By Madison Vega/NewsBreak Pinal County, AZ
(San Tan Valley, AZ) Gymnastics, acrobatics, and dancing aren’t words you associate with horses, but with equestrian vaulting, you can do it all.
Salt River Vaulters is a non-profit equestrian enterprise that teaches people how to do amazing tricks with horses in the San Tan Valley. It is the only equestrian jumping program in Arizona.
This company also specializes in therapeutic aerobatics for people with disabilities, whether physical or mental.
The mission of this program is “to help individuals pursue their dreams through the art and sport of equestrian vaulting”.
They specialize in helping children, adults and veterans with disabilities. They offer lessons in small groups or private lessons for people with special needs.
Equestrian vaulting combines dance, gymnastics and acrobatics on top of a horse. Before they can jump on the horse, the instructors use a barrel, a fake horse, in order to practice first.
It can be a team sport or an individual sport, depending on the person. There are two different types of freestyle and compulsory competitions. Compulsories consist of a list of movements that each person must follow, regardless of their level.
Freestyle is a one minute choreographed routine created by the rider. While the team freestyle consists of one to three jumpers on the horse at a time, which lasts four minutes.
“In simple terms, equestrian vaulting is gymnastics on horseback. At the basic level, you have a basic set of moves called compulsories and then freestyle that incorporates more creativity,” says Jared Sallus, one of the organization’s instructors.
Even though equestrian jumping consists of difficult movements on a horse, this program explains how you do not need any previous experience in gymnastics or equestrianism.
Sallus said: “We’ve had students who struggle to get out of the house and get dressed and even kids who will just have conversations about the horse. Each student, we set individual goals with the parents to determine what the student would like to get out of the therapeutic aspect. »
Therapeutic aerobatics is a specialty in which Salt River Vaulters teaches people who have mental or physical difficulties in jumping. It is a form of physical therapy that helps people improve their motor skills, balance, coordination and communication.
According to Sallus, “The difference between regular aerobatics and therapeutic aerobatics mainly depends on what the student can do. Many have mobility issues while others have cognitive/behavioral issues.
Since this company is a non-profit organization, it relies on sponsors and donations. If you would like to get involved with this program to donate or learn, you can email them.