The Pony Club is an international voluntary youth organisation for young people interested in ponies and riding. Founded in England in 1929, and granted independent charitable status on 1st January 1997, there are around 345 Branches and 600 Centres in the UK alone. The Pony Club has been the starting point for a large majority of equestrian team members and medal winners.
The Pony Club is represented in no less than 27 countries with a worldwide membership exceeding 110,000 making it the largest association of young riders in the world.
Mounted Games were the inspiration of H.R.H. Prince Philip. When the late Col. Sir Mike Ansell was Director of the Horse of The Year Show, Prince Philip asked if he could devise a mounted competition for ordinary children which would be fun and which did not necessarily involve owning an expensive show pony. He envisaged a series of games on horseback for teams of four riders. His vision was to arrange races that would be exciting for the spectator and rider alike and encourage outstanding horsemanship, skills and balance without the need for ‘specialist ponies or horses’.
In 1957, the Horse of the Year Show, staged the first Mounted Games Championship for the Prince Philip Cup and the competition was an enormous success from the start
By 1965 the Prince Philip Mounted Games had spread from Great Britain to America, Canada and Australia
Riders and horses need courage and determination as well as a good team spirit. But the most important thing of all is that they both love to play. A Mounted Games competition, at Pony Club, remains a sport were ordinary kids and ordinary ponies have a great deal of fun.
Throughout the year approximately 250 teams compete in the 19 area competitions with the hope of qualifying for one of the 4 Zone finals. From these Zone finals the winning team will compete at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS), the final 2 places will be decided at the Pony Club Championships in August. All 4 Teams you see today have all qualified for their Zone finals in 2018 which were held in July and most are heading for the championships later this month to try for the two remaining Horse of the Year Show places.
Each session you will see a variety of games on horseback from Bending, Stepping Stones, Tyre, 5 mug, Big Sack and Balloon. These games require a lot of skill and team work.
Cumberland Farmer Hunt South – the local team from Penrith (Blue and Gold Stripe)
Bramham – from Yorkshire (Orange)
Morpeth – from Northumberland (Blue Circle)
Lanark – from Scotland (Purple)
In each game 4 riders will compete with the last rider having a white hat band. The winning team will be the team whose all four riders complete the race the fastest. In some of the races the children have to lead each other, vault on or pick up an items from a bin or the floor and all jump together in a big sack which needs a lot of team co-ordination and hopefully not a lot of falling over.
The riders are all under 15 years of age and the ponies no bigger than 14.2h. All the riders are active members of their pony clubs and also take part in other disciplines the pony club offer, from Show Jumping, Eventing, Dressage, Tetrathlon, Horse and Pony Care and the Quizes.