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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm not new to horses, so I couldn't put this there, and it's neither English or western riding.
How would an athletic midle school girl go about getting into vaulting? What are some of the things that I could do/learn to help me get to a competing level? I am pretty flexible, and have good balance, but I can't do front handsprings or anything like that. There is a vaulting team across the river, but I feel like I would grow out of them pretty fast, because it is a home operation without a real level of organization. However, I am within 230 miles of several real-deal vaulting teams, that have their own areas. One of which is the third biggest/best team in America. And yes, I understand that is a long ways, but we visit the Area often to see my brother.
 

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I come from a vaulting background - that's how I got started with horses, and I've always had a soft spot for it. I actually prefer it to riding. I actively (competitively) vaulted in the late 80s and 90s in Germany, and then trained my own team of kids for a few years until life got too busy and I stopped...
So bear in mind that since I'm talking about >10 yrs ago, some of the info might not be 100% up to date anymore.

Middle school is already pretty late for starting to vault. I started at 6, and so did most of my teammates. Mind you, back then you could only team vault until 18 and then you either had to to solo / pair, or stop competing altogether (that's when I started getting into training). Nowadays that rule does no longer exist, so you can compete with a team for longer. I always enjoyed the team vaulting more than solo, both cause of the team spirit (I also always loved the age range from little kids <10 up to adults), as well as the more complex figures you can do with three people. So going solo was never really a good option for me.

Flexibility, balance and gymnastic ability is always a plus. I'd say about half of our time was spent with waming up, doing gymnastics on the ground and trying out new figures on the vaulting barrel. It's certainly less "horse time" as a straight riding lesson.

There are basically two different "kinds" of vaulting teams, the play groups who basically offer it as an entry into horse sports (i.e. young kids start out with vaulting and usually "graduate" to riding once they're a big bigger, older and stronger), and the ones who are more serious about competing and stick with it for the sport.
It sounds like you want to become a bit more serious, so I'd approach one of the good teams straight away rather than the one closest to you. Usually, stables that are really serious about vaulting have more than one horse and train vaulters at different levels, so you could start with a lower level group and then work your way up as you get better. So it's not like you start out with their world class team right away. The international level German teams often have 5 or 6 different teams competing at different levels. Just approach them and see what your options are and where you could fit in.
Getting along with your team (if you decide on team vaulting) is very important, so see if you can visit a training session or two and meet the trainer, the horse and the rest of the teammates, and see if it clicks.
Vaulters are generally a very nice and pleasant group of people, since the sport is still pretty small and familiar. Once we started going to clinics and competing, we met the other teams around us pretty quickly. Of course we were competitive at tournaments, but never in a mean way. So just give it a shot and try it out. Hope you'll like it as much as I did :).
 

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Don't assume you would outgrow the abilities of the team close to you before you have tried it. You don't want to get in with the 'real deal' with zero experience, so I would definitely hit up the one close to you and see if you can get some lessons. You'll need to master all of the basics first ANYWAY before you can move up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you both for the great responses. I am going to go to the small one to learn the basics, so if I decide to take it further, I have some background. See, I am already confident on horseback and like to do little tricks. If I didn't have my barrel racing horse who gets a little silly sometimes and would probably bolt out from under me if I tried anything, I would be doing some bigger stuff.

Thank you both again:D
 
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