Since before our recorded history the horse has been a boon companion and working partner in the development of our civilization. With the power and speed of the horse so apparent, it is no wonder that humans have developed a large number of sports that include these four legged powerhouses.
There are several broad areas of horse competition. Racing is a primary equestrian sport whether the animal is ridden or draws a buggy. With the pure bloodlines selling in the millions of dollars per animal, thoroughbred horse racing is not for the faint of heart.
Thoroughbred and harness racing are two of the most popular gambling sports. Many equestrian sports are designed more for show and agility. The steeplechase is a fine example of the more refined style of horse competition.
Some equestrian sports events are designed to highlight the useful work the animal can do. The western United States tradition of the "rodeo" evokes the historical adventure of the domestication of a wild land. As well as exhibition riding the rodeo showcases many of the ways the animal is indispensable in cattle farming. Internationally, there are also many endurance race sports to show off the equestrian ability to travel long distances over rough terrain.