The Roots of Equestrian Sports

The modern horse sport is submerged in tradition and has some interesting origins behind common horseback riding-related customs. The traditional horse-riding sport that we teach at Sagar Equestrian Sports Academy, was first presented to people as a ‘military test’ which evolved into three diverse disciplines – dressage, showjumping and eventing. 

It was first at the 1912 Olympic games that were held in Stockholm, Sweden, that these three basic disciplines of equestrian sports were introduced. Along with these, many basic riding practices were born out of military applications that were put in place for the safety and pragmatism of the mounted troops. 

The Origins

Today, all major equestrian sports can trace their roots as far back as ancient Greece, where ‘dressage’ was established to prepare horses for war and military. Basic Equestrian and Horseback riding were also involved in Olympic Competitions as early as 680 BCE. Chariot races were introduced to the Ancient Olympic Games. 

The sport of Showjumping was derived principally from the 17th & 18th-century steeplechase & foxhunting; whereas eventing was introduced and developed as a way to prepare and test cavalry horses.

The Great Mind behind ‘dressage’


Although there have been so many developments and landmark moments in the 100+ years of history of the Olympic Equestrian Competition, one of the major and most fine pioneering focuses of the sport was to achieve gender equality. It was one of the greatest achievements as an Olympic Sport for the Equestrians to balance gender neutrality and equality.

The Greatest Moments

Horses are usually one of the most unpredictable species & sometimes horses can throw you curve balls; when they do, you will have about a split second to decide how to react. Equestrian Sports help you to construct your reflexes better and faster. Riding horses allows our brain and body to make decisions faster. Rinse and repeat throughout an equestrian career and chances are your reflexes are pretty on point.

Women first competed in equestrian events at the 1952 Olympic Games, and it wasn’t until the 1972 games, that the first woman won individual gold in Equestrian Sports. At a time when men and women were treated very differently in society, it’s interesting that equestrians chose this path of letting both genders compete, which proved to be a great decision as we can witness today.

The popularity of the Sport

The Equestrian Sports started gaining traction and popularity during the great Renaissance era when Romans held pageants to showcase their highly skilled horses. The sport sky-rocketed in popularity when the Spanish Riding School was created in Vienna in 1572.

Fast forwarding it to today, equestrian sports is one of the major sports in the Olympics and World Championships and continues to be practiced primarily in Europe and South Asia. Some of the countries where Equestrian Sports are quite popular are:


  • England
  • Belgium
  • France
  • Denmark
  • Netherlands
  • United States
  • India
  • Russia
  • Sweden 

At Sagar Equestrian Sports Academy, Jaipur, we aim towards providing a nurturing and safe environment for young students & learners so that they can fulfil their dream of reaching the National & International level. 

Contact Us today to get forward with the journey of this historic and traditional sport.