Balance and “stickability” were put to the test this weekend, when event riders and jockeys fought to prove their worth – on a mechanical bull.
The event, which took place at Barbury Castle Horse Trials (30 June-1 July), pitted top eventers against National Hunt jockeys in the first leg of the Hit-air Pro Bull Rider Series.
There was fierce competition as riders battled to stay aboard, Billy, the mechanical bull.
Event riders took the honours on Saturday, but on Sunday the tables were turned as the jockeys won – with a little help from eventer Sam Watson.
The eventers’ team comprised Paul Tapner, Laura Collett, Lauren Shannon and Mark Todd, Jock Pageant, Mike Ryan, Ludwig Svennerstal and Beanie Sturgis.
While the jockeys’ team was made up of H&H racing columnist Choc Thornton, Richard Johnson, Andrew Tinkler , Wayne Hutchinson, William Kennedy, with late entries from Alan King – and Sam, who was recruited by the jockeys and helped cinch the prize. Sam also won individual honours for his thigh-clenching ride.
“I felt more nervous taking on Billy than riding the cross-country!” said Mike Ryan.
Rachel Ricci from Hit-air added: “This was another first for Barbury Horse Trials who had well-deserved record crowds this year. Everyone had great fun, crowds and bull riders alike. Most importantly lots of money was raised for the Injured Jockeys Fund.”
The next leg of the Hit-air Pro Bull rider series will be after the Eventing Grand Prix at Hickstead on Thursday 19 July, when a team of eventers will take on showjumpers.
For more information visit: www.hitairuk.co.uk or to donate visit: www.injuredjockeys.co.uk