Mounted Games is an equestrian sport originally inspired by Prince Philip aimed at providing a platform for non privileged children to ride well-bred ponies in a competitively organised event.
The sports origins date back years with similar type games created to train soldiers horses for battle. Traditional horse back sports across the world such as Chogan in Iran (the origin of polo), Pato in Argentina and more recently Gymkhana in Western United States all deploy skills and techniques which can be seen within Mounted Games.
Teams of four or five riders take part in a mixture of games carefully designed to challenge a variety of skills over and obstacle-type relay race, often at high speed. The actual games are developed to test both the riders and horses technical, physical and mental abilities and include many combinations of turns, riding skills, handovers, galloping, breaking and much more.
In 1957, at Horse of the Year Show, the first ever Mounted Games competition took place - the Price Philip Cup. Decades later the sport has become a highly respected equine discipline around the world with the ‘International Mounted Games Association’ now having over 25 members and spanning across all five continents.
There are many ways to get involved with Games where ever you are based.
Equestrian Games UK was setup to welcome riders and their families to a variety of equestrian sports (including Mounted Games) with helpful services such as helping an individual find a team in their area and organising local events.
What is Mounted Games?
Mounted Games is a fast-paced equestrian sport competed on ponies of around 15h or 150cm.
A series of games designed for teams, pairs and individuals is focussed around riders and horses athletic abilities, co-ordination, riding skills and overall ability to work together.
Mounted Games can be a fun competition between friends or as a competitive competition at various events with the ultimate objective for most riders being to compete in a fun and competitive environment. For some reaching the pinnacle of the sport is their ambition and this is achieved by competing at the Prince Philip Cup - still held at Horse of the Year Show.
What games are commonly played?
The games played within Mounted Games are designed to offer a variety of riding skills. Games are played in three main formats; Individuals, Pairs and Teams (consisting of 5 riders of which four take part in each game).
There are over 25 choices of games to play within the sport, here are a few of our favourites:
Mounted Games - Bending
This is one of the most commonly played games and is where a rider takes a baton and gallops in and out of five poles (hence ‘bending’) at top speed and back to the start again. The baton is then handed to another team member and the team then repeats the game until all team members have finished. A relay race, at high speed with several turns.
Mounted Games - Mug Shuffle
Another fast-paced racing game where each team member takes it in turn to move a mug from one pole to another in a sequence and then the next team member repeats the process. A commonly adopted game as the game requires the rider to steer their pony at high-speed whilst maintaining balance.
Mounted Games - Bottle Shuffle
Similar to the Mug Shuffle but with an added dimension of noise! In a Bottle Shuffle race the rider gallops to the top of the arena and puts an upturned bottle (filled with weights to hold them down) on top of a barrel (or bin). They pick up another bottle and head back to the start where they pass that bottle to their team member who repeats the processes until all team members are finished. As the bottles contain weights they create a loud noise when shaken, which is aimed at increasing the difficulty of the game.
Mounted Games - Sword Lancers
Based on jousting and one of the more challenging games within the sport as riders gallop at high speed whilst holding a sword in one hand. As they approach poles in the arena they collect metal rings hanging from the poles and then once around the arena the rider hands the sword (with rings still in place) to the next rider in the team. This game involves highly skilled handling of the pony and a pony who does not get distracted easily as the noise of the rings on the swords can spook many ponies!
There are many carefully developed games and each and every one of them offers the rider and pony a new skill or challenge to overcome.
Supporting a Mounted Games team
StreamZ were contacted by team manager of Wylye Valley Prince Philip Cup Team to see if we would be interested in supporting their young and ambitious team on their quest to reach the Prince Phillip Cup. We felt this would be a wonderful way to introduce ourselves to the Mounted Games community.
EQU StreamZ horse bands are already endorsed by leading riders in similar fast-paced equine sports such as Barrel Racing, Breakaway Roping and more. With the benefits of the technology a key factor in supporting injuries in sports horses StreamZ were confident that the ponies competing within Mounted Games would equally benefit. The speed in which the ponies are required to move, turn, stop and remain balanced often lead to an increase in joint and muscle, ligament or tendon issues. Providing continuous care and support to them is vital.
Our partnership with Wylye Valley begun with pairs of our EQU StreamZ bands being sent to each of the ponies. Our promise to the team was to support their animals with our bands along with promotion of their sport and their team to a wider audience.
