Fast Fun of Games a Hit

Back to Article Search

Mounted games has been around a while, but it's high-paced, fun-loving attitude at the 2013 Horse of the Year Show entranced thousands and gained a whole pile of new fans.

New Zealand played host to the World Mounted Games Championships at the 2013 HOY, and fittingly, it was the host nation that won in the end, heading home teams from nine other nations.

Coming in second were the English aboard borrowed ponies, with the Australians third on their own horses.

This year there are no world champs at HOY, but Kiwi riders are still chasing national teams and pairs championship titles. For a select few, they are also preparing for the 2014 World Champs in France in August.

Entries for this year’s event at HOY are bigger than ever and convenor Kate Wiltshire is expecting more than 100 competitors from as far south as Otago and as far north as Northland in the arenas – some of whom will contest both pairs and teams titles.

Included in the mix are two riders from the English world champs team and a German rider who so enjoyed the event last year, they’ve returned.

“Everybody just so enjoyed the experience last year and the sport continues to grow at a very rapid pace,” says Wiltshire. “It is popular with people because it is seen to be fun, not at all fussy and really entertaining.”

After the success of last year, the sport gained new fans, many of whom have been in touch to find out where and when they can expect to see it at HOY.

“Every year is a good year in mounted games.”

Two Kiwi teams will head to the world champs in France, but they won’t be competing together at HOY – rather, they’ll be riding against each other.

Mounted games runs from Tuesday through to Saturday, with the open teams final in the NRM Arena at 6pm on Wednesday.

“That will really be one to watch,” says Wiltshire.

The open pairs final will be in the same arena late on Saturday afternoon.

Both open titles are there for the taking, with competitors also chasing honours in the under 12, 14 and 17 divisions, seniors (17 and over) and veterans (over 25). The seniors have the added honour of the Matty Slade Memorial Trophy, to be presented in honour of the Australian team-member who drowned while in New Zealand preparing for the World Champs.


PHOTO CREDIT: Denise Bentall