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WHAT IS MOUNTED GAMES?

kk bending polesGames is a unique equestrian sport that emphasizes teamwork, speed, accuracy, and fun.  Games teams compete in an exciting array of relay races with some pretty unusual equipment -- everything from bending poles to hockey sticks to old socks.  Competitive games players are highly skilled riders capable of vaulting on and off of their mounts, hanging in front of a pony's legs at a full gallop, and executing tight turns around barrels and poles -- yet even beginning riders can learn to play games.  Games ponies are exceptional athletes with speed, agility, and a competitive spirit -- yet any horse or pony can be trained to play games.  Games competitions involve some of the best games players in the world -- but also include divisions for beginners and mature adult riders who play just for the sheer fun of it.

In short, Games is the most fun you can have on horseback! 



HOW CAN GAMES IMPROVE YOUR RIDING SKILLS?

ball and cone raceGames is all about balance and coordination and control -- riding skills that you may not even realize you're using as you concentrate on grabbing that flag or making that hand-off.  You'll build strength and reliance in your legs when your hands are busy with swords and litter sticks; your coordination will improve as you learn to reach down to your horse's knees to dunk socks in a bucket or pick up a ball from a cone; and the communication between you and your horse will improve as you bend through poles and shuffle mugs back and forth.  You may even learn to vault on and off of your pony!



HOW CAN YOU LEARN TO PLAY MOUNTED GAMES?

games handoffWe'll teach you!  We incorporate games into our regular lesson planning because it helps students learn balance and control while they're having fun.  The cool thing about games is that riders of all ages and abilities can play -- even young riders on a leadline can learn and compete.

In the past twelve years, we've offered numerous mounted games camps and clinics that teach fundamentals and offer skills practice and friendly competitions. We've also added two local open games competitions for players at all levels.

It's always a good idea to study more advanced riders, so our students are welcome to watch and assist in our local practices and competitions.  You can learn a lot about the games you want to play when you work with the Ring Crew!



WHERE DO GAMES PLAYERS COMPETE?

USPC championshipsAlthough there are some competitions with games for individual players, most competitive Mounted Games are all about teamwork with games teams of 2, 4 or 5 riders.

games - KY Horse ParkWe offer several opportunities throughout the year for our students to compete.  In addition to our own games competitions, we've participated in numerous competitions and clinics hosted by national mounted games associations, including United States Pony Club, Mounted Games Across America, and the United States Mounted Games Association.

You'll notice that teams at most competitions have their own team name (e.g., one of Nikki's teams was called "The Wildflowers") and are encouraged to dress themselves and their ponies in color-coordinated gear.  This allows spectators to join in the fun:  "Go Wildflowers!"

You can see photos of our local games camps and competitions in our Facebook page's photo gallery. We also videotape our competitors when we go to national competitions so our students can see what happens at competitions; click here to see our favorite videos.  There are also some great videos on YouTube of Mounted Games competitions -- including the exciting Worlds Cup competitions.



WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR PLAYING GAMES?

games - GA Horse Park1.  Learn the rules. Our competitions are based on MGAA rules; you can  download the current  rulebook here. We also play a few of our own proprietary games (e.g., Trick-or-Treat Games), so you'll want to learn rules for those games, which are included in our event infosheets.

2.  You and your pony must work at staying fit -- Games is strenuous exercise!  Make sure your horse is properly conditioned for the level of play you wish to enter. Letting an unfit pony race is abusive and dangerous!

3.  For serious competition, your Games pony should be under 15 hh.   While you can play informally on a taller mount, a smaller pony will make it much easier on to grab a ball off a cone and dunk it into a bucket  -- not to mention vaulting into the saddle!

4.  There are some games that can be played from a Western saddle -- but there are many other games activities that are awkward or dangerous with a saddle horn.   You'll find it much easier to play Mounted Games in an English saddle.

5.  Practice using the proper equipment -- see rulebooks for details.  Most games equipment can be made from inexpensive household items.

6.   Practice at least weekly, rotating through all of the games.

7.  Keep it fun -- the best Games competitions are relaxed and friendly, and you will play better when you're having fun.



HOW CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION ABOUT MOUNTED GAMES?

Learn more about Games by visiting the websites of these national and international games programs:

MGAA logo

Mounted Games Across America

 

imga logo

International Mounted Games Association/>