legs just before the highest point, then ending sitting backwards.  The second half involves swinging your legs and hips up in front of you and turning towards to your right as you reach the highest point, ending sitting forwards again!


  • Stand.  Ladies and gentlemen, it doesn’t get much more fun than this; you’re standing on a horse!  The same posture rules apply here as they do in the basic seat however.  This is a major building block for many advanced freestyle moves like standing backwards!


  • The Flank Dismount; you made it, you’re almost done!  In this, scissors-like exercise, one must swing up to a handstand as if performing a first half scissors, but bring both legs to the left so as to sit sideways.  You then “mill” your right leg back over so you’re sitting forward again then swing to handstand again and push off at the highest point to land behind and slightly to the right of the horse.


So there you have it!  You know are an expert in compulsory technique and you’ll know what to look for when you come to a competition, be it a selection trial, or the World Equestrian Games!

Questions, comments?  Feel free to ask away and I’ll do my best to answer any queries you may have!

Next time I’ll go over the infamous Technical Test!

Until next time, Kristian Roberts.

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