Information Form for Voltigeurs and Riders
Registration Forms – Please fill out prior to first session
The following is a short description of the sport of Voltige, Riding, “Horses of the Sun” and its programme, and of our instructors. It also reminds you that, like any equestrian sport, the sports of Voltige and Riding carry inherent risks, it indicates what we have done to minimize these risks, and what the voltigeurs and riders can do to minimize these risks.
Horses of the Sun:
Horses of the Sun was founded in October 1997 to develop the sport of Voltige in the National Capital Region, to make this sport affordable and accessible to every child who likes Voltige, to help acquire the necessary equipment, and to build a better youth, both physically and mentally, in our region. Similar organizations in other regions also seek to further the objectives of the sport, meet for competition, and exchange ideas with our voltigeurs and instructors. Horses of the Sun is the leading center for Voltige in Eastern Canada, and our coaches and voltigeurs are actively promoting and furthering the sport to other regions and provinces through demonstrations, clinics, and competitions.
The Sport of Voltige:
Voltige, the art of gymnastics and acrobatics on the living horse, is a combination of gymnastics, acrobatics and movement, fitness and fun. The voltigeurs (i.e. the athletes practicing the sport) are learning and performing exercises on the horse, similar to the gymnast performing exercises on the ground and on the equipment. As a recreational activity, Voltige introduces the voltigeurs to the horse, teaches them self-confidence, trust for the horse, discipline and body coordination. Voltige is considered a valuable additional training for every rider, as it improves rhythm, balance, posture and seat. For a gymnast, it opens up a completely new dimension by incorporating the living horse into the sport. The voltigeur’s mind and body will develop into a complete harmony, while she/he is also confronted with the challenge of having to work with the horse in close harmony. Note: No previous Riding or Gymnastic Experience is necessary to participate in Voltiging. Voltiging is not Riding! In Voltige, the horse is controlled by the Longeur. The Voltigeur does not control the movement of the horse. The horse is equipped with a specialized Voltige Girth. For safety reasons, the required clothing of the Voltigeur is different than the clothing required for a Rider.
The Voltige Classes:
During the classes, the voltigeurs will be learning and performing exercises on the ground (gymnastics, acrobatics, juggling, body posture and movement, etc.), on gymnastics equipment (e.g. trapeze, balance beam), on the Voltige Barrel (a specially designed wooden or metal apparatus resembling the shape of the horse, used to prepare the voltigeur for the exercises on the living horse), and on the horse in the walk and the canter. The voltigeurs will also care for and handle the horse, both before and after the classes, they will lead the horse, help tack it up and cool it down, and help care and clean the tack (equipment). The older and/or more experienced voltigeurs will be helping the instructors, spotting and aiding the other voltigeurs on the ground, barrel, and horse. – Appropriate clothing for Voltige must be worn during Voltige classes. Appropriate clothing for the Voltigeur consists of a gymnastic suit (or alternatively, T-shirt or sweatshirt, and stretchy pants), socks, Voltige slippers, gymnastic slippers or water shoes during the active Voltige segment; no loose or baggy clothing, and no jewelry. When working around horses (outside the regular Voltige work / before or after the active Voltige segment) proper footwear, i.e. strong running shoes or boots (but not Voltige slippers, gymnastic slippers, water shoes, etc.) must be worn.
The Riding Classes:
During the classes, the rider will learn to control and ride the horse in the halt, walk, trot, and canter. The rider will also care for and handle the horse, both before and after the classes, they will lead the horse, tack it up and ncool it down, and help care and clean the tack (equipment). The older and/or more experienced riders will be helping the instructors, assisting and aiding the younger or less experienced riders on the ground and on the horse. – Appropriate clothing for riding must be worn before, during, and after the Riding classes. Appropriate clothing for the rider consists of an ASTM-approved riding helmet, footwear appropriate for riding (i.e., riding boots), and pants appropriate for riding. A properly fitted safety vest for riding is also strongly recommended.
