Six riders and their trainer Elaine Barker of the Blackburn & District Pony Club qualified as one of six teams across the country, for the Prince Philip Cup Mounted Games competition.
This prestigious show takes place over five days at the Horse Of The Year Show at the National Exhibition Center (NEC), Birmingham, in October.
The Games on Horseback were the inspiration for the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip.
When Col. Sir Mike Ansell was director of The Horse Of The Year Show, Prince Philip asked if he could design a competition for kids who couldn’t afford an expensive, well-behaved pony.
In 1957, the show, then at Haringey Arena in north London, staged the first ever mounted games championship for the Prince Philip Cup and it was an immediate box office success.
Each year, more than 300 pony clubs nationwide compete in multiple rounds of competition to qualify for one of the spots. Riders need athletic ability, driving skills, hand-eye coordination, determination, persistence and competitive spirit, which nonetheless requires an ability to work with other riders and a willingness to work with other riders. ‘help each other.
Coach Elaine said, “Any kid on any pony can compete, but it’s rare and exceptional to go through qualifying events and up to the horse of the year show.
“Only two teams from the Northwest have managed over the years to show their skills and fight for the title of Prince Philip Cup champion.”
Elaine, who has been riding or training in the sport for 43 years, said the achievement was the culmination of a lifelong ambition.
She said: “For riders and ponies this will be a unique opportunity; feel the determination, courage and hard work they put into making the dream of a Horse of the Year show ticket come true as they step through that curtain in front of 15,000 people.
One of his riders said: “Sometimes my friends at school don’t understand why I can’t do as much with them as my other friends, for me my pony and training has always been the priority.
“It takes a long time not only to train and practice, but also to make sure my ponies have everything they need.”
The team, their parents and their coach will all travel to the NEC on October 4 where they will compete for a whole week.
In addition to racing daily in the main ring against the other five qualified teams, they will be judged on their conduct and presentation, stable management and care of the ponies.
They participate in a program which they have to write and produce for the officials and they are interviewed by the press and the public.
To compete, kids have to work hard to raise money. In addition to running stalls and raffles, they have set up a donation page right at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/blackburnanddistrictppc