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By Dani Moritz
If vaulting is on your bucket list, The Life Adventure Center of
the Bluegrass is an absolute must-do.
Located about 20 minutes from the Kentucky Horse Park, the
center utilizes adventure-based, experiential education programs
to build respect, responsibility and self-esteem for disadvantaged
youth and adult participants. It has also opened its doors to the
general community so they can join in on the fun. 
The center’s equestrian program, which sits on 35 acres of the
575-acre property, is a main attraction. It was voted Best Riding
Lesson facility in 2012 by Lexington Family Magazine.
The program provides some of the center’s most popular
activities – including groundwork classes, English riding lessons
as well as vaulting. They have also recently opened a 30-mile
equestrian trail network to public riders. “We go beyond physical
skill to teach people about trust and team work with their horse –
skills that transfer to our participants’ every-day life at home, in
the workplace, in school and with friends,” said Kara Musgrave,
equine center manager.
A favorite among equestrian participants is vaulting. Started in
the summer of 2010, their vaulting program is open to the public
most Saturdays from 4:30 to 6:30. They also have a vaulting club,
called the Unbridled Vaulting Club, for more serious vaulters who
meet regularly to create team and individual vaulting routines to
perform at shows, parades and other events.
Kara says the activity is gaining momentum in the community.
“Dance and gymnastics on the back of a moving horse can
sometimes be a hard sell to parents,” said Kara. “Once we
illustrate that it is beginner friendly, and the easiest (fnancially) to
get into, our clients love it!”
Kara explains that the instructor is always in control of the horse
so the vaulter only has to focus on his or herself. In addition,
vaulting is always practiced on the ground frst and then on a
barrel - or mock horse - before being done on a real horse. It
is a much cheaper alternative to traditional riding - no expensive
boots, helmets or other up-front equipment.
“We suggest vaulting for any student who is just starting out
to develop balance before they are put in charge of steering a
horse,” said Kara. “It’s also great for some of our more timid riders
as vaulting builds confdence. The team aspect also provides a lot
of encouragement.”
Kara anticipates the Unbridled Vaulting Club will attend several
vaulting competitions in the future. She also has her sights set for
this year’s Special Olympics.
Whether you’re interested in trying your hand at vaulting, taking
a riding lesson or enjoying a different non-equestrian outdoor
experience such as a rope course or wilderness living, the Life
Adventure Center offers a reprieve from everyday life and, by
participating in their programs, you can make a positive impact
on someone’s life.
For more information, visit
The Life Adventure Center is always working to offer free and
low cost programs targeted to at-risk groups and individuals.
Mainstream riding lessons and other program’s proceeds fund
scholarships for riders, vaulters and campers who cannot afford
the experience on their own.
A vaulting class in action.
Vaulting helps riders build
balance and confdence.
Photo by Kara Musgrave
The vaulting club prepares
for a show.
Photo by Tracey Wright
A group photo at Life
Adventure Center’s
vaulting camp in 2012.
Photo courtesy of
Life Equestrian Center