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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

World adult games champions heading for Victoria

ABOVE: What a reach - the mounted games will be a great event for spectators in October.

PLAYING games on horseback is not just for kids.

The 37th World Championships for Adult Mounted Games will be held at Werribee Park from October 8 to 15, with 18 nations competing.

Most would know the story of how Mounted Games were created by Prince Philip as a competition for children who could not afford an expensive, purebred pony and that in 1957 the Horse of the Year Show staged the first Mounted Games Championship for the Prince Philip Cup.

It was an immediate success and mounted games have been part of the fun for pony club kids since then.

But what is less well-known is that the sport of Adult Mounted Games is alive and well with events staged all around the world. The discipline has a strong following in Australia with club, state and national championships.

The Adult Mounted Games was founded in the 1980s by Norman Patrick when he was chairman of the Pony Club Mounted Games Committee because he felt there was a need for an organisation where riders could continue to play the games past pony club age.

He established the Mounted Games Association of Great Britain in 1984.

At the time of his death in 2001, the sport he had established was being enjoyed by thousands of riders around the world, and the International Mounted Games Association, which was formed in 2003, now has members in 24 countries on five continents.

The games test speed, agility and accuracy, with competitions for individuals, pairs and teams.

In Australia, there are groups in most states and each branch organises competitions for their clubs and for the state.

There is no age limit and juts two age divisions - under 18 and open – so people to continue in the sport into their senior years.

Teams consist of five riders with four riders competing in each race.

At Werribee the teams will ride borrowed mounts.

Representing Australia will be:

Open: Olly Conn and Dee, David Gardiner and Esther, Georgia Bissicks and Darcy, Grace Perkins and Watt The, Simon Rodgers and Floss. First Reserve is Annie Herzer and Mizzy and second reserve, Matt Wilson and Uno. The coach is Tim Ling.

Under 18: Aaron Suvaljko and Axel, Bree MacKenzie and Midget, Gabe Smith and Blu, Rohan Smith and Specky, Taleha Urszulak and Roany. First Reserve is Ryan Bissicks and Tucker and second reserve, Charlie MacKenzie and Charlie. The coach is Lauren Bingley.

Ben Logue will manage the teams.

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