Competitive Vaulting
Freestyle Composition Checklist
with Jeff Moore

When you design or evaluate a freestyle, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does it have a "TAKE NOTICE!" mount and dismount?
  • Is there something dramatic or impressive at the beginning of the program?
  • Does it generally build up (in waves) in impressiveness toward the end of the program?
  • Does it include different structure groups (flags, stands, ground jumps, rolls, leaps)?
  • Does it include exercises using as much of the available space as possible (on and above the neck/back/croup, inside, outside, ground)?
  • Does it include changes of direction and orientation (forward, backward, inward, outward, upside-down?
  • Does it have a logical progression?
  • Does it "flow" or is it full of "transitions"?
  • Does it have any surprises, originality, or special ingenuity?
  • Does it include (a balance of) both static and dynamic exercises?
  • Does it include highlights?
  • Does it include dramatic punctuation?
  • Does it include expression or interpretation of the music?
  • Is the music just background music, or is it interpretable? Is it "upbeat"? Does it suit the horse, gait, vaulter, movements & highlights within the freestyle?
  • Does it include "risk" (especially risk exercises, which, if they fail, may be recoverable as something else, even if less worthy or lower DOD)?
  • Have exercises been chosen that can be fully expressed, not just managed?
  • If you are going to do this on a strange horse, have you taken this into consideration? (Some exercises especially depend on flat movement or suspension or high-crouped movement, or may not be possible if croup goes out or horse leans in.)
  • Have you given yourself five seconds of "hedge time" in case of interruption?
  • Do you have an idea for an alternative dismount if time runs out?
  • Does it include exercises that are not worth the time ("fillers" and "transitions," meaningless or irrelevant arm movements or posturings, "resting moves")?