What is a Gymkhana
A gymkhana is a series of timed racing events for horses, these events include barrel racing, pole bending, keyhole racing, keg racing and many other variations of timed races and games. These events highlight the controlled movements and teamwork between the rider and horse to complete a timed circuit. Many clubs offer different levels of classes for riders of all stages to be able too compete against one another.
The origins of Gymkhana
The equestrian gymkhana is thought to date back to early European and Asian horse cultures who were among the first to establish timed racing events incorporating obstacles and pylons as a way to demonstrate controlled horsemanship. Some of these early events even involved the famous horsemen of Genghis Khan whose competitions would include retrieving small flags from the ground by sliding under and around the rider’s mount at a full gallop, or with Native American riders who would race around the rocky desert terrain against one another. More civilized events became popular as Europeans embraced equestrianism as an art and a practical activity and many timed and skill contests were held on polo grounds throughout Europe and its colonies. Over the years the gymkhana has become a more festive and family event geared towards younger riders especially in the United States, where this event is now a popular tradition in the equestrian community.