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Glossary

A-Team- The highest level of team vaulting in the United States.  Six-person teams (plus an alternate vaulter) perform in two rounds of competition in AVA and USEF sanctioned events—compulsories and freestyle. During the compulsory round, all seven vaulters perform the seven compulsory exercises. During the freestyle round, the team creates a four-minute routine choreographed to music that consists of high-flying triples, doubles, and individual vaulting on the back of a horse. A-teams are of an international caliber and the USEF chooses Team USA from among American A-Teams to compete in World Championships.

American Vaulting Association (AVA)- The national association of equestrian vaulting. The AVA is an organization supporting the growing sport of vaulting from the grassroots to the elite.

Barrel- A practice tool meant to simulate the back of a stationary horse. Usually made of a padded metal barrel and a surcingle or fitted handles. Typically, vaulters practice on the barrel in between horse practices. Megan relies heavily on the barrel to create new freestyle and technical routines, to work compulsory drills, and to keep fit in between horse practices.

Becky Grand Hart trophy- Presented to an international-level non-Olympic equestrian in the USEF for a significant achievement in international competition. Megan was co-recipient of this award in 2006.

Bleyer- Megan’s preferred brand of vaulting shoes.

Compulsories- Seven exercises (mount, basic seat, flag, mill, scissors, stand, and full-flank) performed in that order. Compulsories are typically the first round of competition (always in AVA-level competitions) and are meant to test a vaulter’s strength, balance, and harmony with the horse.

Cornell University- The Ivy-League university located in the middle of no-where (aka Ithaca, NY) from which Megan graduated with a degree in History in May 2010.

CVI**- The French acronym (Concours de Voltige International) meaning International Vaulting Competition.  The two stars signify that it is a senior elite international competition with senior elite rules. One star signifies a junior or lower level international competition with separate rules.

Dark Side of the Moon- The team that got Megan back into vaulting after her “retirement.” They were the 2008 World Vaulting Championship Bronze medalists, 2008 A-Team National Champions, and CVI** Krumke and CVIO** Aachen champions. The team was composed of vaulters Emily Hogye, Mari Inouye, Devon Maitozo, Elizabeth Osborn, Rosalind Ross, Annalise VanVranken, and, of course, Megan. The team competed nationally on Palatine and Paxton with lungeur Carolyn Bland and internationally on Nero lunged by Anke Paura-Alvers (for the CVI**s) and Leonardo lunged by Lasse Kristensen (for the World Championships.) The team vaulted to music from Pink Floyd’s album The Dark Side of the Moon, hence their name.

Fingerlakes Gymnastics Academy- The gym in Ithaca, NY where Megan practiced gymnastics while studying at Cornell University. She worked with head coach Dean Altes on bars and floor.

FEI- French for International Equestrian Federation (Fédération Equestre Internationale). The FEI is the international governing body of equestrian sport.

Foam- A piece of foam the width of the surcingle placed between the surcingle and the pad. The foam provides added protection for the horse and vaulter.

Free Artists Mt. Eden (F.A.M.E.)- The team that changed the nature of vaulting forever and captured the Silver medal at the 2006 World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany. Composed of vaulters from two clubs (Free Artists Creative Equestrian and Mt. Eden Vaulting Club), F.A.M.E. was truly an all-star team. Megan’s teammates were Blake Dahlgren, Elizabeth Ioannou, Devon Maitozo, Katherine Richie, Rosalind Ross, and Annalise VanVranken. The team competed nationally on Gustaff and Mozart with lungeur Carolyn Bland and internationally on Grand Gaudino with lungeur Silke Bartel.

Freestyle- Anything goes! A one-minute routine for individuals (or a four-minute routine for teams) judged on degree of difficulty, composition, performance, and horse-score. A perfect routine faces all directions (backward, forward, outside, inside), encompasses all levels (something high above the horse, something low and touching the horse), and includes exercises exhibiting flexibility, strength, balance, and coordination—all in harmony with the horse.

Garrod Farms and Stables- The home of Mt. Eden Vaulting Club. Located in the Saratoga hills, Garrods is perhaps the most picturesque vaulting spot in the world and the place where Megan spent the majority of her childhood!

