With the autumn team chasing season now underway, here's why fearless — and slightly crazy — riders need to get involved...
1. Team chasing is fast and furious — perhaps not for the faint-hearted but provides any adrenaline junkie with the ultimate fix.
2. The courses cross about two miles of countryside over approximately 25 exciting obstacles — hedges, rails and sometimes water.
3. You can do it alongside your friends by putting together a team of three or four — a much more exciting way of socialising than sitting in a pub on a Saturday afternoon.
4. The great news is you can pretty much call your team whatever you like — Victorious Secrets, Scared Hitless and Mid Life Crisis just for some inspiration. Although it depends how daring you are — The Cunning Stunts is probably not one you’d want to get wrong on the entry form… or in fact when talking to your grandma…
5. There is a team chase every weekend throughout both the autumn and spring seasons — so you can scrap the gym for exercise and go team chasing instead.
6. Team chases take place all over the country from Somerset (Taunton vale) to Derbyshire (Meynell & S. Staffs) and Suffolk (Essex & Suffolk).
7. It is probably one of the most affordable equestrian disciplines — for a team member prices range from £15-25.
8. Forget dressage training — event riders known to be team chasing fans once the curtain closes on the eventing season include Phoebe Buckley, Tom McEwen, Lissa Green, Rodney Powell, Ludwig Svennerstal, Ruth Edge and Piggy French.
9. The sport is a haven for former point-to-pointers and ex-racehorses — 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Denman has enjoyed popping round team chases in his retirement.
10. The spring season culminates in an exhilarating National Championships in April — not only exciting for the brave jockeys but the spectators too, with fences climbing to well over the minimum of 3’6 — eeek!
11. And finally, you will be hard pushed to find a team chase without a beer tent for a well-deserved drink after your round — or maybe before to settle the nerves, although drink-riding is definitely not advised…
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DID YOU KNOW?
Team chasing was the brainchild of the master of Hickstead, the late Douglas Bunn. He invented the concept in 1974 after deciding the Hickstead Easter Showjumping International needed something thrilling to accompany it to keep television viewers happy. Riders were invited to take part and it was televised live on Good Friday.