Equestrian Fencing (L'escrime équestre) is a short-lived sport from the early twentieth century in which participants saber fight while on horseback. It is clearly based on the military skill of combat on horseback.
The founder of the modern Olympics, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, tried to popularize the sport, co-writing an eight page "Treatise of Equestrian Fencing" in 1906 in which the sport is described. He was not the first to propose the sport, as in 1885 Commander Derué (Le commandant Derué) wrote Nouvelle méthode d'escrime à cheval (New method of fencing on horseback).
Equestrian fencing used a metal saber, heavier than the light saber used in standard fencing. The participants need to be well protected with the arms and legs covered with thick canvas clothing, and a standard fencing face mask is worn. A well-trained horse that responds to leg pressure is also required.
There is also a link to modern day saber fencing. Saber is historically related to fighting in the cavalry, and because it was considered unchivalrous to strike a horse during battle, the same rules were applied to the sport. However, since current fencers don't ride horses, the most logical solution was to only count hits above the waist.
There is one sport today that combines horse riding and fencing, and it was also a sport linked to Pierre de Coubertin. It's called the modern pentathlon, but the two activities are performed separately (though the horse riding element of modern pentathlon looks like it will be changed).
- Traité d'escrime équestre (Treatise of Equestrian Fencing) by Pierre de Coubertin et Louis Pascaud. Published éditions de la Revue olympique (Auxerre), 1906
- Nouvelle méthode d'escrime à cheval (New Method of Horseback Fencing) by Le Capitaine Dérué, Paris - A. Lahure, 1885.
- Jousting — a medieval sport in which two competitors on horsebacks, wielding long lances with blunted tips try to take down each other.
- Horseback Boxing — competitors fight each other while riding on the back of a horse. (unusual historical sport)
- Horseback Archery — shooting arrows at targets while riding a horse.
- Fencing — competitors face each other and attempt to touch each other with the tip of a thin sword.
- Modern Pentathlon — an Olympic sport that comprises five events: fencing, 200m freestyle swimming, show jumping, and a combined event of pistol shooting and 3200m cross country run.
- The unusual sport of Finger Jousting in which participants try and poke their opponent.
- Quintain — competitors on horsebacks with long lances try to hit a stationary object hanging from a pole
- About Extinct and Ancient Sports
- Other horse riding sports
- List of Extinct Sports
- List of Unusual Sports