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THE PRINCE PHILIP CUP

The Atherstone Hunt Pony Club, have had a tradition of being proficient at mounted games, with dedicated parents and trainers producing good teams over recent years, winning the Prince Philip cup in 2007 and attending HOYS in 2009.

Once again, with a totally new team, the Atherstone Hunt Pony Club have qualified for HOYS 2013 next month.


However, HOYS and the NEC don’t make the privilege of entertaining the crowds a free event. Unfortunately, there is a substantial cost attached to attending which for a team of six is difficult to cover by the club and parents alone. We therefore fund raise to ensure that we can supply all the necessary provisions for eight days in the NEC car park.

Pony Club Mounted games are very fast games are played by children under the age of 15 on 1st January on ponies up to a height of 15 hands.

They require a high degree of athletic ability, good riding skills, hand-to-eye coordination, determination, perseverance, and a competitive spirit, which nevertheless requires an ability to work together with other riders and a willingness to help one another.

Mounted Games were the inspiration of His Royal Highness Prince Philip. He envisaged a series of games on horseback for teams of four riders. His vision was to arrange races that would be exciting for the spectator and rider alike and encourage outstanding horsemanship, skills and balance without the need for 'specialist ponies or horses. When Col. Sir Mike Ansell was Director of the Horse of the Year Show, Prince Philip asked if he could devise a competition for children who could not afford an expensive, well-bred pony, and in 1957 the Horse of the Year Show, then at Harringay Arena in North London, England, staged the first Mounted Games Championship for the Prince Philip Cup — it was an immediate box office success.

By 1965 the Prince Philip Mounted Games had spread from Great Britain to America, Canada and Australia.

How Mounted Games began

Gymkhanas began in India in the days of the British Raj more than a century ago. Playing Polo was a popular off-duty pastime of officers of British regiments stationed abroad. Informal competitions on horseback could be held in any open space and were used for relaxation.
When the British families returned home Gymkhana games were introduced to liven up garden parties and fetes. Before long they became events in their own right, especially for children who found their small ponies ideally suited to mounted games.

The Prince Philip Cup

In the 1950s the Pony Club started Mounted Games competitions and in 1956 Prince Philip started the prestigious Prince Philip Cup competition which today sees the top teams in the Country competing in the finals at The Horse of The Year Show.

The Prince Philip Cup Competition provides The Pony Club with a team competition requiring courage, determination and all-round riding ability on the part of the team members, and careful and systematic training of their ponies.

Its object is to encourage a higher standard of riding throughout The Pony Club and to stimulate among the future generation a greater interest in riding as a sport and as a recreation.

The competition was designed for teams of ordinary children on ordinary ponies.

The following is taken from the rule book:

‘As a member of The Pony Club, I stand for the best in sportsmanship as well as in horsemanship.

I shall compete for the enjoyment of the game well played and take winning or losing in my stride, remembering that without good manners and good temper, sport loses its cause for being.

I shall at all times treat my horse with due consideration’