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  • Mounted Games

    What is Mounted Games?

    The Mounted Games is a unique equestrian sport. It combines competition, skill and team spirit. It's also accessible to all riding levels and ages, from 8 upwards. Beyond simple pony games, this discipline offers much more than equestrian leisure. This article explores this multi-faceted equestrian world, where technique, respect for the animal and human values combine in harmony.

    What is Mounted Games?

    Also known as Mounted Games, Mounted Games is an equestrian activity that stands out for its fun and competitive aspects. It involves a variety of events on horseback or ponyback, and emphasizes teamwork. This discipline is played at all age levels and riding gallops.

    The origin and evolution of Mounted Games

    Mounted Games first appeared in the UK in the 1950s. Since then, they have followed a fascinating path, evolving from a local form of entertainment to a dynamic international equestrian discipline.

    Prince Philip and the birth of the Mounted Games

    Originally informal, the games took a captivating turn with Prince Philip of Edinburgh, the catalyst for the Mounted Games' success. Inspired by leisure practices observed in India, he created the "Mounted-Games" to offer children an accessible equestrian competition.

    From informal to international

    From simple local games for children, the Mounted Games became structured competitions. The creation of the Mounted-Games Association of Great Britain in 1984 by Norman Patrick propelled these equestrian games into 21 countries (including France around 1991). A simple idea was transformed into an exciting international discipline.

    Evolution into a dynamic competition

    The Mounted Games are gaining in popularity thanks to their affordability and their ability to teach riding in a fun way. They have a positive impact on riders, both physically and mentally. This makes them a real "show sport", where agility, speed and fair play take center stage.

    Mounted Games rules and equipment

    Mounted Games is based on 36 approved games in France and around 70 internationally. Each game has its own specific rules and promotes speed, agility and fair play.

    Basic rules common to all games

    Even if the rules change, all Mounted Games follow a strict set of common rules, ensuring that the game runs smoothly, fairly and safely. It's a team sport, with events played individually or in pairs. Participation is open to horses and ponies aged 4 to 7, children aged 8 and over, and adults of any age.

    The right equipment for Mounted Games

    The riders on each team wear the same color uniform or headband. The basic riding outfit consists of pants, riding boots or boots. A helmet is strongly recommended, and can be complemented by a protective vest. The horse or pony is harnessed in a bridle with a mouthpiece listed in the regulations, with or without martingale. The saddle is fitted with open cutters and safety stirrups. Everything has been thought out for the safety of participants.

    Benefits and skills developed through Mounted Games

    Mounted Games goes beyond the competitive aspect. Regular practice of this equestrian activity offers a multitude of benefits, both physical and mental. In addition to improving coordination, balance and flexibility, this discipline strengthens the connection between rider and pony.

    It develops values such as cooperation, trust and respect. Tactical skills and quick decision-making are also put to the test.

    This equestrian discipline offers complete training for riding enthusiasts of all levels.

    How does a Mounted Games competition work?

    After warming up, teams of riders and their mounts compete on the field set aside for the event. Each horse and rider pair demonstrates their speed and agility in front of an appreciative panel of judges. Of course, the events take place in a dynamic atmosphere that respects both humans and horses.

    Pre-competition preparation

    To prepare for Mounted Games competitions, teams devote time to their own physical preparation and that of their ponies. The training sessions also aim to familiarize the pairs with the different events. Elite championships require more intense training to improve the pony's endurance. On the big day, teams warm up with their mounts in the paddock. Classic relaxation and appropriate stretching reduce the risk of injury.

    The different events and how they are run

    Mounted Games competitions are run on a field with a central area and lanes for each team. On either side are a relay zone and a waiting zone.

