Top riders ready for action

THE top Mounted Games riders from all over Europe are descending on the Silverwood Arena this week for the Mounted Games European Championships.

There are teams from France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Luxemburg, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, England Wales, Scotland, Southern Ireland and, of course, Northern Ireland.

The competition is separated into four classes - under 12s, under 14s, under 17s and Open.

Last year’s champions will be there to defend their titles as well as the 2010 and 2011 World Champions.

Teams start arriving on Monday and the action began with an opening ceremony yesterday (Wednesday) evening.

All the teams were on parade with their flags before the competitions start in earnest today (Thursday).

There are four days of racing starting at 8am every day and finishing at 6pm, except for Saturday, August 20, when the finals of the Sharp Electrical sponsored Open Individual competition will be held under floodlights from 10pm to 11pm.

Sunday is finals day when the winners of the four European team titles are decided and presented with their trophies.

Mounted Games is a very fast and exciting sport with the teams racing each other in relay races with various things to do on the way.

It is a bit like “It’s a knockout” on horse back with balloons to burst, balls to collect and various other things to do, but all at top speed from the back of a pony requiring great riding skill and athletic ability.

So come and support your local teams in their quest to beat the best in Europe.