LEXINGTON, KY (March 7, 2005) In this newest version of extreme makeovers, called the Bluegrass Open Mounted Games, it will be horses and ponies who have had the fun of experiencing a radical transformation from seemingly quiet, plodding creatures into the extreme competitors they are by nature.
The Bluegrass Open Mounted Games, which will be held at the Kentucky Horse Park March 19-20, is an international competition for more than 100 riders and their horses (all called ponies in this sport) who love the rush of adrenaline. Teams from across the United States and Canada will converge at the park to race against each other and the clock.
“Mounted Games is a unique equestrian sport that combines the history and pageantry of ancient warfare, the raw athleticism of the Wild West and the thrill of horseracing in a team event. The sport demands that equine and human athletes perform intricate skills at breakneck speed and provides the spectator appeal of an extreme sport.
“A ‘games pony’ is a trusted and cherished companion whose comfort comes before the comfort of the rider. Games ponies love doing everything fast, and the rider’s greatest challenge is asking the pony to slow down enough that the rider can keep up,” according to games organizers with the United States Mounted Games Association. They continued, “The best games ponies are games fanatics, who love playing this sport as much as the riders do.”
According to John Nicholson, Executive Director of the Kentucky Horse Park, “A couple of impressive features of mounted games are that they outlaw the use of spurs, whips or even hitting the ponies with the hand, and many of the best games ponies are in their late teens and early twenties.”
It is not necessary to have an expensive pony to participate in mounted games. Children and adults at many skill levels can join the fun, and any pony or horse, regardless of its breeding, can also do well in the sport. All equines can learn to play mounted games very quickly, and many really good games ponies were once considered "rejects" from other horse disciplines. Patience and compassion are the keys to unlocking the ponies’ potential and introducing them to something they will revel in doing with their owners, while utilizing their natural abilities.
The only thing more fun than watching these games from the bleachers is riding in them. There are divisions for Masters (the best games riders), 4-Ever Young (older riders) and Novice (less-experienced riders). Visitors to the Kentucky Horse Park will be able to watch the games at no additional charge.
For more information on the Bluegrass Open Mounted Games, contact Liz Englert at 502-222-4016 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Season Schedule: From March 15-October 31, the park is open seven days a week. Admission is $14 for adults and $7 for children ages 7-12. Children six and under are always admitted free of charge. Admission includes the Bluegrass Open Mounted Games and the American Saddlebred Museum.
The Kentucky Horse Park is a working horse farm/theme park and equine competition facility dedicated to man’s relationship with the horse. An agency of the Kentucky Commerce Cabinet, the park hosted 913,000 visitors and 80 special events and horse shows in 2003. The park is located at Exit 120, Interstate 75, just north of Lexington. The place to get close to horses, the park is open daily March 15 to October 31, and Wednesday through Sunday, November 1 to March 14.