    The list of events

    With 36 French games divided into 4 index categories (Elite, 1, 2, 3), each team plays six or eight games depending on the index:  Speed weavers ; Ball & cone; Flag fliers ; Carton Race ; Pony pairs ; Two flags ; Mug shuffle ; Pony express ; Hula hoop ; Teksab ; Hug a mug ; Little President ; Ride and run ; Hilo ; Agility aces  ; Two Bottles ; Windsor castle ; Mug race ; Bottle shuttle ; Four flags race ; Bang a balloon ; Socks & buckets ; Flags exchange ; Cups ; Association race ; Bottle exchange ; Litter Scoop ; Sword lancers ; Bank race ; Litter lifters ; Three pot flag ; Ball and cone ; Président ; Tool Box ; Hoopla ; Tool box.

    General event rules

    For each game, teams are made up of 4 rider-pony pairs. The start is given by the referee, who lowers a flag when all horses are ready behind the starting line. The relay is then authorized when the 4 feet of the preceding horse are in the relay zone. Each competitor completes his course and scores points for his team. Any error adds penalties.

    Judging criteria and rankings

    The FFE regularly updates the judging criteria available on its website. Judges evaluate the performance, speed, agility and precision of riders in the execution of events. Points are awarded on the basis of time, penalties and mistakes made. Rankings are determined by the total points acquired. The faster and more precise the performance, the higher the score. Teams accumulate points as they play, which determines their position in the final competition ranking.

    How do I train for Mounted Games?

    For club competitions, a club pony and a rider with no special training are all you need. However, maintaining a good level of physical fitness increases the chances of performance as the level of complexity increases.

    Specific exercises to improve performance

    Riders develop their physical fitness to meet the demands of this discipline, such as speed, agility and flexibility. For example, running, weight training and swimming are highly recommended to complement riding.

    The horse, for its part, undergoes basic training. It is then trained to turn quickly and responsively. This training includes adapted exercises such as progressive transitions, end-of-line turns and precise movements.

    In addition, it is advisable for both rider and horse to practice other equestrian disciplines to complete the package. Regular training helps to strengthen the duo's endurance, coordination and rider control.

    Tips for developing skill and coordination

    Here are 5 practical tips for performance riders:

    1. Practice exercises where you have to catch moving objects on horseback. A game of ball sent from one rider to the other, for example, improves dexterity and their ability to maneuver in different directions.

    2. Working without stirrups reinforces balance and stability. These skills are essential for mastering precision exercises such as rounding a post with ease.

    3. Training on a variety of obstacle courses refines the precision of your movements. It also improves coordination with your pony.

    4. Spending time working on foot strengthens the connection with your pony. In particular, it promotes mutual understanding.

    5. Other equestrian disciplines, such as dressage, show jumping or voltige, are excellent additions to your riding skills.

    Tips for strengthening your relationship with your pony

    There's nothing like a harmonious relationship with your pony to ensure that you work perfectly together during the tests. Here are 7 tips to help you:

    1. Constant communication - Learn to understand your pony's signals, be they gestures, sounds or body language. Pay attention to his reactions.

    2. Quality time - Devote time to bonding activities outside the saddle. Brush him, spend time in the meadow, create a connection through simple games.

    3. Mutual trust - Build trust by respecting your pony and being consistent in your actions. Avoid roughhousing.

    4. Positive training - Use positive reinforcement methods for training. Reward good actions to reinforce desired behaviors.

    5. Variety and diversity - Offer a variety of activities to keep his mind alert. This could be different exercises, varied walks or even games.

    6. Individual understanding - Every pony has his own preferences. Get to know his preferences, whether in terms of care, petting or activities he enjoys.

    7. Patience and perseverance - Building a solid relationship takes time. Be patient and persevere in your approach.

    Strengthening these aspects of your relationship will help you develop a much better connection and complicity with your pony.

    In conclusion, pony-gaming is much more than just an equestrian discipline; it's a thrilling adventure that combines competition and camaraderie, offering stimulating challenges and unforgettable moments for horse enthusiasts from all walks of life. Whether you're a novice or a seasoned rider, immerse yourself in the captivating world of Mounted Games and discover a new dimension in the human-horse relationship.

    Clothing for mounted Games