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art of riding and handling a horse. Horseback riding was practiced as far back as the Bronze Age and was thereafter adapted to commerce, industry, war, sport, and recreation. Diverse styles of riding developed, and the saddlesaddle,
seat or pad to support the rider on an animal, chiefly a horse. The saddles mentioned in the Bible are generally considered to have been saddlecloths. The ancient Greeks sometimes used saddlecloths, but they had no saddles and often rode bareback.
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, as well as the stirrupstirrup,
foot support for the rider of a horse in mounting and while riding. It is a ring with a horizontal bar to receive the foot and is attached by a strap to the saddle.
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 and other riding aids, were manufactured along with the other appurtenances to horseback riding. At the two extremes of riding are the jockey's riding style, sacrificing comfort and security in the interest of speed, and the cowboy's (western) style, more relaxed for long hours of work. Riding as a skilled sport developed from the style of mounted knights in the medieval period. The so-called academy style is popular in the E United States as well as in Europe. Riding as recreation has become increasingly popular in the United States, particularly in metropolitan and suburban areas.

Horse shows, originated by Ireland's Royal Dublin Society (1864), offer riders a chance to test their skills in competition. Contests are held among hunters, jumpers, ponies, and three- and five-gaited horses; a test of overall training and obedience, known as the dressage event, is also held. The major horse show in the United States is the National Horse Show (originated 1883). Equestrian events have been held in the Olympic games since 1912. Olympic competitions include dressage, jumping (Prix de Nations), and a three-day all-around competition that involves dressage, jumping, and endurance. A significant number of teams in international competition are military teams. See also horse racinghorse racing,
trials of speed involving two or more horses. It includes races among harnessed horses with one of two particular gaits, among saddled Thoroughbreds (or, less frequently, quarterhorses) on a flat track, or among saddled horses over a turf course with obstacles to
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See M. Gordon-Watson, The Handbook of Riding (1982); W. C. Steinkraus and M. A. Stoneridge, The Horse in Sport (1987).

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