Prince Philip Cup ponies have to be calm, fast and able to turn on sixpence, which makes the games great entertainment for the spectators
The Prince Philip Cup is fast, furious and fun — as well as being highly competitive. It may have been founded in 1957 for “ordinary children on ordinary ponies”, but there is nothing amateur about this operation in 2018. And it’s not surprising that the competition has hotted up.
While that first competition was restricted to 40 Pony Club teams based in the “vicinity” of London, with no qualifying process, it is a very different story today.
The six senior teams that have battled their way to this week’s final (3-7 October 2018) at Horse of the Year Show have been through a demanding selection process , beating over 150 other teams to take their place in the final line-up.
What is clear from the number of long-standing supporters, ponies and teenagers willing to get up on a Sunday morning for practices throughout the year is that there is something addictive about this sport.
“I’ve always loved the games — if I could go back to being 14 and do it all again I would,” admits Mary Harvey at the Wylye Valley who was part of the winning team in 2003. “It’s so addictive — if you have one bad race there’s always a chance to redeem yourself in another.”
Showjumper Tina Fletcher, who took part in the games as a child, enjoyed it so much that she used to hack five or six miles to get to practices.
“I was lucky to have a very good pony — I was not the most athletic child so I think I relied on my pony to do most of the work,” she laughs.
The ponies have to be calm, fast and able to turn on sixpence which makes it great entertainment for the spectators — and we’re already excited to see who will come out on top this year.
Keep up to date with all the action from the 71st anniversary of Horse of the Year Show
Six teams will compete in each session over the first three performances at HOYS.
The teams are awarded points according to their placing in each round and the winner of The Virbac 3D Worming Cup will be the team finishing with the most points after Thursday afternoon’s round (4 October). The teams then start afresh competing from Thursday evening until the final on Sunday (7 October) for the coveted Prince Phillip Cup.
Qualified teams for 2018
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To keep up to date with all the latest results visit hoys.co.uk
Don’t miss our full report from Horse of the Year Show in the 11 October 2018 issue of Horse & Hound magazine