@Thoroughbred1201 - I am totally sending you a PM … dying to know which club! Although, I am sorry to hear that they are not good neighbors in the stables. Sounds to me like it’s an issue with that particular culture and supervision?
Yes, vaulters are CONSTANTLY conditioning and stretching. They tend to be very good riders due to core strength and body control (one of our ex-vaulters won the state dressage young rider championships for 2nd level at 14, one from a different club was in the US Pony Championships and was in a COTH article, etc.) LOL - I digress. The vaulters need to give the horse lots of breaks, so that’s built in.
The relationship with the horse is key, it’s just not very easy to see. I mean, do you still remember your favorite school/lesson horse from way back when?
Here are a couple of videos featuring 1) Kristina Boe, the world champion from Germany (who is also a medical doctor) and 2) Jamie Hocking, a really cool vaulter from Australia. If you have the time, please take a look. Jamie’s video features one of the best lungers in the world. When he talks about training the horse, he talks about “adding pressure” which means taking the horse to these super-electric environments with jumbotrons and cheering crowds, and then going back to little local shows.
Both videos feature the vaulters (independently) talking about how the relationship with the horse allows them to TRUST the horse, which in turn allows them to do these actually pretty dangerous moves.
@MHM - the holy grail of lunging is a 20-meter circle. Smaller than that, it will be reflected in the horse score. Bigger than that, a little bit OK, too much and it will be reflected in the score.
@Hilary - the lunger/horse are typically a team. The person lunging MUST know and have a total relationship with the horse. There can be multiple people with that relationship, but each person will have put in hours building that relationship. You’ll notice that none of the highest finishing vaulters were using borrowed horses. It’s something that is done in the sport but doesn’t allow for that level of trust that a longer relationship allows.