Tent Pegging Stories

 

The fast and the furious

Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club played host to the third edition of the Tent Pegging World Cup Championships. Cursty Hoppe went along to find out more.

The spectacular three-day event showcased the relatively young equestrian discipline in the heart of Abu Dhabi city and offered something for everyone; from the children’s entertainment area and food trucks, to the big-screen action and glittering trophy presentations of the tent pegging itself. 

 

The event was managed by the UAE Equestrian and Racing Federation (UAEERF) under the patronage of Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nayhan with attendance and prizes presented by His Excellency Major Dr. Ahmed Nasser Al-Raisi President of the UAE Equestrian & Racing Federation and the head of the Higher Committee of the World Cup Tent Pegging Cup Abu Dhabi 2018, and Dr Ghanem Al Hajri general secretary of the UAE Equestrian and Racing Federation and member of the Higher Committee of the Tent Pegging World Cup 2018. 

 

Speaking at the event, Mohammed Al Hadrami member of the Higher Committee for Tent Pegging World Cup 2018, said, “Abu Dhabi is always supporting all equestrian sport… when we got the chance to go to the international federation of tent pegging to host this championship, we promised them we would make an amazing event in Abu Dhabi and to start marketing this sport. I would like to thank His Highness Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan for his support in making this event so amazing and his efforts to publicise this sport and bring it to the world,” 

What is Tent Pegging?

According to Haitham M. J. Al-Lawati, secretary general of the ITPF, “the real beauty in tent pegging is not like other equestrian disciplines, where the horse is the major factor in the game itself… in tent pegging it’s the rider.” Incredibly, none of the competitors had ridden their horses prior to the event. Competitors drew their 'rides' in a lottery immediately prior to the games and were given just one afternoon and four practice runs at the ‘peg’ to get to know their 'mount.' The sport itself involves riding a timed 60 metre track at a gallop, before piercing and carrying a small cardboard peg with either a lance or sword.Each event offers competitors three runs, the first two with a peg 60mm wide and the final run at 40mm. The event is measured on both time and accuracy. 

For the 11 countries attending, both individual and team medals were up for grabs. The sport is dominated by the MENA region and surrounding countries. This year saw teams from; the UAE, Jordan, Oman, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Sudan, Pakistan, India, South Africa and Norway. The Results The action began immediately with day one offering individual and team lancing competitions. Egypt placed first with 129 points, Saudi second with 127.5 and South Africa only .5 points behind.

 

Swords were the weapon of choice on day two, which once again saw Egypt storm the leaderboard with an impressive 129 points, with India in second and Saudi third. 

 

The third and final day offered possibly the most spectacular viewing with lemon slicing and the tricky gallows events. South Africa took the lead with an impressive 295.5 points, with Egypt second with 275 and Oman third with 259.5. 

 

Overall Championship Cup winners were Egypt with 533 points accumulated over the three-days, South Africa with 522 and Oman with 470. 

 

Abu Dhabi a Pioneer in Pegging 

 

The Abu Dhabi event saw two incredible firsts for the sport. "The beauty of the ITPF is that the host country provides the horses. This removes the huge burden of things like shipping, weather, accommodation," said Haitham. The Committee initially selected 90 horses for the event. After several months of intensive tent pegging training 70 were chosen for use in the Championships. 

 

"We came out with 70 really strong horses," said Mohammed. "When the [ITPF] technical committee came to see the horses, they told us this is the first time they’ve found more than 60 horses supplied in any previous games," he continued. "We’re very happy and we want to thank all the teams who helped to prepare these horses."“I would like to thank his Highness Sheihk Sultan bin Zayed as he provided us with more than 45 horses and also his highness Sheikh Haza bin Zayed as he also provided more than 45 horses for the event. These are their own horses and they have gifted the horses to make this event a success.” 

The horses used for the games are also the first in the world to hold official tent pegging passports. “The horses are chipped and for the first time in the ITPF we have launched the [ITPF] passport," said Haitham. "So each horse here today has a passport specialised for the ITPF and its stamped as approved as a tent pegging horse."

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