Introducing the team
“My name is Livvy and i am 14 years old, I started riding when I was six and I really enjoy pony club including rallies and camp but my main passion is mounted games. I also play hockey and rugby several times a week which really helps with my strength and fitness needed for mounted games.
I am lucky enough to be running two ponies this year my main pony Dakota a 13.1, 14 year old Irish sports pony and Goose a 14.1, 25 year old Arab cross Fjord who has kindly been leant to me. This is my last year in The pony club games aiming to get to the Horse of the Years show. We are now as a team this year already qualified for the second stage of the qualifier. Both of my ponies are working really hard for me this year so the support of these bands will be really helpful to maintain great performance, recovery and strength”
“My name is Conor Crouch and I am 14 years old.
I have been riding since the age of 2 years old and been a member of the Pony Club from the age of 3, my riding career started off on a Shetland called JJ, progressing to my pony Bilbo who is now 33 years old. I now ride Falan 27 years and Fleur 24 years. I predominantly do mounted games as a discipline, I have attended Pony Club camp on numerous occasions. I have also tried out pony racing, show jumping and dressage, but my first love is mounted games.
This year I went to the England trials, this is where a number of riders do mounted games that are set for them, 6 are then picked to ride and 2 are picked for reserves in the England team at the Royal Windsor Horse Show, against Scotland, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Wales. I was lucky enough to be picked 8th this was out of 25 riders.
My ponies need a lot of tender love and care to keep them in tip top condition, doing the job they do is quite demanding on their legs and using EQU StreamZ magnetic bands would be a wonderful complimentary treatment for them.
We are training hard this year as a team to get to the top and be the best we possibly can it takes a lot of hard work, time and determination to be the best but we are going to give it our best shot.”
"My name is Lola and I am 11 years old. I joined the pony club in 2013 and I did my first games competition in 2014. I am an active pony club member. I enjoy all disciplines that I take part in including cross country and tetrathlon. I have my little pony called Snap that I do Mounted Games with and I also have my other pony called Disney who is 25 years old and he has competed all over the world as part of the England team.
I love my ponies and always like to make sure they are looked after properly and have everything they need. I am hoping the EQU StreamZ bands will help both of my ponies recover properly and perform to their highest standard."
"My name is Bonnie James I am 10 years old and my sister Lola rides in my team too. I joined The pony club in 2014 aged just 3 and did my first competition that year (apparently!)
I really enjoy Mounted Games and I have a speedy pony called Betsy. I ride Betsy in the Junior team and I Borrow Falan from Conor to ride in the senior team.
This year me and Lola have just been selected to ride for the Under 12 South-of-England team and are really excited to be selected for this prestigious team.
Thank you to the EQU StreamZ team for supporting our team and helping us along our journey."
“My name is Lexi Cooper. I am 12 years old and have been riding since I first sat on my shetland pony Walnut at 19 months old.
I joined the pony club at the age of 4 and have been enjoying mounted games ever since! I also enjoy jumping and cross country too.
Our dream as a team is to ride at The Horse of the year show, we are training hard for this and looking forward to our season ahead at lots of great shows including The Royal Bath and West show.
I currently have 3 ponies, Tom (my jumping pony), Indie (my 'retired' games pony who still enjoys being a sassy princess when we hack out!) and Gem, my current games pony.
I realise how important it is to look after our ponies legs and joints with the work we do with them so I'm looking forward to being able to use the EQU StreamZ Advanced Magnetic bands to keep Gem at the best of her ability and in tip-top shape.”
How is the season going (update on Wylye Valley Team)
"A quick update on our Wylye Valley Mounted Games team: They’ve had a really good couple of weeks - last weekend winning the Equestrian Games UK Senior Competition and winning the prestigious ‘The Fleur Trophy'. This success was then followed up by taking 'Reserve Champions' at The Staff College and Sandhurst Show.
Here is Goose relaxing after a hard weekend competing at the shows and fashioning her EQU StreamZ bands.
The EQU StreamZ bands are really helping the teams ponies especially the older ones that naturally get a bit stiff after competing. The ground was particularly hard last weekend and the magnetic bands came in very useful both pre and post competition to help keep their joints feeling in tip-top shape."
20th June 2022, Kate Morris - Team Manager
Images courtesy of Wylye Valley Prince Philip Cup Team & Mountain Games Association of Great Britain.
** Get your Pony a set of EQU StreamZ magnetic bands and get 10% OFF the listed price by using the code MGWYLYE10 **
Interested in getting involved in Mounted Games?
Contact the team at Equestrian Games UK and they'll happily put you in touch with a local resource: