This article is about a specific equestrian discipline. For a related sport, see Gymkhana (equestrian). For the organization promoting riding on small horses generally, see Pony Club.
A rider competing in the "Windsor Castle Race"
Mounted games is a branch of equestriansport in which very fast games are played by people of all ages on ponies up to a height of 15 hands (60 inches, 152 cm).
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 Prince Philip. 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.
The sport of mounted games as it exists today was founded by Norman Patrick. His aim was to extend the sport, previously age-restricted by Pony Club, for wider participation, and for this reason, in 1984, he established the Mounted Games Association of Great Britain. In the years which followed his continued support and patronage ensured that the sport spread across Great Britain and beyond. At the time of Patrick's death in 2001, the sport which he had established was being enjoyed by many riders across the world, and the International Mounted Games Association, which was formed in 2003, now has members in twenty two countries on five continents.
The IMGA World Team Championships are held each year in a different member country. At the first World Championships in 1985 only four teams participated, by 2007 this had grown to 18 and is expected to continue rising over the coming years.
Originally Great Britain participated as one team however from 2000 onwards this was split into England, Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland have always participated as a separate team.
The European Team Championships had already existed in an unofficially format for a number of years before being officially recognised as an IMGA event in 2006. Since then the organisation of the championships has fallen into the same model as the World championships with a different member country hosting the event each year. Unlike the World Team Championships, this event is also stages across different age groups.
In 2010 IMGA introduced a Southern Hemisphere Championship as a regional international championship similar to the European Team Championships. This was then expanded to include all non-European members in 2014 and rebranded as the Nations Championships.
The World Pairs Championships started in 1992, originally as an Open competition with an Under 17 class being added in 1993, an Under 12 class in 1998 and finally an Under 14 class in 2013. Until 2016 the championships were always held in Great Britain. 2016 was the first time that the competition was held outside of GB.
The World Individual Championships started in 1986 across Open, Under 17 and Under 14 classes. In 1990 an Under 12 class was also added and from 1999 to 2008 there was also a veterans (over 25) class. Until 2012 the championships were always held in Great Britain. 2013 was the first time that the competition was held outside of GB.