Vaulters wear tightly fitting long or capri pants (lycra tights work well) and a comfortable shirt. We have short nails and don’t wear any jewelery (including earring studs) for safety of both vaulter and horse. Long hair needs to be tied back. Shoes should also be tightly fitting and flexible. A good option for starting out is to use neoprene water shoes and then move on to gymnastic or specialised vaulting shoes in time.
Helmets are never worn in competitive vaulting or training. This is because the helmet can be a safety risk to the vaulter. It causes the head to be overly heavy and may unbalance the vaulter. Helmet straps could also get caught in equipment while vaulters move upside-down and around the horse. Another safety risk from helmet use is when more than one vaulter is on the horse because the helmet can knock the other vaulter causing concussion.
Our vaulting club aims to foster safety by careful selection of vaulting horses, maintaining a controlled environment for lunging our vaulting horses, and practicing difficult moves on a barrel before attempting them on a horse. We also teach how to dismount from many angles and rolling out of a hard landing. Statistically, vaulting is a safer sport than horse riding and many other activities that kids do, such as a riding a bicycle or playing in a playground, due to these factors.
The Waimauku Vaulting Club does not use helmets as a rule unless there are special circumstances, such as a fearful or disabled person who will be doing only basic activities on the horse.