By Belinda Rodriguez – Waimauku Vaulting Club Manager
I am a parent in the stage of remembering the good old days when life was about spending time outdoors exploring, challenging ourselves, and being resourceful. These days it can seem difficult to pry tweens and teenagers from their devices. Sport brings the qualities that parents aim to instill in our young generation – focus, fun, self-confidence, determination, and working towards goals. The benefits of sport are so important to our youth. It is a great cause to sponsor and get behind our young athletes who are out there becoming role models and pushing themselves to the top level of their sport. A group of young women at the Kapiti Vaulting Club are doing just that with their mission to compete at the World Vaulting Championships for Juniors in 2019.
Equestrian vaulting is a little known sport in New Zealand, but worldwide it is a growing and popular sport. The origins of vaulting came from traditions of horseback exercises through the centuries, from Russian cossack riders through to military training drills. Modern day vaulting, performed to music and judged for performance, is a sport that has been underway since the mid 20th century. There are huge numbers of vaulting clubs in Europe, creating the environment of a serious competitive sport. Due to the similarities to gymnastics, vaulting draws many young women into the sport, however, there are a significant number of young men who are also passionate about this sport, allowing them to demonstrate amazing human feats on the back of a cantering horse. Over the recent decade, the quality of skill has lifted to incredibly difficult technical manoeuvres and performance aesthetics, making equestrian vaulting very likely to become an olympic sport in the near future.
Our waimauku vaulter, Jasmyn, is part of the team squad aiming to represent New Zealand in the World Vaulting Championships for Juniors to be held in Holland in July 2019. The team comprises an age range from 11 to 18 years old. Each member of the team is already living and breathing vaulting most days of the week. Their training requires extreme discipline to their fitness, time management, commitment to training with the team on the horse, and spending countless hours on the static vaulting barrel building their strength, balance, and coordination skills. The objective of vaulting is to be able to execute a routine with gymnastic accuracy, seamless choreography and harmony with the horse.
This team, named Kiwis, represents us. As an island nation, we are isolated from competing with the rest of the world. The team has forgone the benefits of being in regular competition (since vaulting is only practiced by a few clubs in NZ), and they are using their sheer determination to get to world class level. Their resources are few, their resolve is high.
You can follow their journey to the worlds on the Kapiti Equestrian and Vaulting social media pages and @nzvaulting on instagram.
To donate please help through the NZ vaulting team fundraising page:
See further information about this cause:
Newshub covered this story:
The NZ vaulters also feature in the Kāpiti News:
The Kapiti Equestrian & Vaulting Centre has more information about the fundraising cause: