When His Royal Highness Prince Philip and Colonel Sir Michael Ansell devised Prince Philip Mounted Games for The Pony Club in the UK in the 1950s it is doubtful they could have envisaged the growth and spread of the discipline throughout the Pony Club movement world-wide. The subsequent formation of the International Mounted Games Association saw the discipline’s interpretation include individual, pairs and team events for young and older riders alike.
David Harris came to horses later in life through his oldest daughter’s love for her horses. He particularly enjoyed the team environment of Pony Club Mounted Games and subsequently coached teams at club, state and national levels within the Pony Club movement.
This book aims to assist coaches, instructors and riders new to equestrian mounted games to enjoy mounted games with the benefit of David’s analysis of suggested preconditions for participation in mounted games and his analysis of safety controls/drills and techniques recommended in this exciting sport. David has also supplied, via the book’s web page, free supporting photographs, lesson plans and other supporting documentation which may help people new to mounted games manage risks they had not previously envisaged.
For a number of years David Harris has been the coach of the New South Wales Pony Club Mounted Games Squad and coach of the state team. He has also been coach of the Pony Club Australia international teams to Canada and the United Kingdom.
This book is full of invaluable information to coaches and parents regarding the selection and training of the mounted games pony; to coaches and riders on the riding skills required for mounted games generally and the particular techniques to carry out the various types of movements in the individual games. It covers everything one would wish to know about the conduct of mounted games and is an easy-to-read handbook. The explanations are clear and the photographs helpful.
Books abound in the other riding disciplines. This book fills a gap which previously existed but goes further where manners and respect for all others involved in the sport are the necessary ingredients for a successful team. The author expects that children will care for and respect their ponies.
To assist coaches the book includes six example lesson plans which between them cover the variety of skills required in mounted games. Clearly David Harris’ efforts as a coach are there to win competitions but, above all, throughout his book, he makes it very clear that mounted games must be fun for all involved.
Roger Braham OAM, President 1991—2009 Pony Club Association of NSW
David is an experienced and insightful coach with many years of experience teaching mounted games at local, state and national level. This book is a testament to David’s expertise and the way in which he scrutinises each race and then breaks it down into its different components and skills. By compartmentalising the different skills required, riders are able to improve their riding skills and this allows them to become more competitive at all levels of competition. David’s ability to observe then convey those observations into a meaningful guide make this a ‘must read’ book. It is a great guide for those who are new to mounted games, and for those experienced riders looking for an edge to be able to compete successfully at higher levels.
I would recommend this book to any rider, coach or parent who has an interest in mounted games.
Robyn Slater, Wamboin, New South Wales Australia