Equestrian vaulting is usually described as gymnastics or dance on horseback. Vaulting began as an equestrian act at circuses. It has been contested only once at the Olympics, at Antwerpen in 1920, when both an individual and team competition were contested, and the events were loosely translated as “Figure Riding”.
Vaulting is mostly practiced in Europe, especially Germany and Switzerland. In 1983 vaulting was recognized by the Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) as a separate discipline of horse sport. European championships were first held in Ebreichsdorf, Austria in 1984, and the first FEI World Vaulting Championship was held in Bulle, Switzerland in 1986.
Equestrian disciplines are governed by the FEI, which was formed in 1921 by Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden, and the United States, and had 138 member nations as of 2020. The FEI governs several different disciplines of equestrianism, including jumping, eventing, dressage, driving, and vaulting. The top nations in equestrian events at the Olympics have been Germany, Sweden, the United States, and France.