First Time National C-Team Vaulting Champs!

Above and Beyond Vaulting team

Above and Beyond is a vaulting team based in Washington State. This year, for the first time in the team’s history, they competed in Trot Team and C-Team events at the National Championships held in Denver, Colorado.

The championships ran from August 8 – 11th. The team’s trainer and coach, Saacha DeAmborossio, drove the horses all the way to Denver. When you travel with horses, you need to know how to read a map. Saacha’s total time on the road was 28 hours. Let’s see how far they went.

Snoho to Denver

The map above shows the route Saacha took. Distances between points are shown on the map.

1. How far is the drive from their home in Snohomish, Washington to Denver?

Of course, that’s just one way.  After the competition she had to turn around and drive all the way back.

2. How far was the entire round trip?

Belgian vaulting horse

Curious George

The team’s two horses are Curious George, a Belgian standing 69 inches tall and weighing 2,200 lbs and Charles, a Friesian cross, standing 74 inches tall. Charles weighs 2,100 lbs.

3. Express Curious George’s height in hands. (1 hand = 4 inches)

4. Express Charles’s height in hands.

Both Curious George and Charles get 6 flakes of hay a day and eat 1 lb. of alfalfa/grass pellets.

Horse Talk – flake: Every square bale of hay is divided into flakes. Once the twine is cut that holds the bale together, the flakes are easy to see, like slices of bread.

An average bale of hay has 12 flakes of hay.

5. How many bales of hay are needed to feed Curious George and Charles for a week?

Vaulting is a growing equestrian sport that combines dance and gymnastics on a moving horse. The horse is lunged in a circle 15 to 25 meters in diameter.

Horse Talk – lungeing: Lungeing is performed on a large circle with the horse traveling around the outside edge of a real or imaginary ring with the trainer in the middle. Lunge can also be spelled ‘longe’.
the flag position - equestrian vaulting

The Flag position

There are seven compulsory exercises in a vaulting routine. If you are interested in reading a detailed, illustrated description of each exercise click here, then click on the name of each exercise.

In one of the exercises, called the flag, the vaulter’s shoulders and hips must be held parallel to the ground.

6. Would this make a line drawn from the vaulter’s shoulders to their hips vertical or horizontal?

Another compulsory exercise is called the Mill. In the Mill, the vaulter makes a 360-degree turn on the horse’s back, in four evenly timed phases.


equestrian vaulting practice7. If a vaulter starts out looking forward, between the horse’s ears, in what direction will they be looking once they’ve completed the exercise?

Each one of the four phases takes four canter strides to complete.

8. How many strides does it take to complete the Mill movement?

How did the team do in Denver? The Above and Beyond Vaulters club won the C divisions team championship!

Do you want to see what it takes to be a vaulter? Check out the Above and Beyond Vaulting team training hard and having fun – and – see Curious George and Charles in action!

Above and Beyond Vaulting Team courtesy of Above and Beyond
Curious George courtesy of Above and Beyond
Flag Equestrian vaulting by Catherina2; public domain
Training Hard courtesy of Above and Beyond

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3 Responses to “First Time National C-Team Vaulting Champs!”

  1. Tom Sayles
    December 13, 2013 at 10:18 pm #

    I actually drove with Saacha to and from Nationals in Denver. [One of my vaulters was part of her trot team on George.] We in fact drove though Billings Montana, because the Interstates are flatter / straighter (and there are some nice horse hotels) along that route. How much further did we drive to avoid the twisty mountain roads?

    • HLM
      December 14, 2013 at 9:36 am #

      Thanks for the additional details about the drive Tom! You’ve made an important point, planning a long drive is not only about finding the shortest, most direct route, it’s about changes in elevation too – especially when pulling a horse trailer.

  2. abbie
    February 13, 2014 at 6:46 pm #

    this team has some of the nicest and most upbeat people I have ever met. they are so amazing and helpful. I could not ask for a better team to vault with. great job at nationals guys. I look forward to going to nationals with you guys this year. 🙂

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