Further Information and Reading:
There are many good books, magazines, and internet sites available to further one’s knowledge. If you are interested in more information, please talk with Sonja or Uwe. We strongly encourage all our students to become members of the Ontario Equestrian Federation (OEF), and to become familiar with applicable laws and regulations in Ontario for equestrian activities, particularly Ontario’s Bill 12 (Chapter 4, Statutes of Ontario, 2001): “An Act to increase the safety of equestrian riders”. Membership to the OEF is very affordable, and offers numerous benefits. More information can be found on the web site of the Ontario EquestrianFederation (OEF) at: www.horse.on.ca
Please visit our web site at:
Horses of the Sun is an equestrian facility. All activities on these grounds may be subject to certain risks. By your presence on these grounds you have indicated that you have accepted the limits of liability resulting from inherent risks of equestrian activities. Horses of the Sun is not a spectator area. All persons on our premises will be regarded as participants and have accepted the inherent risk. Parents are fully responsible for non- registered children. Dogs are welcome, but must be on leash unless otherwise approved by Management. Receive permission before feeding horses any treats. Receive permission before entering horse enclosures. Permission must be granted before equipment can be used.
The Inherent Risk:
As with every sport or physical activity, there is an inherent risk when performing Voltige or Riding. Accidents and severe injuries, including lethal injuries, can occur. A horse is a living animal, and its reactions are, therefore, at times unpredictable. Furthermore, Voltige and Riding involves interactions with other voltigeurs and riders. An equestrian facility contains many visible and hidden risks connected to the activities, animals, machinery, and surroundings. Please adhere to all safety rules and be aware of yourself, your safety, and your environment. Risk Management / Risk Reduction / Safety Procedures: Education and Training of our instructors include: – Sonja Koch: German Riding Instructor’s Certification German Riding Award in Silver teaching riding and voltiging for over 35 years teaching movement, gymnastics, and acrobatics for over 40 years Ontario Provincial Voltige Coach – Uwe Schneider: German Voltige Award in Silver competed internationally in Voltige for over 5 years teaching voltiging for over 35 years Horses: The horses are professionally trained for the sport. Equipment: The tack is suitable for international competitions, and is regularly inspected. The Voltige barrels follow international designs, and all equipment is regularly inspected.
What the Voltigeurs and Riders can do to minimize risk:
– wear proper clothing (Voltigeur: T-shirt or sweatshirt, stretchy pants, socks, gymnastic slippers (or running shoes, when appropriate; Riders: riding helmet, riding boots, riding pants); no loose or baggy clothing, no jewelry, no eating or chewing gum during classes). – when working around horses (outside the regular Voltige work), wear proper footwear, i.e. strong running
shoes or boots, but not gymnastic slippers. – listen to the instructors, assistants, and helpers. – learn about potential risks, look for them, bring them to the attention of the instructor(s), and assist in minimizing or eliminating them. – be attentive, and follow all the safety rules. Our Voltige Programme follows a systematic training plan, as outlined in the “Voltige Progress Development Programme for Voltigeurs”. The voltigeur will develop progressively – physically, mentally, and emotionally -, and at his/her own rate. The age, height, muscle development, physical condition, and mental attitude of the voltigeur are all deciding factors on the progression rate of the voltigeur. The minimum age to start the sport is generally seven (7) years of age, however, there is no maximum age. Also, no previous riding, gymnastics, or acrobatics experience is necessary, as the voltigeur will receive this training as an integral part of the Voltige Programme. Voltige can be pursued as a recreational activity as well as a competitive sport. Our Riding Programme is individualized to the particular student. The rider will develop his/her riding skills progressively – physically, mentally, and emotionally -, and at his/her own rate, in individual and in group lessons. The safety of the horses and the voltigeurs and riders are our foremost consideration. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask our instructors. Sonja and Uwe can be reached at: (613) 835-9523