LEXINGTON, KY (January 5, 2005) The competition is expected to be fierce and frigid between ponies from across the eastern half of the United States during the Snowball Series at the Kentucky Horse Park on January 8-9 and February 12-13.
For the third year, the Snowball Series of mounted games will get underway with ponies representing many breeds and riders as young as seven and “as old as you can be and still get on a horse” according to games organizer Linda Caddel.
Great fun for spectators, the mounted games are truly a team sport, with each team comprised of four ponies and their riders. Five teams compete at a time in relay races (which include Bending Race, Pony Express and Windsor Castle), pole bending and a particularly exciting race in which balls must be dunked in buckets balanced on pylons. Speed and accuracy are necessary in this sport, which is open to ponies and riders at all skill levels, from beginner to international Masters Division.
The governing body for these games is the Mounted Games Association of America (MGAA), which cites the mission of the organization as “Encouraging friendship between young people of different nations" and describes itself as “a group of games-crazy people who promote the sport of equestrian mounted games across America.”
The MGAA recounts the history of the sport as having originated with British Army soldiers in India. Many of their first games were played on camels and mules instead of horses. When the soldiers returned to England, the games followed and became very popular with Pony Club members. HRH Prince Philip presented the first trophy cup for mounted games in 1957, to promote the sport among youngsters. From there, the games gained in popularity and spread to the United States and other countries.
Several members of the U.S. team that competed in the World Championships of the International Mounted Games Association (which was held at the Kentucky Horse Park in 2003) will be competing in the Snowball Series as will several former members of the 2004 United States Pony Club International Mounted Games. These competitors will be available to answer questions about this sport.
The games begin at 9 am each day in the Indoor Arena with the adults (respectfully referred to as Fossils) and continue through the afternoon with children’s relays. Admission to the Kentucky Horse Park will allow spectators to watch the games free of charge. Proceeds will benefit the U.S. Pony Club International Mounted Games Team.
For more information on the Snowball Series, contact Linda Caddel at email@example.com or 859-621-2383 or visit www.mountedgames.org.
Winter Season Hours and Rates: through March 14, admission is $9 for adults, $6 for children 7-12. Children six and under are always admitted free of charge. The park is open from 9 am until 5 pm Wednesday through Sunday. Admission includes the American Saddlebred Museum and Snowball Series.
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.