Equestrianism (from Latin equester, equestr-, equus, 'horseman', 'horse'), commonly known as horse riding (British English) or horseback riding (American
English), includes the disciplines of riding, driving, or vaulting with horses. This broad description includes the use of horses for practical working purposes, transportation, recreational activities
, artistic or cultural exercises, and competitive sport.
Horses are trained and ridden for practical working purposes, such as in police work or for controlling herd animals
on a ranch. They are also used in competitive sports including dressage, endurance riding, eventing, reining, show jumping, tent pegging, vaulting, polo, horse racing, driving, and rodeo (see additional equestrian sports listed later in this article
for more examples). Some popular forms of competition are grouped together at horse shows where horses perform in a wide variety of disciplines. Horses (and other equids such as mules) are used for non-competitive recreational riding such as fox hunting, trail riding, or hacking. There is public access to horse trails in almost every part of the world; many parks, ranches, and public stables offer both guided and independent riding. Horses are also used for therapeutic purposes both in specialized para-equestrian competition as well as non-competitive riding to improve human health and emotional development.
Horses are also driven in harness racing, at horse shows, and in other types of exhibition such as historical reenactment or ceremony, often pulling carriages. In some parts of the world, they are still used for practical purposes such as farming.