Affiliated mounted games has seen a boost in participation, with more adults taking part than ever before.
Membership of the Mounted Games Association Great Britain (MGAGB) has increased each year for the past eight years.
In 2012 there were 1,625 members and last year this number had increased to 1,999.
The MGAGB hopes to top the 2,000 mark this year.
Mary Worth, chief executive officer of the MGAGB, told H&H that riders are staying in the sport for longer.
“I think the growth in the open age group is because more riders are getting involved at a young age and not leaving us at the 17 to 18-year-old mark as once happened,” she said.
“At 18, riders move up into the open age group where the competition is fiercest. They continue to hone their skills so that they are competing to the best of their ability.”
The open group encompasses a wide age range of ages, from 18-year-olds to over 30s.
Ms Worth added that there is strong social element to the sport as well as its competitive nature.
“Friendships are made that will last a lifetime,” she said.
“Many of our riders who took part in MGAGB in the earlier years are now returning with their own children. They have enjoyed the games themselves and are now bringing their children back to the organisation that they had so much fun with.”
Up until the mid 90s, all of the MGAGB’s competitions were organised in one age group, open, but as the membership grew, additional sections were introduced.
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MGAGB now has four age groups — open, under-17, under-14, under-12, and ‘mini minis’.
“Mini minis is for our very youngest riders,” said Ms Worth. “These riders are all on the lead rein. They have their own specially adapted rules and so can learn the basics from a very young age.”
35-year-old Yorkshire-based rider Troy Owen has competed in mounted games for 25 years.
“It’s the speed of it and the adrenaline [that attracted me to the sport], as well as the socialising — it’s like a big family,” he told H&H.
“You’ve got to bond with your horse and got to trust him as your hanging off the side — putting your life in your horse’s hands and visa versa.”