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The Ride of a Lifetime: Equestrian Vaulting



The Ride of a Lifetime: Equestrian Vaulting
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.79

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    compulsory, disposition, flank, regimen, somersaulted, temperament, vaulted, vaulters, execute, coordination, effortless, fresco, successful, unique, lunge, concentrate
     content words:    Middle Ages, Olympic Games, Federation Equestre Internationale, World Vaulting Championships, World Vaulting Championship, Czech Republic, United States


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The Ride of a Lifetime: Equestrian Vaulting
By Colleen Messina
  

1     Most athletes like to concentrate on one sport. People who love horseback riding must practice for years to master it. Gymnasts and dancers also work long hours perfecting their skill. Imagine how much effort it would take to perform all three sports at the same time! The bold and graceful competitors in equestrian vaulting do just that. They love the challenge and the wonderful bond they share with their horses. They think that equestrian vaulting gives them the ride of their lives.
 
2     Equestrian vaulting is not new. It has been around for over 2,000 years. Some people think that this sport has its roots in ancient Crete. Their "bull dancers" rode wild bulls and performed athletic feats on them. One fresco in the palace at Knossos showed an acrobat grabbing a bull's horns as the animal charged him. The acrobat then somersaulted onto the bull's back and jumped off. Now that was a wild ride!
 
3     Many civilizations continued the tradition of vaulting in different ways. One creative general in ancient Greece used vaulting in his training regimen. The soldiers "vaulted" onto their horses using their lances. They looked like pole vaulters except that they ended up on a horse's back instead of flying over a horizontal pole. Vaulting continued during the Middle Ages when knights and noblemen enjoyed its challenges. Each culture added its own twists to vaulting.

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