This is a welcome note aimed at new vaulters and parents.  The aim is to explain the structure of the vaulting discipline as simply as possible and how shows work. Vaulting is a unique and sometimes complicated equestrian sport that requires qualified judges. You can also look under about us – What is Equestrian Vaulting – for more information. Judging is highly complex in that it is both an objective and subjective assessment but based on very definite rules and guidelines with complicated formulas overlaying the judges scores. Much the same that gymnastics works on.


As directed by the highest sporting body in South Africa, SASCOC, several changes to sporting structures has meant a change to a tiered approach to sports with Equestrian being governed and controlled by the South African Equestrian Federation (SAEF). Under the SAEF there are 20 different Discipline Associations (DAs), Vaulting being one of these equestrian disciplines. Vaulting is also a FEI Discipline.

Vaulting South Africa (VASA), is the overarching body governing vaulting in SA. VASA manages the direction of vaulting, its Rules and Regulations, its applications for International and National events, Judges and Coaches qualifications and assessments.

In order to compete in any official equestrian event in SA, graded or ungraded/training, one has to be registered annually with the South African Equestrian Federation (SAEF), with the exception of SANESA, which falls under Schools Sports and requires registration with Sanesa only.

Once registration of the SAEF is confirmed, each vaulter is required to register first with a Club and thereafter the Discipline that they wish to participate in, in other words Vaulting South Africa (VASA).


In a normal year, there are up to four qualifier shows, the Provincial Championship and the South African National Vaulting Championships, which typically takes place around Sept-Nov each year.

The SA Championships rotates between Gauteng, Western Province and KZN.

Other big shows usually on the show calendar (in a normal year) is Africa Cup (typically consisting of RSA, Mauritius and Zimbabwe take part), the FEI Vaulting World Challenge, the Inter Africa Cup and the Tri-Nations Cub. Vaulters are selected to take part through points accumulated over a certain set number of shows and a Selection Criteria will be communicated ahead of time.


The vaulting grades work as follows:

E Grade (entry level) – both Compulsory and Freestyle rounds are done at the walk

D Grade (graded) – the Compulsory round is done at the canter, the Freestyle round is done at the walk

C Grade (graded) – both the Compulsory and Freestyle rounds are done at the canter

1* (graded) – both the Compulsory and Freestyle rounds are done at the canter

2* (graded) – both the Compulsory and Freestyle rounds are done at the canter

2* YV (graded) – all tests – Compulsory, Technical and Free Test are done at the canter.

3* (graded) – all tests – Compulsory, Technical and Free Test are done at the canter.

E Grade typically consists of One Round which means only one Compulsory and one Free Test is done. However, if the show is held over two days, the graded classes (D-3*) typically consist of two Rounds which is one Compulsory and two Free Tests (for D – 2*) and at 2*YV and 3* the First Round will consist of a Compulsory and Technical test and second Round will be a Free Test.

For further information on Clubs throughout South Africa please Click on Clubs in the Main Menu.


SANESA (schools) has dedicated itself to promoting all forms of Equestrian sport within the South Africa’s schools’ community and falls under the Department of Basic Education. Sanesa is an Associate Member of the SAEF, however to compete for your school it is not necessary to register with the SAEF.

Because the vaulting discipline is so small in South Africa, the SANESA vaulting shows run concurrently with the VASA shows in order to share costs and expertise (notably the qualified judges).  Entries are done separately via the separate organization SANESA online portal.  Points from SANESA qualifying shows accumulate towards SANESA National Championships which are usually held in September/October, and are held as part of the VASA National Championships.

Why do the graded VASA shows run concurrently with SANESA and require separate payments?

Vaulting is very small in SA, however running shows comes at a huge expense with high fixed costs. Typically shows run either at breakeven or sometimes at a loss depending on the number of entries. Why is this?

The majority of the costs of running a show goes towards qualified national judges,  judges logistics and venue hire. Unfortunately with so few qualified judges, in order to host a graded show, the show holding body is required to fly in national judges from KZN and the Western Cape. This involves not only the flight costs, but food, accommodation and logistics as well. Venue hire is another huge expense given that vaulting mostly takes place in an indoor arena;  medic hire, rosettes, officials all add to the expenses.