Girth- Holds the surcingle on the horse. The girth passes under the belly of the horse and is secured on both sides of the surcingle. A tight girth keeps the surcingle from moving while the vaulter performs.

Gold- The highest level of individual vaulting in the American Vaulting Association.

Individual Vaulting- Singles. One person performs and competes with his or her horse and lungeur.  In competition, men and women compete in different divisions.

Kelviden Farm- Perry’s Ithaca home and Megan’s vaulting headquarters while in New York.

Kristensen- Megan’s preferred brand of vaulting tack—both surcingles and pads—designed by her Danish coach, Lasse Kristensen. Built to fit the horse properly and to maximize the vaulter’s comfort, there is nothing better.

Lunge line- A 15-20 meter line (typically made of woven fibers) attached to the inside ring of the horse’s bit. The lungeur holds the end of the lunge line and uses it to control the horse from the center of the vaulting circle.

Lungeur- The person who stands in the middle of the circle to control the horse. The lungeur is responsible for the horse’s behavior, quality of canter, and consistent gait. The lungeur is an integral part of any vaulting team (both individual and team vaulting). At World Championships and CVIs, the lungeur is awarded and recognized at the same time as the vaulter. When Megan won gold in 2006, Lasse Kristensen, her lungeur, also received a gold medal and stood on the podium with her.

Mt. Eden Vaulting Club
- Megan’s vaulting club, and where she has trained since she started vaulting in 1997. MEVC is the winningest vaulting club in the American Vaulting Association, and it is home to numerous World, National, and Regional champions. Mt. Eden is located in the hills of Saratoga, California at Garrod Farms.

Pad- Protects the horse’s back and is an integral part of the vaulting tack. The pad is typically made of thick felt or foam. It is placed directly on the horse’s back and secured by the surcingle and girth.

Power Girth- A special girth designed and patented by Lasse Kristensen. The girth uses a leverage system to maximize the surcingle’s tightness without pulling on the horse.

Surcingle- The handles and the apparatus holding the handles on the horse. The surcingle is perhaps the most unique piece of equipment used by vaulters. Megan prefers Lasse Kristensen’s new surcingle design, the Kristensen LD, because it fits the horse well and allows her to perform all her signature moves.

Tack- Any and all pieces of equipment used on the horse. Vaulting tack includes the following: surcingle, foam, pad, girth, side-reins, bridle, bit, leg wraps, lunge line, and whip.

Team Vaulting- The most exciting vaulting to watch… period. Teams of seven vaulters compete together in a compulsory round and a freestyle round (there are two freestyle rounds in CVIs and World Championships, but only one in USEF competitions). Each vaulter performs all seven compulsories in the compulsory round, mount, basic seat, flag, and mill with a dismount are the “first three”. Scissors, stand, and full-flank are the “second three”. The most exciting aspect of team vaulting is the team freestyle. Freestyles are four minutes long, choreographed to music, and consist of high flying triples, dancing doubles, and occasional individual moves.

Technical Test- Much like a figure skating short program, the technical test is a freestyle with five required moves. The five moves are a reverse rear-ways push-up to demonstrate strength, a cartwheel to demonstrate coordination, a roll-mount to reverse on neck to demonstrate jump-force, an outside side-stand to show balance, and a side-needle to show suppleness. The technical test is judged on those five technical moves, a composition score (multiplied by two), a performance score, and a horse score (multiplied by two). The main difference between the technical and the freestyle is the increased emphasis on the technical’s composition score, the lack of a degree of difficulty score, and the performance of the five technical moves.

Side-reins- Two leather reins each connected to a ring on the surcingle and the bit. Side reins keep the horse in a collected frame and keep the horse steady while vaulting at the canter or trot.

United States Equestrian Federation (USEF)- The national governing body of American equestrian sports.

Vaulting shoes- Much like gymnastics shoes, vaulting shoes are worn on the feet to provide traction and support while vaulting. Megan prefers split-sole shoes to allow maximum toe-point and flexibility.

World Equestrian Games (WEG)- The Olympics for horse sports.  The World Equestrian Games are held over two weeks, and it is there that eight equestrian disciplines (dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, para-dressage, reining, show jumping, and vaulting) decide their World Championships.  In 2010, for the first time WEG will be held in the United States, in Lexington, Kentucky.