Tent pegging

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Tent pegging (sometimes spelled tent-pegging or tentpegging) is a cavalry sport of ancient origin, and is one of only ten equestrian disciplines officially recognised by the International Equestrian Federation. Used narrowly, the term refers to a specific mounted game with ground targets. More broadly, it refers to the entire class of mounted cavalry games involving edged weapons on horseback, for which the term "equestrian skill-at-arms" is also used.

An officer of the Indian Army tent pegging with the lance

Essential rules[edit]

The specific game of tent pegging has a mounted horseman riding at a gallop and using a sword or a lance to pierce, pick up, and carry away a small ground target (a symbolic tent peg) or a series of small ground targets.

The broader class of tent pegging games also includes ring jousting (in which a galloping rider tries to pass the point of his weapon through a suspended ring); lemon sticking (in which the rider tries to stab or slice a lemon suspended from a cord or sitting on a platform); quintain tilting (in which the rider charges a mannequin mounted on a swivelling or rocking pedestal); and Parthian (i.e., mounted) archery.[1]

A given tent pegging competition's rules specify the size and composition of the target; the number of consecutive targets placed on a course; the dimensions and weight of the sword, lance, or bow; the minimum time in which a course must be covered; and the extent to which a target must be struck, cut, or carried.[2]

Origins[edit]

Cavaliers have practised the specific game of tent pegging since at least the 4th century BC, and Asian and later European empires spread the game around the world. As a result, the game's date and location of origin are ambiguous.[3]

In all accounts, the competitive sport evolved out of cavalry training exercises designed to develop cavaliers' prowess with the sword and lance from horseback. However, whether tent pegging developed cavaliers' generic skills or prepared them for specific combat situations is shrouded in anecdote and national chauvinism.[4]

According to the International Equestrian Federation, "most equestrian authorities are of the opinion that tent-pegging originated in India in the middle ages in the battle fields as a tactics used by the horsed cavalry against elephant mounted troops"[5] A cavalier able to precisely stab the highly sensitive flesh behind an elephant's toenail would cause the enemy elephant to rear, unseat his mahout, and possibly run amok, breaking ranks and trampling infantry. However, other scholarly sources suggest that the sport originated earlier in Central Asia[6] or the Middle East[7] and was later on popularised in India.

The term "tent pegging" is certainly related to the idea that cavaliers mounting a surprise pre-dawn raid on an enemy camp could use the game's skills to sever or uproot tent pegs, thus collapsing the tents on their sleeping occupants and sowing havoc and terror in the camp. However, there are few reliable accounts of a cavalry squadron ever employing such tactics.

Because the specific game of tent pegging is the most popular equestrian skill-at-arms game, the entire class of sports became known as tent pegging during the twilight of cavalry in the twentieth century.

Contemporary sport[edit]

Today, tent pegging is practised around the world, but is especially popular in Australia, India, Israel, Oman, Pakistan, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. The Olympic Council of Asia included tent pegging as an official sport in 1982, and the International Federation for Equestrian Sports recognised it as an official equestrian discipline in 2004.

From the results of the 2008 International Tent Pegging Championships, the world's three leading national teams are currently Canada, India, and Oman.[8]

While members of cavalry regiments and mounted police forces still dominate world-class tent pegging,[9] the sport is being increasingly embraced by civilian riders. United States of America has entered this sport in December of 2013. A new team has been established for the United States of America under the banner of United States Tent Pegging Federation (USTPF).

New and emerging national tent pegging associations have helped spread the sport's popularity. The Australian Royal Adelaide Show, the British Tent Pegging Association,[10] and the United States Cavalry Association[11] now hold annual national championships and demonstrations in their respective countries.

Sussex Peggers Riding Club www.sussexpeggers.com(a British Horse Society British Riding Club) also holds - and takes part in - annual competitions and demonstrations in the UK and overseas.

The pre-eminent tent pegging games remain centred in Asia and the Middle East, with the International Tent Pegging Championships and the continental Asian Games traditionally enjoying the highest number of competitors and participating states.[12]

Popular culture references[edit]

In George McDonald Fraser's Flashman novels, title character Harry Flashman served in a lancer regiment, and frequently mentions tent pegging and his broader skills with the lance.

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Tent pegging with UNICEF Team Canada", Akaash Maharaj, 2007, retrieved 14 January 2007
  2. ^ Major General RKR Balasubramanian, Rules for Tent Pegging (First Edition), International Equestrian Federation, June 2002
  3. ^ "Tent pegging at Hurlingham", Illustrated London News, Summer 1875
  4. ^ Lenox-Conyngham Papers, "Camp on the Raptee River", Cambridge University Centre of South Asian Studies, 16 January 1859
  5. ^ "Tent pegging recognised by the FEI", International Equestrian Federation, 2004, retrieved 19 March 2012
  6. ^ Gen Sir Richard Gale, Kings at Arms London:Hutchinson, 1971, p.9
  7. ^ Prof Philip K Hitti, A History of the Arabs, London:Macmillan, 1949 ed, pp.20-21
  8. ^ Kangla, 14 January 2008, retrieved 21 January 2008
  9. ^ "Tent pegging competition cancelled", United States Equestrian Federation, 20 January 2004, retrieved 31 May 2006
  10. ^ "Up in arms to peg back cavalry regiments", Equestrian Today, 15 August 2005, retrieved 2 June 2006
  11. ^ "The National Cavalry Competition", US Cavalry Association, 2006, retrieved 2 June 2006
  12. ^ "Indian riders to the fore", The Sportstar, 22 March 2003, retrieved 2 June 2006

External links[edit]