English Riding is a traditional riding brought over from Europe. It is broken into many different disciplines. We focus on the three main ones that are in the Olympics: Dressage, Hunter/Jumpers, and Eventing.
Known as ballet on horse back, dressage is all about getting you and horse attuned with each other to preform a series of flat work movements in the arena. The horse and rider work together to maintain a balance of discipline and energy, in what we call roundness. At the beginning levels, these movements are made up of a pattern of circles and lines across the arena in walk, trot, and canter.
The thrill of the jump! Hunters is jumping at a low level of jump, less than 3'6", where the horse and rider do a course made up of lines and diagonals in the arena. The judge looks for an even tempo, clear fences, and a round that looks like their four-year-old granddaughter could ride.
Jumpers is almost the opposite of hunters. It's all about how fast and how high you can jump without knocking the rails down. This is a fast pace, quick turning, blood pumping discipline.
I want to do it all! Eventing is a marriage of Dressage, Hunter/Jumpers, and an outdoor jumping course, known as cross country. You start with your dressage round first, then you do a jumping round, which at low levels is like hunters and at high levels is like jumpers. At the end, is a cross country course of jumps through the woods made of logs, ponds, and creative woodland jumps. Usually these shows are over three days, but there are a few that happen all in one day known as horse trials.